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Dampier port marks first cruise ship milestone with berth of MS Caledonian Sky

Xander Sapsworth-CollisPilbara News
Pilbara Ports Authority Landside Operations Superintendent Jeremy Smith, Tourism WA Experience Development Manager Jahna Luke and Pilbara Ports Authority Port of Dampier Harbour Master Mike Minogue.
Camera IconPilbara Ports Authority Landside Operations Superintendent Jeremy Smith, Tourism WA Experience Development Manager Jahna Luke and Pilbara Ports Authority Port of Dampier Harbour Master Mike Minogue. Credit: Supplied

Iron and salt are the resources most often seen leaving Dampier but on Thursday the sight of a rare commodity could be seen entering its port as part of its first planned visit — a cruise ship.

The MS Caledonian Sky made history on Thursday by becoming the first scheduled cruise ship to stop at Dampier Port as the ship sailed between Broome and Perth.

Despite the threat of cyclone Ilsa in the region, the 80 passengers that disembarked the ship visited all the top tourist spots including the Murujuga Cultural Landscape and Red Dog Memorial Statue.

The MS Caledonian Sky made history on Thursday by becoming the first scheduled cruise ship to stop at Dampier Port as the ship sailed between Broome and Perth.
Camera IconThe MS Caledonian Sky made history on Thursday by becoming the first scheduled cruise ship to stop at Dampier Port as the ship sailed between Broome and Perth. Credit: Supplied

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Pilbara Ports Authority chief executive Roger Johnston said the visit highlighted the importance of bringing tourism to the region.

“We recognise the economic and social benefits of increasing tourism to the region, as part of our commitment to supporting Pilbara communities we are proud to welcome cruise vessels to our ports,” Mr Johnston said.

“We hope the industry grows in future years, which will be supported by the proposed construction of the multi-user Dampier Bulk Handling Facility that will provide additional capacity for cruise vessel at the Port of Dampier.”

Mr Johnston said he was looking forward to welcoming the ship and its passengers back in a few weeks.

“We look forward to welcoming back the MS Caledonia Sky to Dampier in the coming weeks, as part of its program of Western Australian coastline expeditions,” Mr Johnston said.

While Dampier has only just started getting its feet wet in the cruising industry, the industry itself is an established part of the WA’s economy contributing $269.1 million to it in 2018-2019.

Caledonian Sky Captain Bill Fenelon and Pilbara Ports Authority Port of Dampier Harbour Master Mike Minogue.
Camera IconCaledonian Sky Captain Bill Fenelon and Pilbara Ports Authority Port of Dampier Harbour Master Mike Minogue. Credit: Supplied

The visits from the Caledonian Sky were first mooted in mid-2019, but as COVID shut cruises out of Australian waters, the anticipated 2020 start date came and went.

At the time the arrival was first announced, the then Pilbara Tourism Association chair Barry Harrison said APT, the cruise operator, reached out when they got wind of the world heritage nomination for Murujuga National Park.

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