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Port authority says cruise did not run aground in Portimão

The Sines and Algarve Port Administration (APS) has denied that the 33,000-ton ‘Thomson Spirit’ cruise ship ran aground while trying to dock in Portimão on Tuesday, October 18.

The story was originally reported by national tabloid Correio da Manhã, which claimed that the cruise got stuck due to the low tide that had exposed the river’s sandbanks.

A witness had even said that a tugboat was used to help it into the port.

But a day after the story spread across media, APS denied the incident ever happened.

It claimed that the cruise started docking at Portimão port at 8.05am and completed the manoeuvre at 9.18am “without any incident and within the expected timeframe”.

The port administration added that the cruise left the port later that afternoon, staying in the town so that its passengers could enjoy “excursions to Portimão and other parts of the Algarve”.

It also said that this was the eighth time the ‘Thomson Spirit’ stopped-over at the Portimão port in 2016, and that there hasn’t been any problem thus far.

The statement goes against the original story, which pinpointed that the silting of the Arade River was a big problem that had left the boat stranded for over an hour.

New port administration
Meantime, José Luis Cacho (pictured) has been named new president of the Sines and Algarve Port Administration (APS).

Formally president of port administrations in Aveiro, Porto and Figueira da Foz, as well as of the Association of Portuguese-Speaking Ports (APLOP) and the Association of Portugal’s Ports, Cacho has “no connection to the Algarve” and this is now being used as a complaint by the regional party of the PSD.

The party said in a statement that it fears the Algarve will yet again “be overlooked” when it comes to future investments – and if this is the case, much-needed dredging work may be delayed “causing millions of euros-worth of losses for local tourism”.

By MICHAEL BRUXO [email protected]

Photo: José Luis Cacho