by Staff Reporter

PALMA
THE ocean-going liner Queen Elizabeth II is cancelling a planned stopover in Palma next week due to a tugboat strike.
The ship has let Port Authorities in the Balearics know that the visit is being shelved for fear of the vessel being caught up in the ongoing industrial action taking place in Palma's port.

Although as a general rule, cruise liners can use the harbour facilities for docking without difficulty, there are occasions when tugs are necessary to ease the low speed manoeuvres of particularly large vessels. The strike is due to run indefinitely.

Enthusiasts will be disappointed given that the QE2 is due to be decommissioned from service and is therefore unlikely to sail into Majorcan waters again.

The decision prompted a statement yesterday from the regional minister for Employment and Training, Margarita Nájera, a former Socialist mayor of Calvia.

She emphasised the need to make the Balearics a more accessible port of call for cruise ships, thereby boosting tourist spending.
Speaking after a government meeting, the minister confirmed that this sector of the holiday industry has witnessed a surge of 25 percent over the last year, largely due to the convenient strategic positioning of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean.

Nájera said that “anything that can be done to improve the services for cruise ship visitors is of interest to us,” adding that the Balearic government wants to see this form of tourism promoted as an important contribution to the local economy.

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