Feds won't seek cruise ship anchorage site off Owls Head

By Stephen Betts | Apr 26, 2018
Photo by: Stephen Betts Members of the Coast Guard meet Feb. 20, with the Rockland Harbor Management Commission concerning a possible federal anchorage designation in Broad Cove off Owls Head.

Rockland — The Coast Guard will not move ahead with creating a federal anchorage site off Owls Head for cruise ships that visit Rockland.

But a Coast Guard commander told city officials Thursday, April 26, that the lack of a formal anchorage site does not prevent larger cruise ships from anchoring in the Broad Cove area.

Coast Guard Commander Andy Meyers stated in an April 26 email to the city that the Coast Guard would not initiate a notice of proposed rule-making to establish a federal anchorage in Broad Cove.

"Even though there will not be a federal anchorage established, like I explained at a few meetings, nothing prevents the larger cruise ships from anchoring there when they do call on Rockland," Meyers said.

The anchorage was requested in a July 6 letter from Capt. David Gelinas, president of the Penobscot Bay & Rivers Pilots Association.

"The primary reason for this request is to safely accommodate the double-digit growth in cruise ship traffic which the State of Maine is experiencing," Gelinias' letter stated.

The possibility of more large cruise ships coming to Rockland was met with opposition by speakers at a Feb. 20 Rockland Harbor Management Commission meeting.

Meyers, who was one of the Coast Guard representatives at the Feb. 20 meeting, said even if the designation were approved, the vessels would not be mandated to stay there when they visit Rockland Harbor.

He said a designated federal anchorage area would benefit transient boaters, who would know where large vessels would likely be located and would alert lobstermen who want to protect their gear.

The Rockland City Council voted March 12 to direct that a new harbor management plan be developed that would include recommendations on whether there should be limits on how many large cruise ships can be allowed to use city harbor facilities.

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