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    Australia: Cruise liner operators call for Cairns shipping channel to be dredged

    The Cairns Post newspaper says the operator of the largest cruise liner to dock at Cairns has renewed a call to dredge the shipping channel and the swing basin.

    Royal Caribbean Cruises managing director Gavin Smith said while the 280m Rhapsody of the Seas was able to safely navigate Trinity Inlet at the weekend and turn in the swing basin, it was "at the limit and edge of its physical capabilities".

    He said ideally the company would prefer dredging to make the task easier and safer and also to allow its larger ship, the 290m Radiance of the Seas, to dock at the cruise terminal.

    However, because of its size it would have to moor off Port Douglas in February next year.

    Mr Smith, who is also the chairman of International Cruise Council Australasia, acknowledged that the cost of dredging may outweigh the economic benefits of more ships docking at the Port of Cairns.

    Earlier this year, Mr Smith and the Rhapsody's captain called for dredging of the channel so the ship could come into Cairns in most weather conditions

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