The Virgin Islands, St. Croix and Frederiksted should look to encourage local and expatriate Cruzans like Tim Duncan or Mike Fields purchasing a cruise ship rather than a hotel. The changing direction of the majors in the market towards gargantuan ships has created a buyers market in cruise ships of an older design and smaller size. The SOLAS Treaty Council, a group of nations with a pact governing ship design among other things at sea, has called for safer designs as of 2010. In the intervening time ships with a capacity of 700 to 1,000 of older make a going through a buyers market in these older classic vessels. The most active buyers are Indian scrap merchants who use laborers with sledge hammers to demolish for processing into products like rebar. For less than $2 million it is possible to buy a vessel recently (2001) worth ten times as much and in one case in active service as recently as May. It should be economic to set up an itinerary running from St. Croix to Tortola to St. Thomas and back. The itinerary might be five days in St. Croix, one day in each of the other ports. This would protect it from the Jones Act. Cruise ships generally hire non-American workers including the ships we are currently regretting losing. It would inject income from visitors for our land-based businesses, and we can build permanent hotels or continue encouraging majors during this interim period.
Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publisher's note : Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.