A German-operated cruise ship has cancelled a scheduled port call at Mombasa, leaving the coastal city without any port calls for the upcoming 2017-18 season, according to the Kenya Ports Authority.
The cruise ship, MS Albatros is operated by the Germany-based travel agency Phoenix Reisen. She was built in 1973 by Wärtsilä Helsinki New Shipyard, Finland for Royal Viking Line as Royal Viking Sea, and has also sailed under the names Royal Odyssey, Norwegian Star, and Crown.
A spokesman told local media that the Albatros’ agent had not given the reason for the cancellation, but a trade publication has speculated that political unrest was “likely” to be the cause.
Speaking to Business Daily Africa, Seafarers Assistance Programme coordinator Andrew Mwangur said: “The political heat does not augur well with tourism. Since the August 8 disputed [election] the country has been hit by political stand-off. As a result, the wrangles have affected business.”
The news will come as a disappointment for Kenya’s tourism industry, which has been attempting to bring cruise ships back to the Port since 2012 when the threat posed by Somali pirates subsided.
Last year, work started on Mombasa Port’s first ever cruise terminal. The Ksh 350 million project is being jointly funded by UKaid supported TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) and Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).
In 2015, Mombasa invested $1 million in a new cruise terminal in hopes of recapturing the volume it saw in years past, when 40 ships and 40,000 cruisers a year would call at East Africa’s biggest port.