TREMONT — The Harbor Committee here voted unanimously last week to ask selectmen to consider a moratorium on cruise ships.
Selectmen are to consider that request at their Aug. 7 meeting.
The issue was on the agenda for the Harbor Committee’s July 27 meeting at the request of resident Mike Hays. Hays read from a prepared statement, saying the controversy surrounding a cruise ship stopping in Northeast Harbor last summer and the proposal for one to stop in Southwest Harbor in September prompted him to approach the Harbor Committee.
“While it may appear unlikely that the cruise companies might want to use Bass Harbor for similar purposes, I think that it makes sense for the Harbor Committee to impose an immediate moratorium on such uses in Bass Harbor and to work with the Board of Selectmen to develop an ordinance that would prohibit such uses in the future,” he said.
During discussion of Hays’ remarks, he added that it was best to be proactive.
“If we can get a little ahead of the curve, that would be a good thing,” he said.
Hays noted that welcoming cruise ships into Tremont would have little, if any, economic benefit to the town. After disembarking, the passengers board buses to visit Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.
Committee member Peter Gott agreed, saying he spoke with one restaurant owner on the harbor who told him the business would be unable to handle the influx of additional customers.
Hays’s suggestion that Tremont contact Southwest Harbor and Mount Desert about how those towns are handling the situation was received favorably by committee member Haywood May.
“It does make sense, at least to me, to get together with these other towns,” May said.
Cruise ships already have been banned from using public docks in Northeast Harbor. Southwest Harbor selectmen on July 25 voted to put a 180-day moratorium on the use of facilities in the town for the landing of cruise ship passengers before voters at an Aug. 15 special town meeting.
Mount Desert enacted the ban following a visit last year by Pearl Mist, a 310-foot-long 210-passenger ship owned by Pearl Seas Cruises.
The vote on a moratorium in Southwest Harbor is in response to the proposed visit by Pearl Mist on Sept. 21. The company was proposing to anchor outside the harbor and bring passengers aboard a 36-foot tender to Beal’s Lobster Pier on the Clark Point Road. The moratorium would give the town time to develop regulations regarding the use of the harbor by vessels carrying more than 50 passengers.