Cruise Europe new member: Ventspils, Latvia

Ventspils is gearing up to put itself on the cruise map. On July 24 Saga Sapphire will be the first cruiseship to call the Latvian city. Next year the hope is that Serenissima will call, explained Artis Senkevics, head of commercial division Noord Natie Ventspils Terminals Ltd.

The ice-free deepwater port on eastern coast of the Baltic Sea can accommodate vessels alongside of 250m in length. The restriction is due to the turning section in the shipping channel.

At present cruiseships can be moored at berths 16, 16A and 17 which are the nearest to the passenger terminal (see diagram), the old town and parking spaces for buses.

Ventspils Passenger Terminal was opened in 2007, following reconstruction of buildings put up in 1904 and 1905. The terminal building hosts the tourism information centre with toilets, cafe, WiFi, shop and crew lounge.

The terminal is a closed and guarded territory with 28 CCTVs and four pass offices. The port works in close cooperation with the Latvian State Police, Ventspils Municipal Police, Latvian customs, border guard and immigration control and maritime forces. Passenger checking is conducted according to ISPS standards.

A glass passenger tunnel allows for easy access between terminals in all weather conditions.

The port is constantly evolving. In recent years investments have been made in order to develop ferry terminal and its infrastructure. There are future plans for the terminal to have double-deck loading facilities. Also an additional ro-ro ramp will be built at berth 13.

During 2015, 104,904 ferry passengers passed through the port, rising to 111,147 in 2016. These are primarily ferry passengers with Stena Line operating 12 calls a week between Ventspils and Nynashamn in Sweden.

Waste discharge can be provided at all berths and is conducted by the municipal services. In 2013 a ‘Plan of ship waste management in Ventspils port’ was issued and approved. Wastewater can be collected by Venta and/or Uzaya at a cost of E290 per hour. This rate is not applicable to cargo-passenger vessels and passenger vessels for the first two hours of service.

Shore-to-ship power is possible at any pier where there are three-leg connections providing a power of between 30kW and 70kW which can be increased.

In terms of bunkers, MGO DMA 0.1 sulphur ISO8217:2010 spec can be supplied at any berth at the ferry terminal.

Regular activities performed in the port include measuring, trawling and dredging works for the development and maintenance of the port channel, basin and berths; service equipment hardware upgrades; hydrographic data-processing and analysis; dredger Dzelme, hydrographic ship Kapteinis Orle and boat Skauts, as well as other subcontracted works.

Bookings are agreed with the terminal as to mooring time, mooring period and departure as well as related issues.

Ventspils airport (ICAO – EVVA) is a civil aviation aerodrome. There are no regular connections but it can be used for charter flights.

Shuttle buses are organised by local tourism agencies with various routes from the terminal possible. There is a large parking area near the terminal’s piers for buses and safe passenger boarding.

Shore excursions include Ventspils Old Town and the thirteenth century Livonian Order Castle, Ventspils Radio Astronomy Center, Jurkalne for local food Sklandrausis, Uzavas Brewery, Ventas Rumba Waterfall and an 80m-wide beach with sand dunes up to 9m.

(Cruise Europe)