Port entrance ceremony in Mombetsu for long-awaited arrival of Garinko-goⅢ
The newly built ice-breaker cruiser ‘Garinko-goⅢ IMERU’ (366 ton) arrived in the port of Mombetsu in northeastern Hokkaido on November 24. A port entrance ceremony was held in front of the Mombetsu City Marine Exchange Center, in which approximately 100 city residents took part in a tour of the more spacious, 3-tier boat’s interior. Departures look set to be affected by a lack of passengers due to the spread of the coronavirus but, as a symbol of tourism there, the boat brings hope for the revitalization of Mombetsu.
At approximately 45 meters long and 8.5 meters wide, the new boat is 10 meters longer and 1.5 meters wider than the 2nd generation Garinko-go, with capacity of 235 – an increase of 40. The new boat’s hull is painted in a slightly paler orange than Garinko-go Ⅱ.
At the port entrance ceremony, the captain was presented with a bouquet as local residents toured the boat’s interior and expressed their expectations. “It’s more luxurious than Garinko-go Ⅱ. I want to go and see the ice floes on this boat as soon as possible.”
In recent years, there has been a downtrend in the rate of ice floe sightings, perhaps due to the effects of global warming. The newly built boat is speedier than the older one, meaning it can sail offshore faster than before, increasing the chance of ice floe sightings.
The boat will enter service on January 9 next year, sharing operations with Garinko-go Ⅱ, with passenger capacities reduced to 70% as part of anti-infection measures. A cruise to see the sunrise on New Year’s Day will be held, but with winter operations effected by a lull in group reservations due to covid-19, stakeholders are hoping for an early end to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mombetsu City Marine Exchange Center
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