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HomeCruiseMount Pleasant council members discuss the future of cruise ships

Mount Pleasant council members discuss the future of cruise ships

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – Mount Pleasant Town Council members met Monday to discuss the future of potential cruise ships being able to dock and disembark at Patriots Point.
This has become a controversial topic for the community and town council after the South Carolina Ports Authority decided to end a homeport cruising contract with Carnival Cruises to instead focus on the redevelopment of Union Pier. Community members spoke during the public comment session and said that they wanted cruise ships in Mount Pleasant because of the economic impact.
Benjamin Flowers Jr, the Vice President of the International Longshoreman Association Local 1422 in Charleston, said he was concerned about the number of jobs people would lose if the town didn’t allow for cruise ships to come to Mount Pleasant.
“We’re here because we’re concerned, number one, and I’ll be honest with you, we’re concerned about over 500 to 800 jobs per week that we might lose if Carnival leaves the Port of Charleston,” Flowers says. “The cruise, it really affects us because it’s a lot of job loss, it’s a lot of tax base that’s going to be lost from the community.”
He added that it’s important to keep being a part of the tourist industry and supporting the jobs for the community.
“We don’t want to see their jobs go away either, but as I mentioned, because of state law and availability of land and lack of infrastructure, those cruise ship-related jobs aren’t going to be able to come to Mount Pleasant,” Mayor Will Haynie says.
At the meeting, a representative from Patriot’s Point said there is no available land that they could use for cruise ships.
“This is the first time in my nine years as an elected official in Mount Pleasant that I have seen people advocating for something on someone else’s land. If the state ports authority or the Patriot’s Point development authority wanted cruise ships there, they would be in here talking about it,” Haynie says.
It was also discussed that there is a state law for Patriots Point that prohibits the use of anything related to passengers or cargo of ocean-going vessels. Haynie says that they have tour boats and water taxis there, but that those are not ocean-going vessels that take passengers away from Charleston.
Others who spoke during the public comment session expressed concerns about the increase in traffic. However, Jazzie Clay, a Charleston native and member of the ILA, doesn’t think that would be an issue.
“As far as the traffic, the traffic is going to be thick regardless of where, or what is in Charleston. They’re building everywhere, so what is the difference of building a hotel, an apartment complex, or relocating the cruise ships to Mount Pleasant?” Clay says.
Clay says she wouldn’t be opposed to the cruise ships being relocated to any other spots in the Charleston area, but she didn’t understand what the problem was for Mount Pleasant.
Town Council Member Guang Ming Whitley was not in favor of the cruise ships coming to Mount Pleasant and asked why Mount Pleasant should want to take this on.
“For me, the question is why did Charleston stop doing it?” Whitley says. “They didn’t want the cruise lines disembarking and embarking from Charleston, and that’s the primary issue here, is them thrusting upon our town and then we’re trying to be forced to take on what Charleston didn’t want.”
Haynie says that this discussion has not gone away and that they are trying to put it to rest and get the pressure off Patriots Point.
He says now they are waiting to hear back from the South Carolina Ports Authority as they requested for them to lay out their plans on the future of cruise ships.
Copyright 2024 WCSC. All rights reserved.



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