A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Carnival still considering building cruise-ship terminal at Baja California Sur's Magdalena Bay, where gray whales migrate

       gray whale at scammons lagoon photo from noaaCarnival Cruise Lines is continuing to explore developing a cruise ship terminal at Puerto Cortés on Isla Santa Margarita in Baja California Sur, U-T San Diego quoted a San Diego Board of Port Commissioners official as saying Wednesday. The story quoted Ann Moore, who chairs the board, as saying the Baja California Sur terminal could mean more business for the San Diego port.

       The story, while saying the island is part of Baja California, did not mention that it is actually in Baja California Sur state and that it is located at Magdalena Bay, where gray whales migrate annually to give birth.

       The possible environmental impact on the bay and the whales is not known.

       In March 2012, Dow Jones news service reported that then-President Felipe Calderón's office had said that Carnival had "pledged to invest more than $150 million for port infrastructure in Mexico." The story said the terminals would serve the island of Cozumel off Playa del Carmen (south of Cancún) along Mexico's Caribbean coast, and along the Pacific coast in Baja California Sur. Although the story did not mention exactly where a terminal was being considered for Baja California Sur, commenters on the website discovered that it would be at Puerto Cortés.

       Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said Thursday, "Last year, during a meeting with Mexican officials, Carnival Corp. indicated that it would be interested in developing two ports in Calica, as well as Puerto Cortes (on Mexico's Pacific Coast).  Please note that these projects are not finalized and are still very much in the planning/conceptual stages.  We will continue our dialogue with Mexican officials on these plans going forward."
Calica is on the Mexican mainland just south of Playa del Carmen.

      Puerto Cortés is sparsely populated, and has a military base, a fishing community and a meteorological station. Wikipedia, citing the Mexican statistics agency, put its 2005 population at 128.

       Wildcoast/Costa Salvaje's webpage on efforts to preserve Magdalena Bay.     

Photo: A gray whale at Scammon's Lagoon; photo from NOAA.

May 7: Solstice cruise ship visits Ensenada.