"Previously, cruise ships of the same size as the Legend could not berth at any Indonesia port. They could only throw anchor some distance from the coast and transport passengers to the shore by small boats," he said here Monday.
Sapta Nirwandar also said the 264.3-meter-long Legend of the Seas was the biggest cruise ship to berth at an Indonesian port, in this case Benoa, Bali.
Meanwhile, the harbor and dredging director of Bali`s Transportation Office, Kemal Heryandri, said Benoa harbor was ready to receive big ships from overseas.
Kemal Heryandri said coral reefs in the harbor waters had been removed in 2011 to ensure the navigation safety of big ships, even of ships bigger than the MV Legend. Besides, Kemal added, the local government had also dredged the coastal waters up to a depth of 11 meters.
"In 2012, the dredging will reach 12 meters to enable big cruise ships to berth easily and safely," Kemal said.
President Director of PT Indonesia Harbor (Pelindo) III, Djarwo Surjanto, had previously said Benoa would be the first port in Indonesia able to receive the Legend of the Seas.
The cruise ship had 2,300 passengers and a 1,000-strong crew on board when it arrived in Benoa.
"The Legend`s visit will attract world attention because it is the first time for a big cruise ship to berth at an Indonesian port," Djarwo said. (*)