The Portuguese national daily, "Publico" and the regional Algarve daily "Sul" report tonight that the Portuguese Cruise Ship "Funchal" is currently lying of the coast between Alvor and Portimão with 400 passengers aboard.
The vessel, which is returning from a New Year's cruise to Madeira and Morocco, was due to dock in Lisbon on Sunday but was diverted to Portimão owing to poor weather conditions. However, the Port of Sines which is supposed to provide a tug boat to Portimão in such instances has been unable to dispatch one. Another tug dispatched from Setubal, after the intervention of the President of the Câmara Municipal de Portimão and Central Government authorities, has reportedly turned back to Setubal owing to 7m waves.
It seems incredible to me that the Algarve coast with harbours at Portimão and Faro does not have a single tugboat to assist vessels that need to enter local harbours in times like these.
The availability of such as vessel would probably also increase the usage of Portimão and Faro harbours with concomitant economic benefits to the local economy!
To me this is an issue of not just Portuguese national maritime security, but also EU maritime security.
Resources need to be found to make this happen!
Articles (in portuguese) here: