“I declare that there is a declaration of favourable environmental impact, even if conditional”, said the president of the Committee for Coordination and Regional Development (CCDR) of the Algarve.
José Apolinário stressed, at a press conference, that the decision “allows us to move forward to a new phase”: to articulate with the municipalities of Portimão and Lagoa and with the Administration of the Porto de Sines and Algarve “the funding procedure” regarding research into underwater archaeological sites indicated as a “precondition”.
When implemented, the project for "deepening and widening the navigation channel of the Port of Portimão" will allow ships up to 272 metres in length to be received on the Arade River, where currently it can receive ships up to 210 metres, allowing for the doubling of the reception capacity of passengers and tourists from cruise ships in the region.
Reference for tourism
“The environmental and project justification decisions are now created to make the Port of Portimão, on the Arade River, one of the reference ports for cruise tourism”, highlighted José Apolinário, adding that it is “good news for tourism, as well as for the sustainable use of the ocean and for the economy of the sea in the Algarve region”.
The president of the CCDR do Algarve indicated that he now has “three tasks and ambitions”: to defend the allocation of the necessary funding that, by the second half of 2024, will allow carrying out the preliminary research work on underwater archaeological finds; defend the financing of the decarbonisation of the Porto Urbano de Portimão, so that the vessels when stopped can use renewable energy sources (until the end of 2024); and to boost and strengthen maritime connections for cruise ships and passengers between Portugal and Andalusia (Cadiz-Seville-Portimão-Lisbon connections) and in the Mediterranean access basin.
Still no final decision
José Apolinário warned that there were still no final decisions and said that various estimates indicate that underwater archaeological research could cost around three million euros, decarbonisation and environmental requalification 12 million and dredging works another 12 million.