4:10pm Friday 17th February 2012
By Keith Hamilton
Southampton-based Cunard has categorically denied new reports that the company is to operate transatlantic voyages from the Mersey.
Cunard, which operates Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria from Southampton, is angry over what it says is totally false information.
In a terse statement the company said: “Cunard Line would like to clarify that they have no plans for transatlantic voyages from Liverpool to New York in 2012, 2013 or in the future.
“Cunard will continue to operate its successful transatlantic voyages from its home port of Southampton.’’
Many believe the reports are just another element of Liverpool’s campaign to persuade the Government that the northern port should be allowed to become a “turn-around’’ base for cruise ships.
It is now also being claimed in Liverpool this long-standing row has been “resolved’’, opening the way for cruise ships to operate from the city.
In fact the Government has made no decision and the EU, which supplied part of the public funding, is also taking a close look at Liverpool’s plans.
The long running wrangle centres around Liverpool’s attempts to use a multi-million pound handout of public money to develop and expand dockside facilities.
Southampton and other UK docks, which rely purely on private investment, are demanding Liverpool pay back all of the public funding so competition between the ports is on a “level playing field’’.
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