Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Passenger Boat and Ferry Boat in Manokwari Harbor

When I was traveling to Numfor island last November 2010, I saw a small passenger boat at Manokwari harbor. I was standing on board of the ferry boat Kasuari Pasifik IV when I took the picture of the passenger boat. Her name was Gracelia. She has a long superstructure with three decks are allocated for passengers. The deck below the main deck is constructed for economy class. From the general arrangement of the boat, I can easily tell that the capacity of the boat is around 200 people (sometimes more during the high season or holidays such as school holiday in July and Christmas holiday in December). Please, do not be confused with the banana boat that is usually promoted by certain resort in their travel brochure. The passenger boat that I am talking about in this article is big and able to travel across open seas.
Indonesian islands which consist of more than 13,000 islands need around 50 big passenger ships (each with a carrying capacity of 3,000 passengers) and hundreds of passenger boats to transport people and goods. As the largest maritime state in the world, Indonesia constantly needs all kinds of marine vehicles to support its economic development.
In West Papua province, passenger boat and ferry is now seen as an alternative public transport vehicles to bring tourits from Manokwari - the capital city - to Numfor island, a potential tourist destination in the Geelvink baai. Speed boats are also used to bring tourists from Sorong to Waisai, the capital of Raja Ampat regency. West Papua is a famous destination for tourists who want to enjoy bird watching in Arfak mountains, snorkeling or scuba diving over the pristine coral reefs that thrive around the tropical islands in the region. With more tourists are coming from all corners of the world to West Papua, boat owners and ferry operators should pay attention to waste handling and treatment inside their boats.
When people travel by boat or ship they bring food that is usually wrapped in plastic packagings. These plastic wastes are thrown into the sea by passengers and crew of the boats. Such bad attitude has to be stopped because throwing plastic wastes into the sea will bring marine pollution that is harmful to the coral reef and marine environment as a whole. Not only the tourists are effected but also the ecosystem will be destroyed by that. The sewage water treatment systems in most of the boats that operate in Indonesia need to be improved or upgraded.
In the coming years, more tourists will come to Manokwari, Numfor island, Raja Ampat and other places in West Papua. This is the result of our efforts in promoting ecotourism for this region. Therefore, everybody who is involved in the land and sea transportation industry must work together to improve their services so that this increasing number of tourists will continue to occur and bring positive economic benefits to all of us.
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