The Ministry of Communications and Transportation in Mexico (SCT) has eliminated mandatory use of tugboats for cruise ships in the ports of Ensenada and Mazatlan, according to a press release from Puerto de Ensenada.

The main objective set by the SCT, is to improve the efficiency of the Port of Ensenada as a cruise destination, giving cruise lines the authority to use their own resources and technological advances to avoid unnecessary costs, and encourage industry development without neglecting safety in the transportation of passengers.

On June 17, the SCT published the modification to the law, dated since 1981, declaring the non mandatory use of towing service at the Port of Ensenada for cruise ships equipped with conventional or podded propulsion systems, including thrusters at the bow and stern, that allow them to maneuver without the need of tugboats, as long as there are favorable wind and current conditions, which will be determined by the ship's captain, the pilot designated and the Harbor’s Captain.

Carlos Jauregui Gonzalez, executive director of the Port of Ensenada, explained that this eliminates the use of tugs, as long as cruise ships have the capability to dock safely on their own. With the approval of the Port Operations Committee, the modification was incorporated to the Port Operation Rules on June 28.

Tug boat services may only be required with winds above 25 knots, during dredging operations in the port, and when cruise ships may have problems with their own propulsion or navigation equipment.

Meanwhile, port costs will be reduced 10 to 15 percent.