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Last Updated: Friday, 11 January 2008, 09:02 GMT
Port in line for cruise giants
Freedom of the Seas
Dredging for Freedom of the Seas could start next year
Falmouth could soon take the biggest cruise ships in the world.

Assessments of the channel have confirmed that it could take the 1,112ft (339m) Freedom of the Seas type ships.

The ships, which are longer than 37 double-decker buses, can accommodate more than 4,300 passengers on 15 decks.

Environmental and economic impact assessments are still being compiled, but dredging of the channel could start next year.

Marine consultants Royal Haskoning have said the channel design would be suitable for the world's biggest cruise ships.

They have also taken samples from the seabed and are looking at beneficial use of the dredged material to reduce the amount that would be dumped at sea.

Mark Sansom, chief executive of Falmouth Harbour Commissioners, said everyone with any concerns about the dredging had been encouraged to come forward.

He said: "We are waiting for details on disposal of spoil and a detailed model and how the estuary would behave if the operation goes ahead."

Cornwall Wildlife Trust is concerned about the effect of dumped material.

Marine conservation officer Joanna Doyle said: "It's really important that we look at how much pressure the area can take.

"Falmouth is a very important area for marine wildlife and for tourism and industry.

"We need to balance those needs and make sure that the environment is capable of dealing with all those activities."

More than 40 cruise ships are booked into Falmouth this year.

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SEE ALSO
In pictures: The Freedom of the Seas
29 Apr 06 |  In Pictures
Massive cruise ship arrives in UK
29 Apr 06 |  Hampshire

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