British Virgin Islands gets $35M cruise pier loan

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TORTOLA - Officials in the British Virgin Islands say they have secured a $35 million loan for a cruise ship pier expansion project that is expected to bring larger ships and more visitors to the territory.

The government announced the loan agreement Monday with First Caribbean International Bank for undisclosed terms.

Ports Authority Managing Director Claude Skelton-Cline said construction should be underway in August.

The $52 million project is scheduled to be completed by next summer. In addition to a larger cruise ship pier, the project includes retail and other development on five acres.

The British Virgin Islands brought in about 340,000 cruise ship passengers last year, down from 571,000 in 2008 in a decline officials said was caused by an inability to accommodate larger ships.

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