#CruiseCarlingford- Furthermore to our previous report on Warrenpoint Port, the harbour welcomed the first visit of a cruise ship, the Saga Pearl 2 last month to the harbour on the shores of Carlingford Lough.
According to the Belfast Telegraph, the (Saga Cruises) ship was making a Britain and Ireland Explorer cruise with 800 people on board, who disembarked in the local town and visited the region.
CEO of Warrenpoint Harbour Commissioners Peter Conway said, "We are hoping that this is the start of new business for us and that we can help welcome more tourists to this beautiful part of Co Down. There are also plans for a 200-berth yachting marina and we are trying to secure funding."
Mr Conway added: "We would be prepared to invest £2m in this £5m project; there is an inherent demand for leisure activity on Carlingford Lough."
It's understood the port has also been in negotiations with a view to a possible purchase of the port at Greenore in the Republic, the only privately-owned port in Ireland.
The port is most famous for being used to fit out the ships used for the pirate radio station Radio Caroline which Afloat.ie reported about the 50th anniversary since first broadcasting across the Irish Sea off Ramsey, Isle of Man in 1964.
Mr Conway said he had ambitions to broaden the port's appeal. "Warrenpoint is primarily a commercial port, but we have other stakeholders and we think that it is important that we put something back into the local community which is why we want to develop the cruise business and marina, and open up this part of Northern Ireland to a wider audience".
Warrenpoint also accommodates a small but successful mussel-dredging fleet, selling to customers in the Netherlands and Belgium. Local fishermen also sell scallop and crab to some of the top Northern Ireland restaurants.
The board in December 2013 also agreed to the construction of a new £3m grain storage facility and conveyor system.
In October this year the Warrenpoint Harbour Authority will host the 2014 British Ports Association (BPA) 2014 annual conference.
The event, to be based at the Slieve Donard Resort in Newcastle, is expected to attract around 200 delegates.