BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – According to information from Fort Madison Mayor Brad Randolph, Vikings Cruise lines has made a decision to halt discussions to build ships and offer tours in the United States.
Randolph said he received information from Viking Cruise Lines on Tuesday, which he said was disappointing news for Fort Madison.
“While the news is unfortunate, moving forward, the City, Fort Madison Partners, and Fort Madison Economic Development will consider other options for a best use of the riverfront and focus the monies set aside for another project or possibility,” Randolph wrote in a text Wednesday evening.
“The fact that Viking considered Fort Madison for a port of call, means that our community has a lot to offer, and we need to pursue all opportunities to take advantage of that fact.”
Randolph also included the following excerpt from the Viking communication.
“Viking has terminated current discussions to build vessels in a US shipyard for Mississippi River and U.S. Coastal cruising. As the details were being refined, it became apparent the economics did not meet Viking’s goals.”
Fort Madison city and economic officials had reserved hope that Viking Cruise lines would consider Fort Madison for a stopping point and that venture could help spur development of the city’s riverfront property.
Councilman Rusty Andrews said he wasn’t surprised by the bad news.
“While it is unfortunate, not just for Fort Madison, but also for many Mississippi River communities to hear of their choice not to proceed with U.S. cruises, I am not surprised,” Andrews said.
“I hope to see Fort Madison capitalize on the asset they have and continue with riverfront improvements, For not only possible new endeavors, but also for those already using our riverfront.”