After six years of construction, the new Muara Angke marina in North Jakarta was finally opened on Thursday by Governor Fauzi Bowo.
The new marina is designated to be the official marina for passenger ships plying routes between the Thousand Islands regency and the mainland.
Fauzi said that although the infrastructure and facilities of the Rp 130 billion (US$14.27 million) marina project have not yet been fully completed, he expected that the new hub would improve transport service. “It’s not yet perfect but I hope this will help the people of the regency,” he said during the opening ceremony.
The governor admitted that the new marina was located quite far from the nearest main road. “It was difficult to find the location for the construction of the new marina, but the current location is not bad,” he said.
Fauzi promised that the administration would work to improve the marina’s accessibility, by providing buses or other means of public transportation.
“It would be useless if the marina is opened but no residents are willing to use it,” he said.
The 3-hectare marina is currently able to handle up to 500 passengers per day in its initial opening phase, but as the construction of additional facilities is completed, that capacity will expand.
City Transportation Agency chief Udar Pristono said that the new marina would take over the burden of passengers from the Marina in Ancol.
Udar said that the old marina would serve exclusively tourism-related trips and ships. “Until the operation of the new marina, the Marina also served as daily crossing hub for the residents of the Thousand Islands,” he said.
The Marina, located within the complex of Ancol recreational parks, have been heavily used for tourist and pleasure trip ships, Udar said. “Ferries for Thousand Island residents were not given priority at the Marina,” he added.
The construction of the new Muara Angke marina started in 2005. The new marina now has waiting areas for passengers, ticketing facilities, food courts and a marina administrator’s office.
Udar said that the new marina was also expected to boost tourism to the Thousand Islands.
The Jakarta administration has made significant progress in delivering services for residents of the islets, since the Thousand Islands became a regency in 2006.
Prior to 2006, the Thousand Islands were considered as a district of North Jakarta. The island grouping consists of 105 islets with a total land area of 8.7 square kilometers and a population of more than 20,000.
An underwater power line project, which began in 2007, brought electricity from a power station in Tanjung Pasir, Tangerang, to the islands of Untung Jawa, Lancang, Pari, Payung and Tidung.
Residents in the southern part of the regency have received a power supply around the clock since March 2008. The administration earmarked Rp 103 billion last year to bring electricity to eight northern islands, namely Semak Daun, Karya, Pramuka, Panggang, Harapan, Kelapa, Kelapa Dua and Panjang.
The islands have attracted foreign tourists and in recent years, more and more local tourists. Efforts to boost tourism, however, have been slow.
According to data compiled by the regency administration, less than 6,000 boats of various types serve the 15,000 to 20,000 people traveling to and from Thousand Islands each week.
Fishermen and local residents run 15 boats that can accommodate around 150 passengers to and from Muara Angke fishing village every day, while Thousand Islands regency administration operates 40 boats that can accommodate from 60 and 120 passengers each.