Besides developing initiatives to support the local society, the economy and maintain supply chain, the Port of Tarragona is also investing on port city culture the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. As explained by the President Mr. Josep Maria Cruset, the Port has multiplied the activities proposed to children as well as adults. As an active member of the AIVP network since 1190, Tarragona is an example of the Port Authority’s commitment to the community.

AIVP – Tarragona, like many port cities on our planet, has been affected by COVID-19. The Port of Tarragona, has reacted very quickly and has proposed several activities for quarantine. Among them, a drawing contest for children and a virtual visit to an exhibition on the world of fishing in the current Port Museum. Can you explain more about these initiatives, and other actions of this type that have also been launched during this period of confinement?

Josep Maria Cruset © Port Tarragona

Josep Maria Cruset, President, Port of Tarragona – In the Port of Tarragona, we care about people, whether they are part of our organization or not. We try to help people, families and businesses affected by this pandemic and try to mitigate its effects so that they have the best possible time, whether from an economic, social or solidarity point of view.

In the social field, Moll de Costa, the cultural brand of the Port, has forged very positive synergies for many years and this has allowed us to maintain this link with the citizens despite the confinement. And along these lines, we have set up various activities. We have organised competitions to try and accompany the children, and in general the families, since it is a difficult time for them too.
In March, we organized a drawing contest with the slogan “Explain us what you do?” for children aged from 3 to 12, that has been very well received. In April, we are embarking on the activity “A cau d’orella”, organised by El Teatret del Serrallo, where families can send in video stories that are then published daily on Moll de Costa’s social networks. And we are also preparing an online literature competition on the occasion of the Sant Jordi festival.

AIVP – The Port of Tarragona is celebrating its 150th anniversary and has scheduled a series of events between November 2019 and November 2020. Probably, the current circumstances will affect the normal development of this program. Could you summarize for us what cultural and social activities you had programmed and how you plan to adapt them?

Josep Maria Cruset, Port of Tarragona – Given the constant change we are experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot anticipate what may happen in the coming days, weeks or months. Right now, the Port of Tarragona has suspended all its public events. We have to carefully analyze and always follow the guidelines of the competent health agencies to decide what happens with all the planned acts.

We have planned for June 27th a big children’s party, and a summer concert with the group Doctor Prats in the Moll de Costa that we maintain for the moment, but its celebration will always be conditioned to the safety and health protection of people. By the end of the year, the inauguration of the new Museu del Port was expected, which we keep on the calendar even though the construction works have stopped due to the pandemic.

We were also hosting group visits to interesting port areas and had scheduled dramatised tours in leisure boats that we will resume when conditions are optimal and safe for visitors.

AIVP – The opening of the new Port Museum in November 2020 was indeed one of the most remarkable initiatives. Can you explain to us some details about the transformations that will be made and the content that will be proposed in the new facilities? 

Josep Maria Cruset, Port of Tarragona – We want the Museum of the Port of Tarragona to remain a cultural reference for the city and the territory. To achieve this, we will seek to make the visitor experience much more exciting, active and modern, and to this end we will enhance the audio-visual and technological components.

The content proposal is based on a thematic story divided into four areas. The first, under the title Entre el mar i la terra, will explain the raison d’être of the ports, the origins and the beginnings of the Port of Tarragona. The second area, under the name Fer-se a la mar, will focus on navigation techniques and the boats that have passed through the Port. The third will be La vida al Port, and finally, the last theme, Port i sostenibilitat, will be a reflection of how the Port of Tarragona has progressively shaped the image of the territory.

Some of the Museum’s new features, which we can now preview, will be the 94 m² immersive media room with a 360-degree video and sound projection, and also the exhibition of two boats, each 10 metres long, which were found in 2012 and which date back to the 17th and 18th centuries.

AIVP – We know that the port cooperates regularly with the city of Tarragona through its City Port Coordination Council. In what way have you collaborated concretely with the Tarragona City Council in the different initiatives that we have just discussed or in other measures to combat the effects of COVID-19?

Josep Maria Cruset, Port of Tarragona – The Port of Tarragona as a key infrastructure continues to operate and comply with the economic, business and social responsibility. We work to guarantee the supply chain. Within this normal activity, we hold regular high-level meetings with the City Council to discuss the most strategic, important or urgent issues we have in common. We also hold multiple meetings at a more technical level with the City Council. Now, in view of the crisis caused by COVID-19, these meetings have dealt with economic, logistical and institutional cooperation issues to jointly fight this pandemic.

We have tried to help in all these areas from the Port side. We have implemented economic measures, of which we can highlight the early payment to suppliers, worth more than 5 million euros since the proclamation of the state of alert, in order to inject liquidity into companies. We have also extended the period for payment of port fees.

Among the solidarity measures, we offered Refugio 1 and Tinglado 1 (historic warehouses) for health care of those affected by COVID-19, if it was necessary. We also donated masks for hospitals and lent an ambulance for Civil Protection.
Additionally, every day at 8 pm the boats docked at the Port use their sirens to join the tribute to the health workers, making that moment even more special for the whole city of Tarragona.