Port of Almeria
De port is located in the centre of the city. The main activity in the port is the ferry-terminal. To reach the port over the road, driving down from Madrid: Take the A4: Autovia Del Sur to exit 292 and continue via the A44, A92 and finally the A7. If you come from the direction of Barcelona you can use the Autovia A-7 or the toll-road Autopista AP-7 all the way as this is the main route following the Mediterranean Sea
The crossing to the destinations in Northern-Africa take approximately 6 hours (normal ferry to Nador or Melilla). This is a much longer, and therefore also more expensive, crossing then the short hops from Algeciras to Tangier, but it is more convenient for people traveling to the Rif area or Algeria.
Almeria offers also a marina and a normal commercial port: it can receive cargo-ships, cruise-ships and also the Royal Navy uses the port.
The ferry-terminal is a busy terminal. Moroccan nationals living in Western-Europe use the crossings from Almeria to visit relatives in the summer. The port offers several sailings each day to different destinations in Northern-Morocco and Algeria. The port offrs a large waiting and sorting-area for cars. As people often have traveled a very long distance they tend to arrive hours before departure of the ship. To prevent overheating most waiting-areas for the cars are under a roof to protect the car and it's passengers from the sun. The main terminal building offers the offices of all the operating companies where they sell the tickets or where you can change your (prepaid) ticket for a boarding-pass. The terminal building is open 24/24 and includes a cafe\ and a small shop/kiosk for refreshments and a call-shop. Foot-passengers can wait inside the terminal building for their ship.
Embarkation for foot-passengers is situated on the 1st floor of the terminal building. After the (Spanish) immigration you use the network of footbridges to board your ship. These foorbridges can reach each key and via a moving 'last metres' one can board the ships without having to touch the ground. The loading and unloading of cars won't interfere with the (dis)embarkation of foot-passengers and also help for an efficient prccess. Outside the main terminal building there are a few restaurants, offering the passengers a simple menu or drinks and there is also a small supermarket that is open 24 hours. There are also facilities like toilets and showers for the passengers.
VTS: Vessel Traffic Services
As Almeria is a busy port where ships tend to arrive and/or sail at more or less the same times all ships have to use a harbour-pilot. On arrival the pilot boards the ship when it arrives at the piers and leaves the ship when the first warp is fastened. On departure the pilot leaves the ferry just before it passes the pier-head. A complicating factor for arriving ships is that all ferries have to swing round before docking: as the ships moor in Africa with the bow towards the key they have to dock in Almeria with the stern facing the key; otherwise all cars would have to turn on the ships or disembark driving backwards.
At the entrance of the port a large tower for the officers of the VTS. The VTS offers the staff a good view over the entrance and the entire port-area. The VTS is fitted with radar on top of the tower.
Operators and Destinations
Several shipping companies offer frequent connections with North Africa
- Melilla - (=Spanish enclave near Nador) - Acciona Trasmediterranea
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