Three years ago, Carnival Cruise Lines permanently based its 2,056-passenger liner Fantasy in Charleston, giving the city a year-round cruise industry. Before that, cruise lines made port calls, but no ships were based in the city.
The city and Ports Authority say the industry is being managed properly and cruises will never be more than a niche business although opponents say added tourists, traffic and smoke are destroying the historic fabric of the city.
Douglas, in his motion, wrote the wharf where the warehouse is located has been permitted for maritime activities for nearly 50 years. Maintenance, under Corps permits, allows the "repair, rehabilitation, or replacement of any previously authorized serviceable structure," he noted.
But Holman wrote the warehouse "was permitted as a cargo transit shed, was so used for decades and was never used or intended to be a cruise terminal."
He also noted that a 1979 Corps permit that authorized plans for the cargo shed included a provision that "it shall not be lawful to deviate from such plans either before or after completion of the work."
The plaintiffs want the judge to void the permit and block the Corps from authorizing any construction until it complies with the more extensive studies required by other federal laws and regulations.