INAUGURAL calls of cruise ships to Portland Port have been marked with special plaques.

This month has seen the The Azores, Ryndam and Eurodam celebrated their first visits to the Isle.

And two more ships are due to visit before the end of June.

To mark the inaugural call of a ship, it is presented with a plaque- but this year the port wanted a more ‘original and unique’ way of commemoration.

So it commissioned plaques made of Portland stone.

When presented to the captain of the ship the origin of the plaque is explained; they are quarried from Portland stone and sculpted by local craftsmen.

Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust were commissioned to produce the plaques, which have been gratefully received.

Paul Crabtree, the sculptor who carved the plaques, said: “This has been a very detailed project to work on and has made use of the great facilities at the Drill Hall Community Stone Workspace at Easton Lane Portland.

“There’s also an exhibition space showcasing talents of artists and stone carvers with the opportunity to learn to carve stone.”

Ian McQuade, general manager of business development at the port, has been on board all of the inaugural calls so far this summer.

He said: “We wanted to do something that was distinctly Portland in character and with these beautiful carved Portland Stone plaques I believe we have achieved this.

“It is clear from the comments from the ships that our offering is highly original and very much appreciated.

“Hopefully 2015 will see still more inaugural calls and a demand for more handcrafted Portland Plaques.”