Cruise and Cargo Facilities
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In recent years, several Caribbean countries have undertaken port enhancement projects to attract the new larger class of cruise ships.
With the arrival of the first of these new ships, the Voyager-class ‘Adventure of the Seas’ in April, the Bridgetown Port upgraded its cruise ship facilities with the dredging of the inner basin, the turning circle and the entrance channel.
Soil from the dredging was used to fill in a containing revetment which resulted in land reclamation of some 9 acres. This expanded the cargo area of the Port’s operations and will be used to develop new berthing facilities.
This project proceeded under a rigorous environmental monitoring programme by the Barbados Port Inc. and key regulatory agencies, namely the Town Planning Department, the Coastal Zone Management Unit, the Environmental Engineering Division and the University of the West Indies Natural Resources Management Programme to ensure that the oceanographic and sediment processes, the water quality and the marine communities were not compromised in any way.
The Jan de Nul Group of Companies, headquartered in Belgium, was contracted to execute the dredging and fill of the containing revetment. Jan de Nul has one of the world’s most modern and technologically advanced dredging fleet and has successfully undertaken similar projects worldwide.
Jan de Nul used the Kaerius cutter suction dredger to deepen the inner basin of the harbour from its current 9.6 meters to an average of 11.6 meters. This phase of the project was completed in May.
Chairman of the Barbados Port Inc., Larry Tatem, noted that the land reclamation will give the Port an opportunity to create additional berths for cargo. At present, priority is given to cruise ships which arrive around 0600 hours and leave after 1700 hours, thus necessitating cargo vessels to wait outside.
“This new reclaimed area will allow the Port to handle cargo and cruise simultaneously, so this is one pleasing aspect that is coming out of this project” Tatem added.
A tour of the project was conducted in late February for workers’ representatives of the Port, the Barbados Shipping Association, and the Barbados Workers’ Union. General Secretary of the BWU, Senator Leroy Trotman, commended the Barbados Port Inc. on the involvement of the workers and noted the value of having workers involved from the ground floor up in matters to do with the redevelopment or restructuring of a business.
Captain Tellef Lie-Nielsen, representative of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, owners of the Adventure of the Seas, visited Barbados to discuss the progress of the project. He expressed confidence that the dredging would be completed in the scheduled time.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport Noel Lynch toured the site on the tug Pelican II on April 8, and said he was extremely satisfied with the on-schedule pace of work “I wish to compliment the Board of Directors, Management and Staff of the Barbados Port Inc. for the excellent job they have done in implementing this project” he commented, adding that the enhancement of Port facilities will establish Barbados firmly as a marquis destination for cruise business in the region.
The CEO of the Barbados Port Inc. Everton Walters noted that the dredging and land reclamation project is part of a modernization programme as the Port seeks to remain competitive. “Cruise tourism is important to the Port, and we need to ready ourselves for the mega-ships of the future, as well as upgrade our cargo berthing facilities to handle increased traffic” he added.