Captains appeal to governor

| 28/11/2011

red bay port.jpg(CNS Business): With the recent announcement by the premier that the UK requires a comprehensive review of the business case for the cruise port  in George Town, sea captains campaigning for the port to go to Red Bay have appealed to the governor to ensure their proposal forms part of that review. The business case for the cruise berthing facilities is being examined by KPMG and the captains say that the firm should include an examination of the alternative Red Bay location. Listing what the local seafarers believe are the problems with the George Town location, Capt Arlen McCoy has written to Duncan Taylor saying that since the early 1970s Red Bay was touted as the best location. Read More on CNS Business

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  1. DangerMouse says:

    Why build the Seaport in South Sound?? wasnt the whole point of building the port to stop tendering? If this goes ahead just think of how many buses of people will be influxing to town?? What will this do to traffic in the morning ??? and how will this affect the value of homes in south sound ???

    The infrastructure is already set up in GT, why now build an entirely new infrastructure for something we already have.

    • Mouse trap says:

      What infrastructure?? The entire Royal Watler terminal will be demolished! So will Fort George from the looks of the drawings in the press.

      I went to a presentation with Capt McCoy and they are actually adding three times the road lanes there that will help the normal traffic problems we have to go thru out there every day

      Guys I am not sure I fully support it yet but don’t be so close minded. On the surface it looks pretty thought out.

  2. Anonymous says:

    On a day like today, when both George Town is unworkable and Spotts has big swells, the SOuth Sound/Red Bay port would be ideal.  In terms of providing a safe all weather port for Cayman, right now that is the best option.  Whether it is feasible is another matter, but practically, it is the best.

  3. Kung Fu Iguana says:

    Surely we should be listening to marine engineers, who specialise in these issues, rather than "sea captains" who really don't.  It is a bit like asking footballers for stadium design comments.

    • Anonymous says:

      We don't need to listen to sea captains or marine engineers.  Mac knows what is best for us.  we shuold just accept whatever he says with out question.  He is looking out for us.  He said so, so it must be true.  He is of pure heart remember.

    • Anonymous says:

      But certainly a footballer can tell you to orient it North to South so the sun isn't in their eyes when they are playing.  This is exactly what the Captains are doing – telling us where to put it, they're not interested in concrete PSI and steel, they are concerned with winds and safe harbours.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am a highly qualified Marine Engineer with Certificates and years of experience in the field.

      I know a lot about ship design and construction, but I know absolutely nothing about Port design and construction, therefore your post must certainly be a joke.

  4. What the ???? says:

    You can't be serious in thinking that putting the cruise berthing dock in South Sound is a good idea, right?  You all are just saying this as a big, fat joke, right?  Because if you are really serious, then we all really do deserve McKeeva Bush because at least he's not insane.  Of all the lamebrain ideas that have got some kind of traction here, putting the dock is South South is the stupidest.  Please, can't we argue about things that are actually in the realm of rational reality?

  5. Anonymous says:

    The major concern I have for the GT berthing facility is the required dredging in George Town and that impact on the moving sand along 7 mile beach the most important natural asset of the country.

    If dredging a hole at the end of 7 mile beach that is constantly filled in by sand movement then the dredging will be ongoing and the sand lost will come from the rest of 7 mile beach. What do you do then? This is a very serious issue that must be answered by the powers that be before this project moves forward.

    7 mile beach cannot be damaged.

    The fact that this pier will be unuseable during Norwesterners is another concern.

    Obviously the environmental impact of the Red Bay area is of concern to me but it is contained within a single area that is useable 12 months a year. If the Red Bay plan can be done as shown then I think it should be considered.

    • InformedDecisions says:

      No "Hole" will be created at the end of 7 Mile Beach by the dredging required to accomodate two berthing piers in the current port facility location. You will find that the water at the southern end of 7 Mile Beach actually deepens before rising again near to the current port facility. The dredged area would not be more than 40 ft deep and would just be a moderate variation in depth and not a "hole".  

      As for losing sand, you do not have to worry because anyone who has taken the time to learn where the sand on 7 Mile Beach comes from will know that it is produced by the marine ecosystem along the entire north coast of Grand Cayman and is constantly being deposited by currents that flow east-to-west on the sea floor off the northwest point area. When we have northwesters, which occur several times each and every year, this sand is brought in to 7 Mile Beach. Far less often, the rough seas created by tropical storms and hurricanes may shift sand up and down the beach, causing some natural erosion.      

      However, in the long run the beach is maintained by the sand that is constantly being produced along our north coast.  

  6. Anonymous says:

    how can i become a 'sea captain'????

    • One wee catboat sailor says:

      Simply, just apply common sense to this berthing idea and you will become an "honourary sea captain" instantly.

      As for actually commanding a ship on the high-seas, that requires years at sea experience and passing a series of tests/exams prior to licensing. I am sure Captains Arlen McCoy and Hurlston can assist with the minimum requirements.

      Happy & Smooth sailing!


    • Anonymous says:

      i drink rum, have sailed boats in the northsound and have some kayak experience..

      call me captain anonymous

  7. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, there is insufficent natural depth for berths, turning basin, and navigation corridor.  That means dredging, and alot of it.  I don't like the odds. 

    • anonymous says:

      Yes, there is a lot of dredging in Red Bay however there is dredging and killing of all the snorkeling reefs in the GT vicinity also to be considered. 

      The big question will be "value for money". Having to build a $300M berth for only 4 ships at the edge of a huge drop-off, where the structures have to take full exposure of hurricane waves is a lot different to building the berths in a protected area behind a breakwater at half their cost. Also, at best we cannot use the new downtown piers for 30 to 40 days a year.

      When you add the lower cost of the berthing piers in RB, the expandable nature of Red Bay in future, the traffic problem to be created in GT (& cost to remedy that), the availability of fill from RB for other projects, the solution to the traffic bottleneck at Grand Harbour, the cost of the second berthing dock we will still need at Spotts and the potential flooding in town from the deep water being closer to town, one can understand why Red Bay is likely to be the best solution for us even with the extra dredging — certainly if one applies a "value for money" approach.

      I believe the UK and KPMG will think so as well once they review it properly.

      • RedHerringDetector says:

        Throw on your mask and fins and take a swim from the cargo dock over to the Royal Watler Pier and you will see that most of what is there is already dead. On thecontrary, South Sound is pristine and untouched, and home to the second largest mangrove marine estuary on the island next to the North Sound.

        Also, one needs to consider that the George Town berthing facility can be constructed for far less than the $300m figure associated with CHEC proposal. I heard a figure of $185m for the GLF plan mentioned on rooster.

        As far as the weather is concerned the vast majority of rough seas would occur from northwesters and not hurricanes, and any design I have ever seen proposed for George Town had the piers pointing northwest, so as to minimize exposure to wave energy. You also cannot compare "days lost" for the current tendering set up vs. "days lost" in a berthing scenario. This is because there are many days when the weather is bad enough to shut down the current Royal Watler, but would not be bad enough to deter berthing. I don't know what "Huge drop off"(my that sounds scary) you are referring to as the deepest water any pier structure would be in is between 40-60 feet.

        Where traffic is concerned, we are already used to dealing with cruise traffic in George Town and most will agree that the problem can be alleviated by the pedestrianization of part of Harbour Drive as well as the creation of a proper staging area on the port for buses and taxis. If you examine the cruise ship arrival times you will also see that they do not all arrive at the same time, which would further calm any Red Herring induced fear of everyone onboard rushing on shore all at once. Realistically, not everyone wakes up at the same time either!

        I am a little concerned when expandability of Red Bay is mentioned because that would mean even more dredging in the future and even further destruction of South Sound. Why would we need more than 4 berths? Especially when the difference can still be tendered during high season.

        Traffic at Grand Harbour would become an utter nightmare if tour buses and taxis were introduced to the mix at morning rush hour. I don't think all the locals coming in from the eastern districts carrying their children to school and going to work would appreciate that.

        Maybe a second tendering dock and permanent moorings could be built at Spotts, but not a berthing dock as that would have too much impact on the environment.

        Finally, any worry of flooding in town can be mitigated by beefing up both the length and width of the current cargo finger as well as the inclusion of wave energy attentuation structures that dissipate wave energy. The water is then directed back into the sea via channels similar to the swales that are commonly used as part of many stormwater management plans!

        I too am also very interested in what KPMG and ultimately the UK will have to say with regards to this and other needed infrastructure projects, especially since KPMG is well known for their input on this and other ifrastructure projects throughout the Caribbean.

        • Myth Breaker says:

          Mr. Deflector,

          To help you along your search for the real answers:

          1. There are no real mangroves in South Sound- were destroyed by Ivan and Paloma. A few up by Old Prospect road and some scattered about but basically they are gone. Not a marine estuary by any definition. It is actualy a Replenishment zone so you cannot take lobster and conchs from the sound. That is it. The new breakwater near the reef will be a superior lobster and fish habitat.

          2. last time I looked I saw many people and cruise passengers snorkeling the live reefs in GT. Please revisit the scope of dredging for those 4 ships and see that all the way down to Burger King and beyond will be dug up. Some 800 persons snorkel and dive out there each day. That will be gone. So will the jet ski folks, the banana tube and the mini speed boats as well. All gone.

          3. GLF figures were not verified. Neither are the ones from CHEC to be fair. If this is to be self-funding it will cost far more than $185M however. So let us settle and says its $245M. Still a lot of our money to play with. You could build 15 Prospect Primary schools for that or even 3 of the $85M GOABs!!!

          4. Last month a hurricane 230 miles ago shut down the harbour and put waves across the road. Northwesters will too. Berthing Days, I agree, are slightly different than tendering days but not by much in GT as the ships are in close proximity to each other there and broadside to the wind. I am sure the Cruise Master Captains will not risk hitting their $1B ships just to land a few passengers here. Given that the only way these ships can berth in town is side-on to the prevailing NE wind, the slightest real wind and they are off. So berthing days are going to approximate tender days in that specific harbour design.

          5. The huge drop off is actaully several thousand feet deep. Dolphins alone will be in 80 feet of water. Huge wave pressures as mass of water comes up from the deep. Uplift forces are huge. Piers have to be significant structures to stay there. Not scary just reality.

          6. We have never had to deal with 24,000 passengers and volume of buses in town. Our passenger flow currently matches the tender arrival flow. When passengers walk off it is different. The passengers tours go between 7am and 9am so they do come off relatively quickly. Cruise companies ask for 1 acre per ship just for transportation as a result. GT traffic will grind to a halt, in and out. They all know that. CHEC said last week if we ask them and pay them they can look at the problem for us. Everyone should know this will happen and more importantly will cost a lot to resolve. Need to know the cost now not later.

          7. Why 4 berths?- the CHEC proposal includes 4 berths as well as 5 or 6 tender berths. So in winter 4 ships tied up and more will be tendering. Sooner or later we will need to expand. This is not an option in GT. We will have also restricted our cargo expansion forever. Not a smart idea for a developing country. In 20 to 30 years that cargo port will have to go in the North Sound as a result. Not a good idea especially as we can see the problem today.

          8. Spotts is a 5-year solution at best. Bigger ships cannot tender. So when they bypass GT they will also bypass Spotts. Not really an alternate for GT anymore.

          9. The Grand harbour traffic issue. 38,000 vehicles pass there today. After Shetty and CEC that will increase. Bodden Town/Prospect is fastest growing district which means more traffic.  Red Bay Cruise port adds 4 additional lanes (200% increase in capacity) through the area linkingdirectly to bypass system. NRA planned this road into the bay some time ago. The cruise port will build it as well as cut traffic from the SS main road at same time. Some traffic will actually leave port and go east on island tours. Win-Win for traffic and East End, North Side and Bodden Town folks.

          10. And finally, the proposed finger piers face the NW–the direction the waves come in from in a northwester. So they will direct water into harbour. The proposal is to dredge 40 feet deep all the way in to edge of Royal Watler. Much deeper water, closer to shore, directed in by the piers gives you huge wave energy to dissipate very close to shore. Unfortunately a swale, shallow ditch, cannot deal with that. Only a breakwater can and a big one at that. It is likely that the water will continue in and down Fort Street and Harbour Drive. We have to wait to see the computer models and how they plan to deal with this issue. CHEC and GLF proposal does show a low breakwater along edge of terminal. Awaiting details.

          It is quite clear that no matter what issue you look at, even taking into account the all the damaged lower reefs in town, that point for point, Red Bay is a superior choice. It will come down to logic and political will but technically it is superior.

          Hope that helps. 


          • anonymous says:

            1. So you're telling me the mangroves are fake? I'm not referring to the half-dead ones that people can see along South Sound road, but the ones that span from Old Prospect Point all the way around to the beginning of Emerald Sound. A zoning designation by DOE does not change the natural function of the mangroves.

            2. The dredge footprint for two piers off of the current facility will only extend slightly north of the current Royal Watler location, requiring the relocation of the Cali and Balboa wrecks, but leaving the vast majority of the natural reef  attractions untouched.

            3. Call GLF or Royal Construction. I am certain that those were "verified figures".

            4. How do you think wind will affect ships once they are in the confines of a basin such as Red Bay. The ability to abort a berthing gone bad is much easier in open water than in a restricted basin. You simply throttle straight out to sea! 

            5.Mooring dolphins will be in 40-50 ft of water max. The depth actually does eventually drop off to greater than 1000ft, but that does not occur adjacent to where the ships would be moored. The depth goes to triple digits for a fair distance before getting deeper. Since the mooring dolphins are actually further out than the actual piers(piers only need to extend far enough to offload passengers), the uplift forces on the piers would be limited by the 40 ft depth that the piers themselves would be in.

            6.Red Herring. Even when we had in excess of 1.8million passengers in 2005/2006 we didn't have 24,000 passengers/day.

            7.More Red Herrings. Why would we need to have more than 4 ships berthed and 4 ships tendered? There is a point where, no matter how efficiently we can get passengers on and off the cruise ships, that the cruise experience will begin to decline from excessive numbers. Who are we building for anyways? As far as cargo is concerned, speak to anyone who works at the port and they will be happy to inform you just how far below capacity the port is operating.

            8.We'll just have make realistic improvements to spotts in an effort to properly accomodate 3-4 ships on days when town is too rough. 

            9.Red Bay does add more lanes, but it also adds more traffic in the form of tour buses and taxis.

            10.A simple extension of the current cargo finger would protect Hog Sty  Bay from the deeper water column as the cargo finger lies at the southern end of the proposed dredge area. Any waves coming in between the piers would definitely be dealt with by a properly engineered wave energy dissipation system, and so would waves immediately to the north of the norhernmost pier and waves immediately to the south of the southernmost pier. And no, swales would not be able to handle that volume of water, which is why the commenter before you said "channels"(the commenter only compared the function to that of swales). 

      • hey there what you dredging down there says:

        come out come out whoever you are you make a point then show ya name man,

      • O'Really says:

        I get the feeling you are the author of a lot of the pro-Red Bay posts on here and that you have a vested interest in the Red Bay project.


        How else can you explain the deliberately misleading and constant referrals to 30 – 40 days per year lost to bad weather? Anyone can look up the cruise ship schedule. I did it at the end of October and found that of the 458 cruise ships expected to be in GT this year through October 30, only 37 were listed as not having visited. Of these 37, it was obvious that some had been subject to a change of schedule. For example, the Adriana alone missed 12 weekly calls. By my calculations, 18 ships out of 458 failed to stop because of bad weather, a mere 4%. Nowhere close to your 30-40 days and certainly not worth destroying South Sound to avoid.


        I don't believe for a second that you care about value for money. You care only about how much money you think you could put in your pocket if you were able to persuade Caymanians to go with your absurd plan. 



  8. Anonymous says:

    Get 'er done captains!