St Helena Online

Tag: Jamestown wharf

Bidders try to save jetty plan – after report it would be scrapped

Artist impression of the proposed breakwater
A breakwater would improve cargo handling

The leading bidders for the job of building a breakwater at Jamestown are trying to bring down the cost of the project – only days after UK cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell suggested it was being dropped.

The contract cannot be awarded to the joint preferred bidders, Enco and Marine Lagan, because St Helena Government cannot meet the tender price.

Executive councillors were called to The Castle in Jamestown at short notice in April to be told the project was in jeopardy, and new funding was being sought.

But on 20 May 2012, Mr Mitchell told a meeting in Swindon, UK, that the project was on the point of being dropped.

The Secretary of State for International Development said a permanent landing stage was being considered at Rupert’s Bay instead – big enough for some vessels to come alongside.

The ship chartered by the airport construction company Basil Read is due to be the first one ever to dock at St Helena, using a temporary jetty in Rupert’s Bay.

The last section of concrete for the temporary jetty was successfully poured into place on Friday, 25 May.

The latest airport newsletter says: “After the unfortunate incident in April where the sea conditions caused some of the concrete to be washed away, Basil Read adapted their method and poured the concrete jetty wall in four stages.

“All that remains is the addition of the fendering, planned for June.”

Three tenders for the Jamestown breakwater contract were received in January 2012.

Enco and Lagan were chosen over CAN S.A. from France and joint bidders WBHO and Sea and Shore, from South Africa.

A St Helena Government (SHG) statement says: “The tender price exceeds the funding currently available, so a contract cannot yet be awarded.

“SHG is considering a wide range of options for addressing this situation and Enco/Marine Lagan is investigating the possibility of price reduction. This process will take some time.”

The scheme involves building a breakwater extending 140 metres from the shore, with geometric “tetrapods”, similar to those at Tristan da Cunha, to deflect waves.

A breakwater and short jetty at Jamestown would create a sheltered landing basin, making it safer for people to step on and off small boats – and probably avoid repeats of the incident in which the Arcadia cruise ship captain refused to allow passengers ashore in “millpond” conditions.

A boat moored alongside the landing steps at Jamestown wharf, viewed from above
St Helena can lose £10,000 in a day if cruise passengers are unable to come ashore at the landing steps

The ship’s owner, P&O Cruises, has so far ignored all requests to acknowledge the loss suffered by islanders.

A breakwater would also make it easier to lift cargo on and off lighters – a tricky operation in a rolling sea at present. Fishermen would also be able to land fish more easily.

The latest statement makes no reference to Mr Mitchell’s doubts about the scheme. St Helena Online has asked the government press office to comment.

SEE ALSO:
Jamestown jetty plan looks dead in the water
Funding shortfall delays safer landing stage

LINKS
Jamestown wharf improvements: environmental impact assessment

AUDIO: DfID Secretary on island’s “brilliant opportunity”

Andrew Mitchell with Swindon MP Robert Buckland and St Helena UK representative Kedell Worboys
Andrew Mitchell (right) with Swindon South MP Robert Buckland and St Helena UK representative Kedell Worboys

St Helenians and island watchers discussed the future of St Helena with the Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, in a rare public meeting on 19 May 2012. Afterwards, St Helena Online was granted an interview with Mr Mitchell on behalf of island media. Click on the links to hear what he had to say:

On finance and shipping: “This is an absolutely brilliant opportunity in the history of St Helena. I’m determined this major contract in very, very difficult circumstances will be delivered on time and at cost.” And a future wharf in Rupert’s Bay? Part 1: listen here.

On aircraft: “We have maintained our flexibility for the future and ensured the aircraft most likely to fly to St Helena will be able to use the airport.” Part 2: listen here.

On open government: “It’s up to the elected governments of the territories to determine whether freedom of information legislation is the best means of strengthening transparency and accountability to their own citizens. Explaining to people why you’re doing what you’re doing makes for better government.” Part 3: listen here.

On tourism: “We have satisfied ourselves with the world’s best experts about the likely tourist uptake. I think their projections are quite conservative.” Part 4: listen here.

SEE ALSO:
Andrew Mitchell speech at Swindolena, UK
Andrew Mitchell: your comments
Basil Read’s Jimmy Johnston at Swindolena
Andrew Mitchell: questions from the floor
Jamestown jetty plan looks dead in the water

LINKS:
Department for International Development
Andrew Mitchell MP

Funding shortfall delays safer landing stage

Children play at the landing steps as a wave breaks`
Cruise captains fear passengers will get a soaking at the current landing steps in Jamestown

Improvements to the wharf at Jamestown are on hold – because there’s not enough money to pay for them.

Councillors were called to The Castle at short notice to be told about the threat to the project to provide cruise passengers with a safe place to come ashore.

A “preferred bidder” has been chosen for the project, but it could take months to raise extra finance to meet the price quoted by the unnamed company.

A boat moored alongside the landing steps at Jamestown wharf, viewed from above
St Helena can lose £10,000 in a day if cruise passengers are unable to come ashore at the landing steps

Without it, the island is expected to continue losing thousands of pounds a year because cruise ship captains refuse to allow passengers to land in poor sea conditions.

The potential lost revenue has been estimated at more than £300,000 a year by 2023 – on the basis that the number of ships calling will increase if a sheltered landing stage is built.

Executive councillors were called in for an unscheduled meeting on Tuesday, 3 April 2012, but the bare details of a briefing from Dr Corinda Essex were not made public until eight days later.

Governor Mark Capes said: “Dr Essex explained that although a preferred bidder had been identified, there was still a gap between the bid and the funds currently available.

Artist impression of the proposed breakwater
A breakwater would improve cargo handling

“More work was needed to identify and assess all of the possible options. That process would take several months and involve further discussion with the European Commission and others.”

The scheme involves building a breakwater extending 140 metres from the shore, with geometric “tetrapods”, similar to those at Tristan da Cunha, to deflect waves.

The breakwater and short jetty would create a sheltered landing basin, making it safer for people to step on and off small boats.

It would also make it easier to lift cargo on and off lighters – a tricky operation in a rolling sea at present. Fishermen would also be able to land fish more easily.

Sea rescue craft could also be launched with less difficulty, down a slipway inside the breakwater.

LINKS
Jamestown wharf improvements: environmental impact assessment

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