An outside contractor has been brought in to deal with a large solid rock discovered at a shallow level of the seabed in the area of the second cruise ship pier now under construction at Port Zante.
In August last year, it was reported that plans were in train to remove the rock by the use of dynamite, but this plan was scuttled after it was pointed out that blasting would have serious negative impact on the underwater environment, including damage to the Port Zante bulkhead.
Multiple sources confirmed over the weekend that a ship with special equipment is under contract to break up the large solid rock on the seabed as well as other high spots, which left intact, would have caused severe damage to the bottom of cruise ships when berthing.
It was not immediately known when the ship with the special equipment seen in the photo, arrived in the Bay of Basseterre, when the operation began and when it would be completed.
The additional works are expected to increase the cost of the project to approximately EC$150 million.
In April this year, Leader of the Opposition, the Rt Hon Dr Denzil L Douglas disclosed there were serious cost overruns in the construction of the second cruise ship pier at Port Zante.
“Recently we have been informed that there are serious cost overruns in the construction of the second pier amounting to millions of dollars,” Dr Douglas said during his weekly radio call-in programme “Ask the Leader.”
Operation Rescue’s Dwyer Astaphan told listeners to his “Operating Room” programme that an additional US$7 million (EC$18.9 million) will be needed for more piles, more steel and more concrete to complete the construction of the second cruise ship pier.
Astaphan said that the additional US$7 million (EC$18.9 million) cost which will take the price tag to EC$148.5 million, could be as a result of either improper due diligence, inadequate environmental impact assessment or the new soil sample which show the existence of rock on the seabed.
Scheduled to cost EC$86.4 million under the then governing St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party administration, the cost of the second cruise ship pier ballooned to a EC$129.6 million price tag – EC$43.2 million more under the Timothy Harris-led Team Unity Government.
To finance the project, the St Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) secured a EC$91.8 million loan from the St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank; EC$18.9 million from the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board; EC$13.5 million from the St. Kitts and Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) and EC$5.4 million from the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla Trading and Development Company (TDC).