TUESDAY, JANUARY 22: The Ministry of Public Works has for the past year been investigating the structural capacity of the new cruise ship wharf Heritage Wharf at the Royal Naval Dockyard, Ireland Island. 

The purpose of this investigation has been to determine the true design strength of the dock as constructed in order to design strengthening works necessary to accommodate new larger cruise ships proposed by Norwegian Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International.  The construction stage of this project is scheduled to be complete before the arrival of the Norwegian Breakaway on May 15th this year.

The increased length of the Norwegian Breakaway means that an addition mooring location will be required to the north of Heritage Wharf, extending the catwalk by eighty feet. In time an extension to the dock area to accommodate the entrance and exit companion way locations will be required.

In addition to this our structural investigations and analysis have revealed that the new Wharf is not strong enough to take the required ship design loadings in berthing maneuvers or in mooring scenarios to required design wind strengths for both the ships currently using the docks and those proposed for the future.  Consequently it has become evident that we will need to construct a total of four mooring and berthing structures; two additional mooring structures (one noted above) and two additional berthing structures before the arrival of cruise ships.

Design works for this project are at an advanced stage and the Ministry of Public Works is in the process of procurement of the construction contract which will ensure that the dock is ready for the season.  The construction contract was tendered in accordance with Financial Instructions to six local general contractors, the preferred contractor and their team is SunRise Construction Limited partnered with Crisson Construction and Onsite Engineering. The Government is presently completing this procurement.

Design and construction works for these improvements do not require channel widening and channel widening will not form part of the works.  The Ministry of Public Works will undertake studies into the potential requirement for channel widening and the environmental impact of such widening in an ongoing study of Bermuda’s cruise ship potential in the future.  The Department of Marine and Ports has reviewed the design characteristics of the ship along with Norwegian Cruise Line principles and are confident that the current shipping lanes are adequate and that wind restriction safeguards as utilized for other cruise ships already calling can be adapted for this vessel in order to ensure safe operation.

Pre-consultation work with all the relevant Government agencies has been on going and key stakeholder groups have been contacted.  The Ministry of Public Works will be undertaking further consultations in the coming weeks.  It is hoped that a formal planning application will be filed on 1 February and with key staff at relevant agencies dedicated to this project review, we can complete the planning process before the end of February 2013 and works could begin by 1 March.

In the coming weeks the public should expect to see activity in the area as we undertake essential geological investigations and begin to procure the materials needed to build the new structures and to put them in place ready for commencement of construction.

Works to Heritage Wharf will be similar in nature to those undertaken to construct the dock originally.  No additional works peripheral to the site will be required to accommodate the Norwegian Breakaway.  The original environmental studies are still valid and will be supplemented with additional environment, social and economic studies for both this first and the next phase of the works.

On completion of these works the dock will be able to accept the new Norwegian Cruise Line Breakaway vessel at the wharf, the dock will also be able to handle other larger vessels that have been reviewed as part of the design process.

Additional works will be completed during the next two cruise ship seasons to upgrade Kings Wharf Dock to the same level in order that we may accommodate these vessels on each dock.