MOT makes unsupported claims about port

| 15/01/2019 | 76 Comments
Cayman News Service

Flooding at the Port Authority dock over the Christmas holidays, December 2018

(CNS): The tourism ministry issued a press statement Monday making unsubstantiated claims about the impact of potential future weather events if and when the George Town cruise port is constructed. The short statement claimed that fears the cruise berthing facility and cargo port could exacerbate flooding in instances of extreme weather were incorrect because unidentified engineers had told the Public Works Department that all was fine, a wave overtopping study was being undertaken and there would be no increased threat from the piers. But the statement raised more questions than it answered and so far officials have not responded to queries from CNS about the validity of the statement.

According to the release, there is nothing to worry about because “the Cayman Islands Government, through the PWD Major Projects Office, has already sought specialized expertise from the project’s marine engineers to confirm” that all will be will.

Chief Project Manager for the Major Projects Office, Peter Ranger, said, “A wave overtopping study and flood risk assessment is being undertaken to ensure that flood risk to George Town for the areas to the North and South of the new development will be no greater than exists at present and will be reduced wherever possible. Therefore, the flood risk will not increase as a result of the new cruise berthing and cargo development.”

He added that the new development would have “wave walls” that “don’t exist at present to reduce wave overtopping and flooding in the cargo and cruise area in extreme weather conditions which will also protect central George Town”.

However, the ministry failed to identify the project’s marine engineers who have confirmed this marine science, especially as the statement indicates that the assessments have not been completed. It also raises questions as to how these engineers who have reportedly given this advice to government are the “project engineers”, since the tendering process is reportedly not yet completed and no group has been identified that will actually design and engineer this ambitious project.

It also appears that the Department of Environment was not consulted at all about this issue, as the ministry removed its technical experts from the steering committee last year.

CNS has contacted the ministry to get some kind of clarification on who has given this advice, what it is based on, what the government’s own marine environment experts at the DoE have said and how the ministry can be so confident that future weather events like the one over the Christmas weekend will not pose any problems.

Given the ongoing warnings from scientist around the world about climate change and, most importantly for Cayman, the associated sea level rise, flooding is likely to become more, not less, frequent here.

Nevertheless, MoT officials described the recent weather and George Town flooding in its statement as “uncharacteristically extreme”. They also said that the new piers would be better equipped to safely welcome ships in rougher weather than is currently the case, but no ship would call “in the extreme conditions witnessed last month”.

Full MoT Press Release – Piers will not cause flooding in George Town, January 2019

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Category: Science & Nature, Weather

Comments (76)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    KYD$250-300 mln for the dismissed design, for initial construction cost, did not factor submarine geology and engineering at 80+ feet, surface shade, security, ongoing maintenance dredging, tugs, tug staffing, recurring back-breaking insurance costs, and inevitable seasonal blue water repairs that only Grand Cayman residents seem capable of imagining. Tell us again how this bad idea doesn’t cost us anything?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Grand Cayman should have put in the permanent deep water cruise ship moorings that have been recommended by several agencies, talked about, and provisionally budgeted, several times over the decades since 1990. That would prevent the anchor chain sweep (which may not even be destructive anymore), and allow cruise ships to mostly power-down while on call.

    Paul Allen even paid a settlement for “Tatoosh” reef damage to fund just that. Remind me, how much were owners of cargo ship “Saga” fined for wrecking Eden Rock? Why was that settlement redacted? Was there any fine paid at all?!?

    Successive Cayman regimes have each turned their four years into a spiraling bad idea contest, as if there were some elusive grand prize for the most destructive money-centric scheme imaginable. Can we proclaim this lot as our finalists, and have them escorted from the building?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Moses also said at the Family Life Center meeting last year that the silt kicked up by the dredging would simply be swept over the drop-off into the abyss, which is absolute bollocks! Either he does not understand the currents around the island or he is a bare faced liar.

    Anyone who has spent a little time in the harbor will know that the currents are unpredictable and do not always flow east to west. If the current is out of the north say goodbye to all of the coral to the south of the dredging and if it switches direction you can say goodbye to the coral to the north. The currents can change on a daily or even hourly basis out there.

    People of Cayman, Moses and the rest of the pro port group can not be trusted.

    • Anonymous says:

      All you need to do is go snorkeling in the area off TI to see the damage caused by run off from developments that were built without sufficient set back from the beach. It’ll be like that everywhere if they get this project wrong.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Reef and sponge suffocating particulate” was highlighted in the Baird EIA Report, as well as salinity, temperature, and acoustic changes that would kill or repel all current existing life and shellfish from the area. How does that suspension, in tossing active blue water, not drift up the West wall and turn SMB into milk?

  4. Anonymous says:

    While the new port is being built, can cruise ships still call on Grand Cayman? If not, are there any social safety nets like unemployment insurance for all the businesses who rely on cruise tourism? Taxis, tour operators, retail staff, restaurant workers etc.

    • Anonymous says:

      It was said at last year’s public meeting that ships would still be able to call. If I remember correctly they said the numbers may be reduced however.

      Whether you wish to believe that promise is up to you

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ve posted comments about this before. Judging from the absolute silence on the subject I’d guess that CIG are simply assuming it will sort itself out when the time comes. That’s one of the scary things about this whole project – there’s been no in-depth planning for the potential fall out from building something this size right in GT.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’d say the port is shaping up to be an epic nightmare of proportions that a) nobody has thought of or b) is willing to acknowledge.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes they can still cal.. they can still tender.

  5. Change my mind says:

    We all know the port is a money making scheme conjured up by government to line their greedy pockets with money. It doesn’t have to benefit the economy just pockets of the ones pushing this selfish agenda. This is all personal gain with no concern about the people of Cayman or the enviornment.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Kirkconnell family owns a serious amount of real estate around the George Town harbour area. Not just the Kirk stores.

      • Anonymous says:

        Dart (and several foreign investors) receive duty/tax concessions to support their investments.

        You must NOT support other Caymanians with their investments, PERIOD!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians seem to be really good at making sure nothing is done well. Too many people who are smarter then everyone else all evidence to the contrary.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why would the DOE be consulted on marine engineering? They are only qualified in Marine Biology.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes why would the DOE who specializes in Marine Biology be consulted on a MARINE engineering project. Did you read what you typed before hitting send?

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps because the said port is being built on top of a living coral reef in a MARINE PARK??

  8. Anonymous says:

    Just how much are the anti-port noise makers doing in their own right to protect Cayman’s ecology….how many are driving gas powered cars, cooling and lighting homes via CUC, adding their waste to the landfill? Come off your hipocritical high horses, including CNS. Frauds!

    • Anonymous says:

      Gotta do what you can, o holy one. What’s your agenda in posting this. Guarding the world for the future or a little rum money.

    • Anonymous says:

      Making noise about the port is what we are doing… The electric cars is a valid point but the use of CUC? Oh that’s right I will switch to Iguana Power Co. where they use 100% solar power from the iguanas resting on tree limbs. As for adding waste to the landfill? Are you advocating throwing the trash on the side of the road? How about in your yard instead..

      F’n Muppet

      – Muppet “Head” Hunter

      P.S. CNS is simply reporting the news, stop attacking these ladies. If you don’t like how they write their articles stay on Cayman Marl Road. At least CNS knows how to use spell check.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh man, a textbook example of whataboutism. Don’t fall for it folks

  9. Anonymous says:

    And they will keep doing this because the media in these islands are complacent and the people even moreso

    Headlines should be writing themselves “Government continues to lie in order to subsidize waterfront merchants”

    “Government ignores citizens economic concerns in favor of the business class”

    The media plays too nice
    and there aren’t enough outlets to pick up the slack

    everyone is too busy worrying about advertisers and public perception

    News isn’t meant to be convenient the those in power, otherwise we’d just let them write it

  10. Anonymous says:

    Is our honorable Premier going to continue to be led (misled) by the minister for tourism who has responsibility for the over budget airport, money loosing entities like Cayman Airways, Turtle Farm, Pedro St. James, etc etc.

  11. Anonymous says:

    If the whole UK voted for Brexit in a referendum and it can’t happen how to the silly petitioners for tender rights think theirs will be successful?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Cayman Islands Government are looking even more Russian than Donald Trump.

  13. Anonymous says:

    A referendum needs to be held to decide the issue. The premises behind the dock have changed yet the government seem obsessed with pushing this through. The risks are sizable and clearly not worth the down side risks. Why are the government so gung ho for the dock?

    • Anonymous says:

      Because certain members of CIG have financial interests?

    • Anonymous says:

      It must not be built referendum or not. Your leaders, after they announced construction of buildngs on Brac” just because”, must be evaluated by mental health professionals.

  14. Tony Ward says:

    Rising sea levels and climate change won’t occur during this governments tenure, will they? Someone else’s problem to solve. Besides, by then waterfront retailing will have been outdated by online shopping won’t it?

  15. Anonymous says:

    The current proposal shows that there will be deeper water closer to the shore than the original plan and this supports the fact that larger waves can also be supported closer to shore. As such, the impact of the waves will be more severe. Simple common sense that doesn’t need an engineer ( imagined or otherwise) to tell us that.!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I wonder if they factored in the fact that they are ripping out the one thing that protects us now. The reef.

      • Anonymous says:

        The reef is so twentieth century. It’s now money honey. Wringing all you can as fast as you can from any means possible. The question is why. I will say it’s the BIG driver. The the thing that keeps people up at night. Fear.
        Change my mind.

  16. Anonymous says:

    The article should read

    “Government Makes More Unsupported Claims about Port”

    Also someone should look into all of the documents and promises made and set up a page that can easily show all the unsubstantiated claims and lies

  17. Anonymous says:

    Oh yea “nothing to worry about” all is well… what a joke…

  18. Anonymous says:

    Moses and company should be embarrassed to say this sort of nonsense

  19. Ambassador of Absurdistan says:

    Just Another Day in Absurdistan

  20. UnCivil Servant says:

    XXXX This latest announcement proves they do not understand international procurement best practices sitting on a panel with bidders during a closed bid process and basic marine engineering. They are parrots for the elected government and Cabinet. Sadly they embarrass themselves every time they spout such nonsense which reflects poorly on CIG and the cruise berthing project.

  21. V says:

    WTF, forehead slapper this is.

  22. Anonymous says:

    CIG tying themselves in knots as usual when plain speaking would be plain.

    1a) “the proposed project is not expected to increase wave action along the adjacent shorelines nor the risk of flooding of George Town. The conceptual design of the new land reclamation area includes a wave/flood wall to limit flooding of the project site itself due to wave
    overtopping during Nor’westers and hurricanes.” – source: Non-Technical Summarry of the EIA of the Port proposal on the DoE website ( –
    1) In CIG-speak “has already sought specialized expertise from the project’s marine engineers to confirm” that all will be [well].”

    2) However, the CIG has apparently changed their mind about what they’re building out there to an unknown extent (as reported by CNS, etc.). Therefore they will need to update the EIA to check to see if there is a changed flooding risk from the changed design meaning a need for changed wave/flood walls, etc. to keep potential flooding in check.
    2b) In CIG-speak ” “A wave overtopping study and flood risk assessment is being undertaken to ensure that flood risk to George Town for the areas to the North and South of the new development will be no greater than exists at present”, etc.

    If they spoke plainly they wouldn’t confuse the issue by seeming to contradict themselves. 1st design – no flood problems. 2nd design, they’ll also make sure there are no flood problems. – Speak plainly, and people will trust you. Obfuscate and people won’t believe you. (And not mixing up your present and future tenses helps too I suppose.)

  23. Anonymous says:

    I am no marine scientist but I think I have a little common sense so my questions are if a huge section of the reef is removed, and if it is true that the reef blocks a lot of the impact of waves, isn’t it a given that the waves rolling in on the new port and all over George Town will be more catastrophic?

    • Anonymous says:

      The reefs of South Sound really saved South Sound from storm damage during Ivan…… right…?

      • Anonymous says:

        What a dumbass comment! Imagine how much worse it would have been without a reef! Geez some people really are stupid.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, the actually did… Too bad the Cat 5 winds took the water and sheered the land. If it wouldn’t have… you would need bridges to get to GT to EE

  24. Anonymous says:

    One also needs to multiply December’s effects, due to the dredging project that will increase the wave force when it hits land. There will be no reef to dampen the wave activity. So the better build some walls… Some big walls. Kiss your view of the harbour our the window.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Here’s a fitting quote from a great Christmas movie. Hey MOT ” why don’t you wake up and smell what you’re shovelling”.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Lol people acting like they have never seen harbour drive underwater before. Please…..

  27. Anonymous says:

    Well ..the experts were obviously not here to witness Christmas eve 1989 Norwester , or hurricane Michelle’s passage in 2001. Ivan is bespoke.

  28. Anonymous says:

    <> For just $1,000,000, the University College of the Caribbean will confer an honorary EngD on any Cabinet members and/or Neutral House Speakers willing to opine on Engineering matters. Operators are standing by, have your government credit card handy!

  29. Anonymous says:

    …and as we descend further into this autocratic regime, not one voter has started a petition to Enact the Standards in Public Life Law, which would begin to pull back the curtain on all of this. To intelligent voters I ask with genuine curiosity: what more are YOU waiting for?

  30. Anonymous says:

    Wait until a good wind and swell come from the west during the construction process. The debris will be all over the marine park.

  31. Anonymous says:

    So the Ministry of Tourism can issue a press statement but the actual Minister of Tourism can’t meet with the constituents that will be affected the most by the port?
    Nothing to see here!

  32. Anonymous says:

    just more Alice in Wonderland from CIG……………….

    • Anonymous says:

      I wonder what excuses they will make when the worse scenario occurs! Who will they blame?

      • Anonymous says:

        We better wake up and put a stop to this madness. It will be too late by the time we see what a disaster it could be. The time is now, not when the whole of George Town is in ruins. All of the idiots going ahead with this will be enjoying Paradise somewhere else. The corrupt money they got for approving this deal will get them anything their heart’s desire.

        • Anonymous says:

          Any and everything but a clear conscience. After they have counted and re- counted their ill- gotten gains, lie down for a nap,that thing called a conscious reality will kick in and keep them awake all night.

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