Containers wash off flooded cargo dock

| 19/12/2019 | 145 Comments
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS): Images from webcams at the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands (PACI) and posts on social media on Thursday showed serious flooding at the cargo dock in George Town, where at least three empty containers were washed out to sea. Acting Port Director Joseph Woods said swells were breaking over the dock, which is around eight feet above sea level, slamming into the containers. Woods said the forecast had called for swells of two to four feet but the reality was far greater.

“The large swells slammed into the containers stored on the west wall,” Woods told CNS via email. “We stack containers along the west wall of the dock so that we have enough room to load the cargo ships and still leave space for the transportation operators servicing the cruise industry. However, the cargo ship for last night arrived at 1:25pm and commenced discharge at 2am. They left at 6am without taking any empty containers.”

Wood explained that when the overnight supervisor left at around 6:00 this morning, he had said the sea was calm

“The weather forecast only predicted two to four foot seas. The dock is 8 feet above sea level. Sometime after 9am, large swells arrived and started hammering the containers,” he said. “The cruise manager started to move the containers as the cargo staff had gone off duty by then but the power of the swells knocked some of the containers that were stacked four high over. Staff were called in and West Indian Marine engaged to help retrieve the containers that fell into the sea. Three were retrieved. Staff have now moved all of the containers from along the west wall.”

George Town Harbour has experienced rough seas and far worse conditions than today but the loss of containers in such weather is a rare event.

The incident happened on the day Cayman was supposed to be going to the polls to vote on the government’s plans for a cruise berthing facility and the proposed cargo dock redevelopment. It also comes against a backdrop of claims that the cargo area is at full capacity, but concerns are also being raised about alleged serious mismanagement at the authority and very low staff morale.

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Category: Local News, Science & Nature, Weather

Comments (145)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    government conspiracy it is and pls the caymanian way of twang not patwata twang. the new dock will be needed but not in the way the people in government wants it to tie their businesses give the poor a chance so don’t be greedy bring back Anwar Choudry to clean out the government

  2. Anonymous says:

    Pure idiocy and human error. No one will suffer any consequences. Zzzzzzz

  3. Anonymous says:

    We voting no🎵

  4. Anonymous says:

    …VOTE YES!

  5. Anonymous says:

    VOTE YES!!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I know this is off topic, but I just want to rally all of our voting public to vote out anyone who supported this foolish December 19th referendum date. This date was clearly chosen to hamper voters,and as a side effect, it also hurt many small businesses massively. It clearly shows that our Government is not looking out for the electorate, but only for their own selfish wants.

  7. Anonymous says:

    So can someone please explain how Joseph Woods education and work background makes him qualified to lead the port.

    • Anonymous says:

      He has done a damn fine job. You obviously are ignorant or have some kind of agenda.

    • Anonymous says:

      he caymanian. ain’t that enough????

      • Anonymous says:

        A Caymanian with many years of hands on experience on all aspects of the Port….qualification enough added to an exemplary work ethic.

    • Anonymous says:

      I remember when gov had their public meeting regarding the port last year. Mr. Woods seemed like the only member of the panel who actually bothered to prepare for it.

  8. MR says:

    I simply get annoyed when the argument against God arises within these meager human dramas; or, when persons bringing such arguments (for or against) raise them based on antiquated human texts or obviously ridiculous human-fabricated religious notions.

    And yet – armed with only the two of these I cannot help but completely understand why more and more persons continue to abandon the concept of a “God”.

    The watered-down doctrine is most questionable and discouraging to anyone who knows there must be more to it than that – or nothing at all. Many choose the latter because there is no earthly religion that properly defines “the more” – or even encourages the idea of there being more than they can offer within the confines of their self-proclaimed “holy” establishments.

    However, I dare to point out that the intelligent creation of a universe like ours should be enough to “prove” that an intelligent creation requires an intelligent creator… whether you deem it “evolution” or the “big bang” – fact is, it had to start from somewhere, somehow, by something – and it was done with obvious purpose – only intelligent design can be considered “purposeful” and only an intelligent creator can create with purpose.

    To deny this is simply acknowledging that you have no purpose and are probably better off removing yourself from the public domain of news commentary as it is indeed pointless as you have in your own words said you are a purposeless creation that got here from nowhere for no reason with no intelligent design. Denying a God denies an intelligent creator therefore there can be no (or should be no) intelligent creation.

    If humans want to celebrate our meager accomplishments over many thousands of years of existence; how can we question whatever existed before us that could form a universe of multiple galaxies of which we are not even worthy to see beyond the one we have been allowed to inhabit?

    Human concept of “religion” is its own demise – the simple fact is – something started this whole process of continuous creation and if you feel so lowly about yourself to think you are not fit to have been created by something of higher intelligence – then good for you – as for me, I am perfectly content to believe I am the product of a universally advanced deity of limitless intelligence – though its taste for creating its art is questionable only due to its patience with individuals like you who deny the surety that beyond this haphazard planet there is something more.

    • Anonymous says:

      You must be fun at parties. Yawn

    • Anonymous says:

      “I do not understand how this works. Therefore, we can conclude Harry Potter and his magic must have done it.”

    • Anonymous says:

      My best friend miscarried twice. Let’s not even begin to talk about childhood cancer.

      Which perfect designer inserts a flaw into a bridge?

    • John Smith says:

      Assuming you’re Christian here’s a simple question.
      Do you think you could write a better ten commandments than God?
      Here’s your choices .
      A) Yes, then uh oh….boom, probably not going to be religious anymore.
      B) No, what God wrote is perfect.

      O.k. If you picked B then how about replacing “though shalt not make graven images (or many of the others) with any of the below.
      1) not rape… or even not rape children (dear catholic church)
      2) not torture
      3) not keep slaves
      etc etc etc.

      Just think about it.

      • Anonymous says:

        John, I agree with you!

        The Ten Commandments are so inadequate that the “Eleven Satanic Rules of the Earth” is about as good/evil

        I propose this to all…

        Free your thoughts of God’s and Angels, Demons and Devils and you will find true salvation

    • Anonymous says:

      That intelligent creation requires an intelligent creator is a huge assumption that your post provides no argument for

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh boy! The only suggestion I have to offer your ignorance to the sciences is … Read, read, read.


  9. Anonymous says:

    Three were retrieved. Heard there was a 4th, do we know if this is true and if so where is it now?

    • Anonymous says:

      Heard a couple of full ones also knocked in and sitting on the bottom until they can be retrieved.

      • Anonymous says:

        One sank I believe. Was told it was full… Guessing that is being kept quiet in case it leads to backlash. Contents could be hazardous for all we know. No one saying anything and the deafening silence is suspicious at best….

  10. Anonymous says:

    CIG def did this on purpose.

    • Anonymous says:

      CIG caused the swells ??? Wow …

      • Anonymous says:

        No but they sure as hell looked at the weather and left the containers there instead of doing their due diligence. On purpose.

    • Cayman Mon says:

      Anonymous at 10:14am, people like you are totally ridiculous! Port is almost 50years old and we need new port now.

      • Anonymous says:

        Explain how adding the piers and increasing the foot print would have made any difference to this incident? If you are daft enough to leave containers at the edge of the dock when you have a nor westerly forecast, isn’t going to make jack difference if the port area has been extend further out to sea or if there are a couple of big piers there. mind you, what might make a difference is removing the coral and dredging the bottom out – but not in a good way.

        • SCOTT says:

          The new port will raise the elevation of the port by 2-3 feet and will include a wall that will be designed to reduce flooding.

          • Anonymous says:

            None of what you just said is in any of the plans they put forward.

          • Anonymous says:

            You do realize that water can come over a two foot wall and those containers could float out the same way..don’t believe everything you hear about the port. Someone telling you that they are going to build the dock two feet higher so the containers won’t float out is nothing short of stupid…Think about it please..You cannot stop mother nature when she is ready..We had containers floating around all of Cayman during Ivan..Can you imagine what would happen to them if they do like they did now during a hurricane?.

            This is just poor mismanagement and lack of proper planning. Those containers should not have been left on the dock during a Norwester or any other type of storm…and that includes if you build it 2 feet higher..

    • Anonymous says:

      Shoot, yest they did. I forgot that they do have a weather formation machine hidden away to rile up the conspiracy theorists

  11. Anonymous says:

    Joseph Woods said swells were breaking over the dock, which is around eight feet above sea level, slamming into the containers. Woods said the forecast had called for swells of two to four feet but the reality was far greater

    In other news JW thought the forecast was for moderate climate change but the reality was far greater..

    • Anonymous says:

      I can’t believe that in 2019 soon be 2020 we are still arguing about whether we need a bigger port and cruise piers. Come on Cayman wake up. We need these new facilities like yesterday.

      Remember you can’t eat coral.

      • Anonymous says:

        Remember, you can’t eat anything if you’re dead from destroying the environment.

      • Anonymous says:

        You can’t eat money either

      • Anonymous says:

        You can’t eat cement either..Do you think that the waves won’t wash over the dock the further out you put it?..This was an error on the Port’s part as they didn’t expect the weather to be so bad…Next time they will move them off when they hear a Norwester is coming..Lesson learned, I hope..

        • Scott says:

          The new port will be higher and will have a wall to reduce flooding.

          • Anonymous says:

            gotcha lets hope when the Norwesters come in that they don’t have waves higher than the extra two feet.. You don’t really believe that crap they are selling, do you?

      • Anonymous says:

        So you are going kill the goose that laid the golden egg? In other words BoBo, you kill the Coral what are the tourist come and see…Mount Trashmore?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Been here 40+ years. Have never seen cargo containers washed off the port! And I remember the much more serious Nor Westers of previous years. In comparison today was nothing more than a brief squall.

    Could we please have the complete video and timeline of when those containers were placed in such a precarious position. We all knew as far back as Monday that rough weather was coming. Time for an independent inquiry. But that will of course never happen.
    Who’s ever goods were in those containers should take action.

    • Anonymous says:

      10:15 That’s a very good point. I’ve been here for a number of storms, including the aftermaths of Mitch and Michelle, and they’ve always cleared the dock well in advance.

      • Anonymous says:

        10.15 Were you here when the Kirk Pride sank? Were you here when a lobster fishing boat ended up high and dry on the ironshore as if liftdd up by a large crane and placed there? Were you here when Paul Allens yacht damaged a local reef? These were all the result of surprise weather conditions? FYI Just in case you missed it.

    • Anonymous says:

      pretty sure they were empty, would have sunk if they were full

      • Anonymous says:

        Wasn’t the one that sank full? If yes, Why was the full container placed with empty containers and a statement “ship left without taking empty containers” made ? Hmmm

        • Anonymous says:

          Port operations stopped before all containers were transported inland. Both full and empty containers were on the dock. I know. I had several containers that were listed as still at the dock in the morning. They have since moved to the inland depot today. Apparently the one blue one I saw sink off the end of the dock was full. What is curious is there has been no acknowledgement by the authorities of this container or its contents nor any apparent activity to view or recover it. Maybe tomorrow when it calms down before the next front comes in early next week. Wonder if the silence has something to do with the contents or owner of the goods… And will it continue to be kept a secret??

    • Anonymous says:

      Hmmn now isn’t Joseph Woods a Caymanian? If so, he would certainly know that nor’westers occur at this time of year. Poor judgment on his part and he should be held accountable. Would expect much better from one of our own people – if it had been an expat in charge you wouldn’t hear the end of this story.

      • Cayman Mon says:

        Poor ole true Caymanians cannot win; not even in their own country. I bet its one of our own trying to crucify Mr. Woods for an act of God or as some would say an act of nature.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not blaming him for the act of God or nature, just for not preparing and planning properly for it..

      • Anonymous says:

        To 11.33am Had you taken the time to read the article before commenting, you would be aware that Mr Woods was expecting 2-4 ft wavds and took that into account when carrying out his duties. Unfortunately for him the weather didn’t follow the predictions and brought 8ft waves.Now if weather forecasting was a perfect science the waves would have been 2-4 ft and we wouldn’t be discussing containers being swept away; but it isn’t and here we are discussing containers overboard and trying to find someone to blame.

    • Anonymous says:

      You sir must have been in a crab hole. In one of our worst norwesters (Dec 23,1989) items that were left on the dock were washed off as well (Pretty much everthing that was left on the dock except the cranes). This was during the construction of the now Port Building.

      Please know our history!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Can’t eat carol? Can’t eat the piers either.

      • Anonymous says:

        Contrary to popular belief you can eat Carol… if you ask permission first. You can also eat coral (I mean you can eat anything if you really want too) however I would advise against that as well because it’s a natural resource that we need in our life to keep our oceans alive so that we all continue to stay alive.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wasn’t their fault. the seas are rising and the climate is changing, attacking the cargo.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wrong. There have been a few occasions where goods have been washed into the Harbour in my 50 years in Cayman. But perhaps they were non events and didn’t garner the attention until now with the port hot potato front and center….

  13. Kurt Christian says:

    Register To Vote

  14. Anonymous says:

    That is pure negligence. Shipping is already so $%^& expensive, I am just laughing at the fools who will have to pay for this.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Unless the new port is going to have 40 ft walls, this will always be an annual occurrence. Time to move the cargo facility out of George Town simple and straight as that!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yea let’s move the shipping area from somewhere that’s calm 95% of the time due to wind always coming from the east, to the east where it’ll be unprotected 95% of the time.

      SO logical. Waves move from east to west here numpty.

    • Anonymous says:

      Any truth / fact to your term “annual occurrence”?

    • Anonymous says:

      @8.26 perhaps you can point out that shelterdd harbour in Grand Cayman where we can move the cargo dock.

  16. Anonymous says:

    How often does this happen, containers falling off the pier? How many times per year?

    Has anyone else seen containers floating in the Harbour before today? How come they were so far out to sea?

    • Anonymous says:

      I think the government is getting very very very scared that they’re not gonna get a port so they might as well use sabotage to say that it needs updated. I smell something stinky with this.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not very often. Basically they have to get caught by surprise by the strength of the weather. If they expect very bad weather they try to clear the dock. But in this case what was expected was ‘half’ of what hit them. So it went from projected within tolerances to a bad day in the space of say an hour.

      • Jotnar says:

        Doesn’t explain why when the ship left they decided to just leave the containers at the edge – and that’s before getting into how containers are scheduled to be picked up by a ship which then somehow leaves without taking them.

  17. Anonymous says:

    You seeee, everyone is caught up about this Port issue. But something HIGHER THAN US can always send it out to sea!

  18. Xmas angel says:

    Does this not back up the suggestion that the cargo dock should be elsewhere?

    • Anonymous says:

      No because the wind comes from the east, which is why GT is the safest location. The wind comes from north west very rarely.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not really. Unless you build a ‘giant enclosed port’ (think the ‘dig it into High Rock’ plan a few years ago) you will always have the Port exposed to some degree of bad weather. George Town is on the leeward shore. Anywhere else on Grand you put the dock will generally have more bad weather than Hog Sty Bay gets.

    • Anonymous says:

      Unless the winds are NW, Hog Sty Bay has the calmest waters. That is why, historically it has been used as the primary port. Royal Watler only came into play (for cruise) recently. And that is only because of political resons. Royal is a much less advantageous dock, and subject to far rougher conditions than Hog Sty. But money talks.

  19. Anonymous says:

    gross incompetence agian on the part of the civil service (port authority and natonal weather service). yet another example of the the rubbish weather forcast swervice we have here

    • Anonymous says:

      4:39. You speak of incompetence but you fail miserably to differentiate the port a Statutory Authority from our much improved civil service.

      What a mess. Build the port now.

      • Disgusted. says:

        11.47 If you consider the current state of the C.S. is “much improved”, it only goes to show how incredibly bad it was (and still is). The GIS is the ONLY department that answers their phone.

  20. BeaumontZodecloun says:

    I wonder……. could we all see the webcam video in which the containers are washed off the port? Just curious.

  21. Anonymous says:

    What a coincidence!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Was Joey on the Brac again? Those containers should not have been left there in a Northwester period..

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a joke right? Who is the Port Director? Has the post been filled? Who didn’t know a Northwester was coming?? Mess could Government sort this out before even thinking about improvements at the Port.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is called being inept. Period. End of Story.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Don’t know if any of this is relevant to the cruise dock debate but it certainly shows there’s nothing big swells like that enjoy more than a large, low, flat, solid structure to wash over.

    • Anonymous says:

      Punctuation? Pardon, not execute. Pardon not, execute. See the difference?

      • Anonymous says:

        5:14 According to Word spell checker the punctuation in 2:42’s comment is spot on.

        What’s your point? You got nothing better to do?

      • Anonymous says:

        5:14 Nope. In fact, (note the comma) your whole comment doesn’t make sense. Where did you learn English?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Build the the port.

    Could this be the 11th Commandment to Moses?

    • Anonymous says:

      What happens if ships were disembarking tourists…oh wait, they couldn’t dock during crappy weather anyways could they?

      • Anonymous says:

        Unless with greed they are allowed to park and the rough seas push the ships onto the piers and damage them. So millions more to fix each year.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why? Do you think the dock being further out in the ocean would have helped save these containers. This was pure incompetence by the Port not o remove them when they knew a Norwester was coming in…

      • Anonymous says:

        Feel free to call me naive if you wish but I think these huge waves rolling in is really a reminder that dredging the Harbour, digging out the coral will only make it easier for these waves to roll in no matter how high the piers will be. I really can’t see any merit in the reasoning that building the piers will prevent this from happening again. Perhaps building the piers will only make it easier. Does anyone know if building a cargo dock in Red Bay and enhancing both GT Harbour and Spotts for cruise ships would be a better option?? Just wondering!!

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually, physics doesn’t work like that. Great example: tsunamis gain height when they reach shallow water. They don’t travel the deep ocean at 100 ft like in the movies. All of the water needs to go somewhere, and the shallow bottom pushes it up!

          And no, why do you think we use GT? Wind carries waves. The wind blows from the east to the west and carries the waves along with it like below:

          <<<<<< (GT) GCM (EE) <<<<<<<

          That is how the wave action occurs 90% of the year.. the land is protecting hog sty bay. Yes you may see small waves on the west side but their energy has been reduced by the wind.

          • Solomon says:

            How a Tsunami Forms:

            1. An underwater earthquake occurs; the seafloor snaps up, lifting a column of water above it. Gravity pulls the water back down, fanning waves outward.
            2. Individual waves in a tsunami are spread out: the distance between 2 wave peaks, called the wavelength, can be hundreds of kilometers long. Each wave’s amplitude, or height, is rarely more than 3 feet at first.
            3. As waves meet (from very deep water to shallower water) the wavelength decreases and wave amplitude rises.

          • Anonymous says:

            Finally someone with sense!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Right on cue, but rather than highlighting a contrived need for more mismanagement surface area, this demonstrates the certain year-round variabilities of a blue water dock where Mother Nature will do what she wants.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please hurry and build the Port. Thankfully no lives were lost.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah. Then the swells would be even bigger!

      • Anonymous says:

        Hey, Genius, how is that suppose to help? You kool aid drinkers are all alike! Whatever the ‘crosseyed wonder’ says, you take for gospel. Geesh.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Build the port!!

  27. v01d says:

    Pitty the fools who are spreading false accusations that this was purposely done on the original referendum day to demonstrate need for an upgrade to the cargo facilities.

    We will make them build it and pay for it. Whereas many choose to moan with no plan to bring us into the future.

    • Anonymous says:

      A possible future where we wound destroy the only attraction that matters?

      • Anonymous says:

        Eden rock and the few other acres of coral out of the thousands we have is the only area and attraction(s) that matters in the entire Cayman Islands?

        Yea makes sense.

        • Anonymous says:

          Typical Caymanian from GCM, thinking the big island is all that matters.

          “get them to spend their money here. If they wan go brac then da their choice”

        • Anonymous says:

          So you agree its going to destroy Eden Rock?
          (Though the CIG is loathe to admit it?)

          • Anonymous says:

            I agree that if it does it won’t be the end of the world. 5-15 acres out of 4537 with much to gain.

  28. Anonymous says:

    God works in mysterious ways. Build the dock and the cargo port.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t you think that this is God’s way of warning us that it doesn’t matter what we build, He is still in control…Would it have made any difference if the extension to the cargo port was built? I don’t think they were planning to build it 30ft tall to stop the water from washing over it..

    • Anonymous says:

      The kingdom of God is within us all. God just wants people to abandon apathy.

    • Anonymous says:

      No he/she doesn’t. There is no god. Only a flying spaghetti monster.

      • Anonymous says:

        Such as a fool would say in his heart.

        • Elan Sel'Sabagno says:

          A fool would see billions of other humans following numerous other religions and dieties – all with no empirical evidence to verify their existence – and somehow conclude that THEIR choice of religion is someone guaranteed to be the correct path to follow.

          Whereas I, a humanist / atheist, accept the limitations of what we know about the universe. You yourself can observe that the universe is expanding. What happens when you deflate an expanded balloon? It returns to an original point where the big bang originated.

          What caused it? I can’t tell you that there’s evidence to suggest the sky fairy did, so I can’t believe that. I wouldn’t mind being able to directly study a supernatural force outside of a storybook (though Quantum Mechanics does fascinate me a lot). I used to go to church and begged for a sign. I simply grew up and lost my ability to believe in Santa Claus too, for example.

          If I am sent to hell for being a humanist – “emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism and empiricism) over acceptance of dogma or superstition.”

          While a murderer in northward can “convert” his ways as a by product of seeking less time / released early and be treated to eternal paradise, then the ‘god’ you follow is not just.

    • Hit or Miss says:

      This is a bad day for the Leadership of the Port Authority! First of all, the containers should not have been stacked 4 high near the bulkhead of the Port when it’s a known fact that the Port is susceptible to high wave action from any type of weather disturbance! Good judgement on the part of the supervisors on duty and the Deputy Director of Port Operations should be made to account for this negligent judgement. However, Speaking the Blaming game won’t deflect from the real problems the PA is currently experiencing. May things are happening at the Port that never ever happened until the changes were made in 2013 and 2017! This maladministered Authority will only get worse!
      Currently, the PA is working with a Board of Directors whose only roll play is to appease the government. To hell with the most important resource, the people!
      Do anyone really believe this Board of Dictators give a damn about the employees? And the employees know they are not appreciated so they will continue to do things to show up the administration. If the employees were treated with dignity the night workers on duty last night would have stayed back and removed the containers closer to the road fence and may have even trucked the containers back to the depot!
      More problems facing the PA, there’s no leadership from the top down! A tweety bird whispered the the PA will get an unproven civil servant as it’s Port Director very soon! Can you imagine! A leader coming from one of the CS poorest run departments to run a for profit organization with 160 employees! I wish this person luck, but they won’t be in that job very long should they have a mind of their own! On the other hand this person might fit right in with the Board’s narrative! Wishing this person good luck. Hopefully, employees will now get the representational leadership and coaching they so badly need!
      Good luck to the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands!

  29. Anonymous says:

    Government conspiracy !

    • Anonymous says:

      Say wha? Now “Anonymous 2:18” yah preachin’ ’bout a “Government conspiracy” theory! Aaay bwoy.

      An’ oh by de way bredren:
      If de Govment even HAS entered into a conspiracy to bring in dis kinda strong seas dem, unna betta nah try messin’ wid dat Powah de Govment mussa conspired wid! 🙂

      “Rundown” writers I hope unna hearin dis! “Anonymous 2:18” nah easeh.

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