The equipment required to complete the dredging and widening of the St. John’s Harbour is expected to arrive here shortly from Panama, according to this week’s report from the Cabinet.
Once it is on island, it will complete its work in a few weeks, the Executive claims.
The tool utilized by the contractor, Blue Ocean Dredging, has repeatedly been damaged due to the toughness and density of the rocks in the harbour, the Cabinet says, making it necessary to bring in special equipment to dislodge them.
Enlarging the channel is necessary to accommodate the largest cruise vessels, the OASIS Class ships.
Reportedly, the Executive held telephone discussions with the Solicitor General, via phone, and was updated on the legal arrangements required to complete the dredging exercise.
Meanwhile, Harold Lovell, Political Leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP), is asking whether any exploratory work was undertaken before the dredging began.
This is what most reputable companies would have done, he says, to determine what they have to work with and to put mitigating measures in place to avoid delays, which can cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
Lovell says the dredging and the prolonged delay of the harbour expansion are costing the Government a significant amount of money – particularly since these larger ships were expected to bring more visitors and stimulate spending in the economy.
Franz deFreitas, the UPP Candidate for St. John’s City South, is also commenting on the amount of money wasted during this project.
Further, he is asking who owns the equipment engaged in the dredging exercise and whether that machinery is authorized to do that kind of work.
Several weeks ago, the Cabinet reported that damage to Blue Ocean’s equipment would mean an additional cost to the taxpayers.