Information has come to light that Blue Ocean, the company contracted to dredge the St. John’s Harbour, has been dumping the waste material right back in the sea, near the right side of the channel or shipping lane.
This was revealed by REAL News Correspondent George Wehner, who visited two areas on Tuesday, October 18 – Keeling Point and Pillar Rock – to get a first-hand look at the operation.
After four years of dredging by Blue Ocean, Wehner says, the Oasis Class vessels – the largest cruise ships – are still unable to dock at any of the five piers, owing to high-density rocks in the way.
Wehner is speculating that – in the rush to declare the project completed ahead of the imminent general elections – the Government has resorted to dumping the dredged material adjacent to the shipping lane.
However, he notes that, with a shift of ocean currents or the passage of an Atlantic storm, there is a likelihood that this material will resettle into the same channel.
Wehner says he is concerned that the people are not getting value for money with this dredging company, despite the Browne Administration having spent millions of tax dollars on the project, with more to go.
Accordingly, he is asking whether this is yet another instance in which the Labour Party Government, through NAMCO, is just “burning money.”
Further, Wehner says this is the second violation in three years, in this jurisdiction, involving Blue Ocean. He recalls that, in October 2019, the company was caught red-handed in an illegal sand-mining operation off Maiden Island.
According to him, at that time, Blue Ocean was neither registered nor licensed to operate in this country’s territorial waters, and he alleges that the “same violation obtains today.”
Historically, in larger countries, dredged material ends up in confined disposal facilities: These are large, enclosed areas either on land or in water that prevent the sediment from returning to the environment.
However, another option is to dump uncontaminated sediment deep offshore in the open water.