Heritage Wharf work during the Norwegian Breakaway's visit. *Photo by portbermudawebcam.com
Heritage Wharf work during the Norwegian Breakaway's visit. *Photo by portbermudawebcam.com

When the Norwegian Breakaway pulled into Heritage Wharf last week, the dock was not up to international standards.

A Bermudian pilot remained onboard in case heavy winds came up to help move the ship.

Public Works Trevor Moniz said more work was completed on the Wharf during the times the Norwegian Dawn and Breakaway were not docked.

He said in a press release at the time the Breakaway arrived: “The works to the southern breasting dolphin were complete bar the attachment of fenders and bollards and removal of the temporary support structures.

“The works to the northern breasting dolphin, as reported in our previous update, were not quite complete. 

“Even up to the last few days we were hoping to have completed the concrete pours, however heavy winds prevented us from placing the forms in a safe manner so it was decided that it would be sensible to complete these works in the coming week. 

“However, we are pleased to report that they have now been completed safely, the final pour having taken place overnight on Tuesday while the ships rotated their stay.”

He said the concrete used for this work is a high strength mix designed for durability in order to prevent corrosion. This has the added advantage that it reaches the strength required for use of the dock at an early stage, within seven days.  

Mr Moniz said: “The Ministry put in place contingency plans to prior to the vessel’s arrival to ensure that Norwegian Breakaway could dock — and these plans which were discussed previously with the owners of the vessel. 

“It should be stressed that the use of the existing dock for the Breakaway does not demonstrate that it is adequate and conforms to international standards.”

He said some of the factors in meeting international standards included wind direction and strength.

Commissioner’s Point in Dockyard often experiences the highest recorded wind speeds in Bermuda during strong winds.

A Government spokesperson said cruise ships can only use the existing dock in low wind speeds. These restrictions mean that the dock could not be used during the majority of the cruise ship season and so would not be acceptable as a viable facility. The wind speed and direction limits were discussed with the Captain of the Breakaway and a Bermudian pilot did remain on board in case of unexpected changes in the weather. There was no need to keep the engines running for the entire visit and there was never any fear of risk to the ship.  The conditions were simply monitored during the visit.

The Minister said: “With our primary goals achieved, work has now begun on the construction of the northern mooring dolphin which will upgrade the dock further and closer to its original design strength. A further southern mooring dolphin will be constructed most likely after the end of the cruise ship season to complete the works and bring the dock up to the full 45 knot wind strength required.”

Government reported crews have finished work on the breasting dolphins and have set the temporary work piles and the steel frame template for the northern mooring dolphin this week. 

Actual piling will commence next week. Government said this will be a “quiet operation” and will be restricted while the ships are in port.

A spokesperson added within the next few weeks the public will see the piling for this structure well underway.  Installation of fenders, bollards and safety equipment on both the existing dock and new dolphins will bring them into use and in line with standard guidelines.