We’re being sold a low-budget Thames barrier

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  • St George's Harbour (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    St George's Harbour (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Dear Sir,

Large storm swells and large cruise ships face the same physical restrictions in transiting through St George’s Town Cut.

It follows that the questionable benefit of allowing larger cruise ships to enter St George’s Harbour by widening and/or deepening and/or straightening the approach into St George’s Harbour will be offset by increased vulnerability to storm damage.

Only now in 2017 is the serious and costly damage caused to a critical dock face in St George’s by Hurricane Fabian in 2003 being repaired. Yet, curiously, politicians and business people, pointing to the progress with repairs, continue to argue for “modifying” the Cut to allow larger ships — and waves — into St George’s Harbour.

This is as if to say: “We are now ready and waiting with our repaired dock for an even larger hit.”

For sure, it is good news for the consultants who could be employed to conduct yet another round of costly studies.

In the “large print” of the consultant’s report will be the statement that under normal circumstances — meaning in the absence of another Fabian — there will be no risk of wave damage to St George’s property caused by the proposed “modifications”.

Relegated to the “small print” will be a statement about the inevitable increase in risk posed by a major storm. What we will be sold is a low-budget, half-baked version of the Thames Barrier.

Instead of relying on sound innovative engineering to allow large ships in and keep storm waters out, the Bermuda version will rely on dredgers, misrepresentation and luck.


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Published Mar 3, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Mar 3, 2017 at 1:58 pm)

We’re being sold a low-budget Thames barrier

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