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Premier admits dock was not completed

Premier Craig Cannonier has acknowledged that Heritage Wharf modifications were not completed on time to accommodate the Norwegian

Breakaway.

The ship was tied to the old dock when it arrived here on Wednesday and,

The Royal Gazette understands, the engines kept running as part of a Government contingency plan.

The Premier’s admission came after Shadow Public Works Minister Derrick Burgess accused his counterpart, Trevor Moniz, of misleading the people of Bermuda when he claimed earlier this week that the dock had been completed.

Asked if he was aware that the

Breakaway was tied to the old dock, the Premier said: “Yes, the ongoing process of preparing for these ships has to happen now. I recognise that it is tied up to much of what was already there. I think we are all aware of that. But that doesn’t stop the fact that work still has to go on to prepare for this thing. I am grateful that the winds weren’t up as high as we anticipated. That is a good thing. I don’t want to be living though by the skin of my chin per se with this particular issue so we’ve got to get this dock prepared for holding such a sized ship.”

It was put to him that the media and the public had been told that Heritage Wharf would be ready for May 15, and given the impression by Minister Moniz that the goal had been met.

“Again, we’ve said that we’ve been working feverishly. The guys up there have been working as fast as they can. They’ve been working overnight so we’ve got to commend them for the work that they have done.

“These things don’t always come in on time. You know that there are elements beyond our control like weather and the like, but we will continue to work overtime to get it done.”

Asked what would have happened if the weather had been especially inclement when the ship came in, the Premier said: “It’s a call that has to be made. Whether or not it docks outside the main dock or is anchored offshore and we ferry people in … but thankfully we didn’t have to.”

Asked whether the risk had been acceptable, the Premier responded: “Yes. I think that proves itself. It’s safe. It’s now leaving the waters of Bermuda.

“The experts will continue to take their advice as to the legitimacy of whether or not it’s a risk and we have to make that call as a government. We’re not afraid to make a call. And we made a call that it was safe enough for the ship to tie up and we’ve seen the success of that.”

He said: “The biggest thing to come from that is the fact that we had a maiden voyage from New York to Bermuda. It is a historic time for us, this size of ship, and it’s a dedicated ship to Bermuda with 4,000 passengers and 2,000 crew.

We had about 8,000 people there — with

Celebrity there and with NCL, the taxis, Wedco, the bus, everything went without a hitch. So it’s a success story. The people working together.”

Yesterday, Public Works Minister Trevor Moniz informed the House Speaker that his update to Parliament would be postponed until the next sitting on May 31.

He had earlier informed his Shadow counterpart Derrick Burgess that the reason for the postponement was that his Permanent Secretary was off sick.

Mr Burgess said: “The Minister told the world and Bermuda that it was complete. Well it’s nowhere near complete.”

He explained that while some construction of the mooring structures may have been completed, they could not be used because up to 28 days is needed for curing.

“There’s three more dolphins that have to be poured. So this work will be going for another few months before it’s complete.”

Mr Burgess added: “If what they reported in the papers this year that the dock is unsafe for the present size ships, why would they tie it to the old dock? It makes no sense.”

He noted that the Public Works Minister had indicated in his last update that the berthing dolphins were not critical.

“Well it is critical. You have to tie up to that. If it’s not critical, why build it? All of it is critical.

“The Minister has misled Bermuda and the world. It is not complete and it will not be complete for some months now before you can fully use that dock.”

But Mr Burgess also acknowledged that the work should have started while his party was in Government.

“And yes it should have started in November. We were the Government so I’m not here basking in delight that it’s not finished. I want it to be finished because the revenue affects us all.”

On Thursday,

The Gazette asked the Minister, through Government’s Department of Communication and Information, whether he was aware that the ship has been tied to the old dock.

“The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Public Works is out of office today, but the Ministry will respond in due course,” was the response.

A day earlier at Heritage Wharf to welcome the mega ship, Mr Moniz praised the efforts of all involved for “unstinting and unyielding commitment”.

He said: “The public can now rest assured that the team here has risen to the occasion to facilitate all the work critical to complete this major project.”

The Norwegian Breakaway alongside the Celebrity Summit at

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Published May 18, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 18, 2013 at 12:59 am)

Premier admits dock was not completed

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