News and information for the worldwide dredging industry

DREDGING ROUNDUP LATIN AMERICA -June 2014

BAHAMAS

A British court granted an injunction against a dredging project in Bimini, a small set of Caribbean islands near Florida. Resorts World Bimini, an entity of Grupo Genting of Malaysia, was dredging the coast of North Bimini to construct a new terminal for cruise ships as part of a larger resort project, according to the Associated Press. Jan de Nul had been dredging the coast since April using the cutter suction dredge Niccolo Machiavelli. However, local environmentalists had dubbed the Machiavelli “the Reef Destroyer” because they believe it was inflicting irreparable damage to the island’s pristine reefs. Environmental group Bimini Blue Coalition petitioned the courts to grant an emergency injunction against the dredging. The Court of Appeals in Nassau denied the injunction in May, but within a few days the Privy Council in Londonhad reversed that decision. The council ordered a stop to all dredging activities until the developers can demonstrate they have installed adequate environmental protections.

URUGUAY

A 157-meter (about 515-foot) dredge suffering from an oil leak in Montevideo was successfully repaired by a team of Hydrex divers and technicians, according to a press release by Hydrex. The team used the company’s flexible mobdeck to create a dry environment for the team to work underwater on the repairs, avoiding a costly and timeconsuming trip to a dry dock. According to the release, which did not name the dredge in question, oil was leaking from the stern tube seal assembly of the dredge. Hydrex’s dive team inspected the leak and found that the entire housing of the assembly was corroded and needed to be replaced. The team installed the mobdeck around the stern tube assembly, then removed and replaced the three damaged seals. They also were able to install a new spacer ring to create a new running area for the seals. There was almost no visibility in the water, which made the diving conditions more challenging than expected. Nonetheless, the repairs were successfully completed, and the dredge was able to leave Montevideo and travel to its next destination.

MEXICO

The noise from dredging activities in La Paz, Baja California could affect 33 marine mammal species that rely on nearby critical habitat, according to an environmental research organization based in Mexico. The Association for Research and Conservation of Marine Mammals and their Habitat (AICMMARH) said the noise from the dredging and construction of a new marina in La Paz could cause problems for animals that use the nearby San Lorenzo natural navigation channel off the coast, according to a report by Carlos Ibarra. The construction project, called Marina Azul La Paz, is part of a larger development planned that will include a new golf course and resort.

PERU

The Peruvian Marines have destroyed three dredges that were illegally dredging the Putumayo River in search of gold, according to the Peruvian press. The three ships were first intercepted by the Peruvian Coast Guard for illegally dredging the bottom of the river. To make matters worse, the illegal miners are believed to have released mercury into the river for gold extraction; mercury is toxic for plant, animal and human life. The dredges were removed from the illegal mining site, transported to a demolition ground and then destroyed. Public officials in the Loreto region of Peru, where the dredging took place, said there will be zero tolerance for illegal mining.

ECUADOR

The Guayas prefecture in Ecuador plans to fund a second stage of dredging of the river Guayas, which would remove some 3.5 million cubic meters (4.6 million cubic yards) of sediment, according to the Ecuadorian publication El Universo. The dredging project had been overseen by the National Secretary of Waterways (Senagua), but the prefecture has petitioned to take over the project. The first phase of the dredging project is underway and is expected to remove 290,000 cubic meters (380,000 cubic yards) of sediment around the small island of El Palmar. The second phase of the project would cost $70 million USD and would begin in December or January.

HONDURAS

In an attempt to resolve the longstanding flooding problems in the region, dredging has begun on the Chiquito and La Vega rivers. The dredging, taking place in the city of Comayagua, began in late May and was expected to take several days to complete. The preventive program was paid for by the municipality to lower the flooding risk to the 10 neighborhoods on the rivers’ shores. Another nearby river, the Humaya, was dredged several weeks earlier, according to Honduran publication El Heraldo.

EL SALVADOR

The Port Authority Commission (CEPA) is waiting for the approval of a $15 million expenditure that will pay for the dredging of the access channel to the port of La Unión, according to reports in La Prensa Gráfica and other Salvadorian press. Federal law requires the Port Authority to dredge the channel, but a lack of funding has prevented them from contracting out the work, according to Hugo Barrientos, president of the commission. At one time, the port had a depth of 14 meters (46 feet) but due to a lack of maintenance it is now much less than that. The new dredging would return it to at least 10 meters (33 feet). CEPA has already pre-approved four companies to bid on the project, but must wait for the funds are to be approved before putting the project out to bid. The four pre-approved companies are SAAM Puertos, S.A. of Chile, Group Maritime TCB of Spain, International Container Terminal Services Incorporated of the Philippines, and Bolloré Port and Logistics of France.

ARGENTINA

Environmentalists have launched a campaign on social networks to organize protests against the illegal dredging of the Angostura River, which links Nahuel Huapi and Moreno lakes. In May, park rangers in the area discovered that unknown people had modified the route and depth of the river to allow boats to pass through; previously the river was too shallow for most watercraft. The environmental groups say that about 130 meters (about 426.5 feet) of the river was dredged a meter deeper than its natural depth. The neighbors are discussing with park officials how to restore the river to its natural course and depth.

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