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Dredging Roundup – Latin America


About two years ago, Brazil’s Geology Service (CPRM) conducted deep-sea dredging on a long, seismic mountain range at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean about 900 miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. Now it has finally returned with the results: it has discovered the remains of a lost continent now dubbed “the Brazilian Atlantis.”  The rocks removed from the sea floor by the service’s dredge are granite samples that are believed to have once been part of a continent that sank into the ocean when Africa and South America drifted apart 100 million years ago. To bolster the hypothesis, a team of scientists from Brazil and Japan took a research submersible to the underwater mountain range to study the area.



The city of Aguas Corrientes is pushing for the dredging of the Rio Santa Lucia to help with navigability, pollution, algae-infestation and long-term stability of the drinking water source, reports the Uruguayan publication El Observador. The river once had an average depth of about five feet, but today the average is two feet, and in some areas it is a mere one foot. Leaders of Aguas Corrientes have lobbied to have some 3.2 million cubic yards removed from the river between Aguas Corrientes and the river’s mouth, where it empties into the Rio de la Plata. Some say this plan does not go far enough and more dredging is necessary to end the green algae infestation, remove toxins from the river that have accumulated there over decades from pollution, and ensure a long-term water source for Uruguayan capital Montevideo, El Observador reported.


Costa Rica

The International Court of Justice in The Hague has decided to hear two cases concerning the border dispute between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, several international media reported. The first case was filed by Costa Rica in 2010 after Nicaragua dredged the San Juan River, which creates the border between the countries. Costa Rica complained that Nicaragua did not have permission to dredge the river without Costa Rican consent. In 2011, Nicaragua filed a counter complaint that Costa Rica’s construction of a road along the river was sending pollutants and causing severe environmental damage to the river, requiring them it to dredge more to remove the pollutants. In late April, the court said it would join the two proceedings. A few days later, the court rejected some of Nicaragua’s counter claims and declined to put a halt to the road construction in Costa Rica, or strip Costa Rica of its claim to the jointly-held Bay of San Juan del Norte.


Virgin Islands

The Virgin Islands Port Authority has released a 135-page environmental impact study about their its plans to dredge Crown Bay, reports the Virgin Islands Daily News. The Port Authority has been pressured by the cruise industry to expand its entrance channel and turning basin deeper to accommodate larger ships. The environmental impact report suggested depositing dredged materials in an upland quarry site, which may avoid opposition that the Port Authority was confronted with when they it proposed depositing materials from another dredging site into an existing depression in the Lindbergh Bay. That plan was so unpopular that the governor intervened and declared the bay a protected habitat. The plan for Crown Bay would be to ship the dredged rock and sediment on barges to St. Croix’s Molasses Pier and then driven in water-tight trucks to the quarry, where it would dry out. The material would contain 54,000 cubic meters of solid rock, which could then be sold to private construction firms or used in public works projects. Dredging on the project would begin in May 2014, the Daily News reported.



Humber Work Boats has announced that it has sent its 1,000-ton self-propelled dredge Pat M to Venezuela to work on infrastructure projects in that country. The dredge previously worked in Europe and North Africa, including Spain, Portugal, Morocco, the Canary Islands and Algeria. It was transported to South America in November 2012 aboard the Hansa heavy lift vessel Valparaiso. Pat M will begin its South American career with the expansion of the container port of La Guaira, where it will work around the clock to dredge 785,000 cubic yards of material for a new quay facility and to clear way for a new ship turning basin. HMB managing director David Symon said the North Killinghome, England-based company decided to relocate Pat M to South America because “sizeable dredging contracts have largely dried up in Europe” since the recession began and that “opportunities in South America were difficult to ignore.” The company expects to bid on projects in other South American countries as well.



The Association of Equipment Manufacturs (AEM) has signed a letter of intent with the Chilean Chamber of Commerce to locate its CONEXPO Latin America  in Santiago, Chile in October 2015. An AEM release described Latin America as a “key world region for off-road equipment manufacturers doing business globally.” The agreement, which was encouraged by feedback from members who want more marketing opportunities in Latin America, extends the construction expo’s brand of manufacturer-run, top-quality expositions to the region. The show will bring together manufacturers, customers and industry organizations at a top-quality event that will feature the latest construction equipment, technologies and services available to the Latin America marketplace, AEM stated.



The dredging along the Culebra Cut section of the Panama Canal has been completed, announced the Panama Canal Authority (ACP). The Panama Canal is being expanded to make way for much larger ships. The dredging along the Culebra Cut proved complex, both because it had to stay out of the way of ongoing traffic, and because the section is the narrowest part of the navigation channel. The dredging works on this area began in March 2008 and was conducted by ACP-owned cutter suction dredge Mindi, dipper dredge Rialto M Christensen and cutter suction dredge Quibian I, and drill barges Thor and Baru. The ACP also contracted backhoe dredges II Principe from Belgian company Jan de Nul and Cornelius from Dutch company Royal Boskalis Westminster. Some 3.2 million cubic meters of dredged material were removed during the expansion of Culebra Cut. Dredging continues in Gatun Lake and both the Pacific and Atlantic entrances of the canal.

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