Minister of Tourism Charles Fernandez is pleased with the progress being made in preparation for the arrival of Oasis Class Vessels into the port of St. John’s.
The Minister alongside Permanent Secretary Mr. Walter Christopher, Executive Director of the St. John’s Development Corporation Mr. Craig Christopher and members of the media were taken on a tour along the coast of the Deep Water Harbour to view first-hand the dredging and construction work that is currently being undertaken by Blue Ocean Marine and Meridian.
Currently, piles are being driven to accommodate the construction of the pier by Meridian, while Blue Ocean Marine is engaged in the dredging of the Harbour.
“We are trying to get to 11.5 meters which is 37 ft, and at the moment we are roughly down to 25 ft, so we just have to do another sweep to take it down to 37,” reported Mr. Conley Browne, General Manager of Blue Ocean Marine LTD.
According to Browne the entire dredging process will be completed in another 3-4 months with the fifth berth set to be constructed and handed over to the government in time for the 2020 winter tourist season.
Minister Fernandez expressed optimal satisfaction with the pace and quality of work witnessed thus far and he is even more elated that provisions are being made to relocate the fishermen and operations of the Montserrat Ferry.
“The waste material which was previously to dumped at sea is now going to be used to build another couple acres of reclaimed land to relocate the Montserrat Ferry Dock and the fishermen”, said Minister Fernandez.
He continued that, “if we left the Montserrat Ferry Dock and the fishing boats where they are now, the back wash from the big ships will destroy them so provisions had to be made for them.”
The Tourism Minister sights the project as very essential to the overall success of the cruise industry as the ability to facilitate Oasis Class vessels would translate into more passengers, which would boost the amount of Head Tax being collected by the government and increase tourism business generally for all stakeholders.
Oasis Class vessels have a passenger capacity of over fifty four hundred (5,400).
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