Carnivals Foothold on Roatan
Island’s Biggest Dredging Project Ever Turns Dixon Cove into the Archipelago’s Biggest Commercial Harbour

March 1st, 2009
by Thomas Tomczyk

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A barge heads out from Carnival's two dock cruise ship terminal scheduled to open in fall of 2009.

A barge heads out from Carnival's two dock cruise ship terminal scheduled to open in fall of 2009.

With Royal Caribbean inaugurating its cruise ship dock in January, Carnival isn’t far behind and plans to open its two-berth cruise ship facility in November. The biggest ever dredging operation in Roatan is underway at Dixon Cove, now the island’s biggest commercial harbor. The dredging to a depth of 10.3 meters is planned to allow the harbor to accommodate Carnival’s ‘mega class’, its biggest ships.

Dredging work has progressed 24/7 since beginning on December 9 of last year. In these 80 days of work, the Great Lakes Company has been contracted to remove 400,000 cubic meters of mostly alluvial material in a 16 acre area. Another company will now armor the slopes, stabilizing the dredged area against sliding soil.

Two 6,000 cubic meter scull barges and three buckets manned by 18 people have taken part in the operation. A turbidity curtain was used to prevent silt disturbed during the process from leaking out of the dredged area.

A one kilometer square area about two-and-a-half miles offshore was used to dump the spoils. An area was divided into a grid to more evenly distribute the spoils. sKarl Stanley’s deepwater submarine was hired to scout a site where the sledge is dropped. It located a site 1,600 feet deep with apparently little life.

The Mahogany Bay Cruise Ship terminal project has been given coveted “project of national interest” status, as it should generate jobs and revenue across the entire country. According to BICA President Irma Brady, Ministry of the Environment (SERNA) holds a significant financial bond as guarantee against any environmental damage, the first such bond in SERNA’s history.

According to Rick Elizondo, contract manager for Great Lakes, SERNA made several site visits to assure that dredging was in accordance with permits. “I think they’ve done a great job trying to protect the natural resources here,” said Elizondo, who has experience dredging in restricted Florida costal areas, as well as the Persian Gulf. [/private]

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