Hurricane Caused Dockyard Pier Damage

September 23, 2011

The Ministry of Public Works released a statement on a report into damage at Heritage Wharf Pier in Dockyard.

The Ministry said they secured the services of an “independent, third party marine engineering company” whose initial findings said damage to the thruster wall is from Hurricane Igor last year, and the damaged wall poses no danger to vessels and is not expected to have any negative impact on the remainder of the 2011 or 2012 cruise season.

“A solution is under development that is intended to resolve the issue as a matter of priority.While the Ministry works to ascertain potential liabilities as well as the extent of repairs required and associated costs, it would be irresponsible to make any public statements concerning these aspects of the report,” said the Ministry.

Shadow Minister for Tourism and Transport Pat Gordon-Pamplin replied to the report saying, “The report released today hardly satisfies the basic information that ought to be given to the public, let alone the Government’s specific promise to do so. An exercise to inform the public becomes an exercise to the suppression of information.”

“It must be remembered that Heritage Wharf, originally planned for $35M, came in at almost twice the price, and was defended by the Government as being the result of excellent work by the ‘expert’ contractor, Correia Construction. Less than 2 years after its completion, the dock is falling apart, as implied in the Government’s one-page statement.”

“If one hurricane undermined the soundness of the structure, how can the Government be sure that the next blow will not totally dislodge the structure?” asked Ms Pamplin-Gordon.

The full statement from the Ministry of Public Works follows below:

The Ministry of Public Works today reported on the initial findings contained in an engineering report investigating the cause of damage to the Heritage Wharf Pier in Dockyard including the design and construction.

As announced in July, 2011, the Ministry of Public Works, working in conjunction with the Ministry of Transport, secured the services of an independent, third party marine engineering company whose employees are professionally qualified to undertake such inspections.

These specialists examined the structure of the pier and thruster wall along with studying the design specifications.

The report has been completed and delivered to the Ministry of Public Works.

Initial findings include:

  • The damage to the thruster wall is believed to be associated with the wave action during hurricane Igor in September, 2010.
  • The damaged thruster wall poses no danger to vessels using the Wharf.
  • The damage to the thruster wall is not expected to deteriorate under normal usage.
  • The damage is not expected to have any negative impact on the remainder of the 2011 cruise season, or the 2012 season.

A solution is under development that is intended to resolve the issue as a matter of priority.While the Ministry works to ascertain potential liabilities as well as the extent of repairs required and associated costs, it would be irresponsible to make any public statements concerning these aspects of the report.

Pat Gordon-Pamplin’s full statement follows below:

In July 2011, the Minister of Works & Engineering, in response to public pressure, advised the House of Assembly that engineers had been engaged to examine the damage to Heritage Wharf, and that we would be informed about the extent of the damage, the cost of remediation and whether there was a bond from the builders covering any faulty workmanship.

The report released today hardly satisfies the basic information that ought to be given to the public, let alone the Government’s specific promise to do so. An exercise to inform the public becomes an exercise to the suppression of information.

It must be remembered that Heritage Wharf, originally planned for $35M, came in at almost twice the price, and was defended by the Government as being the result of excellent work by the ‘expert’ contractor, Correia Construction.
Less than 2 years after its completion, the dock is falling apart, as implied in the Government’s one-page statement.

Questions abound.

If one hurricane undermined the soundness of the structure, how can the Government be sure that the next blow will not totally dislodge the structure?

What is the extent to which the piles were sufficiently and appropriately driven to ensure that they will remain stable? It must be remembered that the expertise of the contractor appears to have been gained during the construction of this project. There is no evidence of prior wharfs being built by the contractor that would alleviate public concerns as to the stability of the wharf.

We can understand the Government not wanting to release the costs relating to remediation. They are likely to be severe and reflect badly on its management of the project. But this is a public project, involving public money and the public has a right to know what they are on the hook for.

The Government must have estimates. If the initial reports determined the extent of the damage, certainly they would have considered the costs to putting it right. The Government is putting protection of its own skin ahead of the public’s right to know.

The government needs to tell the people: Was money withheld from the contractor as a guarantee for the project? How much has been withheld? What are initial estimates of the cost of remediation? How can the government be sure the next hurricane will not see the dock floating off into the Great Sound?

The Minister should release the entire report and allow the people of Bermuda to determine how well their $68M was spent, what the likely further liability to the public purse is and what refund is available for offset to such expenditure.

The public is smart. Don’t treat them like mushrooms.

Update: We attempted to obtain a copy of the full report, however it does not seem to be available to the public.

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Articles that link to this one:

  1. Minister: Heritage Wharf Repairs Begin Next Week | Bernews.com | April 12, 2012
  1. Just to be sure I understand says:

    So Igor is responsible? Fascinating that someone signed off on a design that couldn’t stand up to a relatively mild storm. And someone built it (and charged us through the nose as well).

    But, this doesn’t look like storm damage

    http://i55.tinypic.com/xp526f.jpg

    it looks like something that was never designed to stand up to Bermuda’s climate in the first place.

    • Black Soil says:

      The hurricane was the PLP!!! And this hurricane continues to do damage. The airport bridge is about to collapse…wonder what storm they’ll blame on that.

    • Just Curious says:

      we should start a people slogan for this government!

      “Please make us understand, We the People”

      there is so much that does not adds up about this government!

      • navin Johnson says:

        “We the Sheeple do solemly swear to blindly follow and blame the UBP/BDA/OBA for all of our governments transgressions now and forever amen”

        • Truth (Original) says:

          Navin, with respect this matter, is it not the PLP who should be accountable?

    • MinorMatters says:

      Thanks for the photo. I am struck by the amount of rust on the metal. Am I being made to understand that the state of this pier would look like this directly after the passage of a storm?

      “Mr. Jones”, may I please have another cup of the Grape flavoured Kool-Aid?

    • Soooo says:

      And the dock next to it that is 100′s of years old was just fine….. Either the designer or the builder should pay for the repairs!!!!

      • PEPPER says:

        Soooo,those who made a load of money on this pier should pay…not us again.

  2. 32n64w says:

    “While the Ministry works to ascertain potential liabilities as well as the extent of repairs required and associated costs, it would be irresponsible to make any public statements concerning these aspects of the report.”

    So why not post the report online so taxpayers can see what they’ve paid for to date? Why continue to keep information from those who’ve been funding the exercise? What more does the PLP Government have to hide?

    PLP – Creating/obfuscating more problems with progressively less transparency/accountability … since 1998

  3. wondering says:

    obviously the extra $30,000,000 wasn’r spent in the quality of construction. quality assurance is out the window

  4. JD says:

    So a $68m pier that was just over one year old, built squarely to the east of Ireland Island, was damaged by the wave action of a Category 1 hurricane which passed 45 miles to the west of the island at its closest point.

    Yes definitely no room for the suggestion of shoddy construction anywhere in that analysis. I feel much better about that $1,200 that I contributed to that pier and I hope every other Bermudian taxpayer feels the same. I didn’t really need that money anyway because this government has been so good to me.

  5. MinorMatters says:

    You have got to be KIDDING? The damage was assessed in period of calm weather. No hurricane was even remotely in the area. Is the PLP seriously expecting me to believe this crap? Unbelievable! (SMFH)

  6. GPS says:

    MY MAILBOX WAS DAMAGED DURING THE LAST TROPICAL STORM,THANK GOD FOR MY NEIGHBOR WHO MANAGED TO GRAB MY MAIL AS IT WAS FLYING AROUND THE YARD!

    GOSH BERMUDA…IT’S NOT PLP’S FAULT FOR MOTHER NATURE, DOCKYARD RECEIVES HIGHER WINDS BECAUSE IT’S OPEN….DUH

    ANYTHING FOR THE OBA/UBP MEMBERS TO COMPLAIN ABOUT…ADVICE, GO REPAINT ALL YOUR PICKET FENCES CAUSE THEY ARE DIRTY!!

    • JD says:

      “Dockyard receives higher winds because it’s open”

      Thanks professor.

      Putting your insightful meteorological analysis aside for a moment, some of us are just a bit concerned that the pier we all paid for was not able to handle a category 1 hurricane, which was not even a direct hit to the island.

      Do you even care how government spends your money?

    • pondering says:

      Wow, denial is not just a river in Egypt..

    • Waiting Patiently says:

      YEAH PEOPLE!!! THESE HURRICANE THINGS HAVE ONLY BEEN AROUND FOR 5 YEARS!!!!!THE UBP NEVER HAD TO DEAL WTIH THESE……ANY WAY HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW THEY DAMAGE THINGS THAT ARE BIGGER THAN MAILBOXs???? ITS LIKE… COME ON…NOBODY DOES RESEARCH ON HURRICANES..HOW WERE WE SUPPOSED TO KNOW>>!!!!!>!>!!

      .. /s

  7. Hmmmmm says:

    When the cruise lines stop berthing their $100m ships there then I’ll be worried. Until then this is another example of looking for what ain’t there. By the way, how do you have a Shadow Minister of anything when you don’t have an Opposition Leader ? Just asking.

    • Rockfish#1 says:

      @ Hmmmmm,
      Come on! Stick to the issue. You don’t usually resort to using smoke screens!

    • Rick Rock says:

      So, “Hmm”, because the cruise ships are still berthing there, there is actually nothing wrong with it…is that what you’re trying to suggest? Because that is not what the government funded report says. It says we’re ok for 2011 and 2012. That’s it. Then it has to be repaired.

      And, according to the government, the engineer was miraculously able to pinpoint the exact date of the damage. Somehow, he knew that it was a particular storm. Not gradual damage, not a winter storm, not a collection of winter storms, but somehow it was pinpointed to a cat 1 hurricane that did not hit the island.

      But we’re not allowed to see the report and read to for ourselves. Wonder why? It’s because the government is “interpreting” the report to mean this. They’re plain lying about it. The engineer would not be so idiotic as to guess what exact storm did the damage. That’s not what engineers do. If we could see the actual report it would say a storm may have caused the damage, and it could had been Igor, but I think they are plain lying about the conclusion that “Igor did it.”

      They’re “deceiving us because they have to” again.

  8. Sara says:

    It is HILARIOUS to me that people can defend a one year old $68 million dollar taxpayer funded project that can’t stand up to a cat I hurricane without damage. What happens if we get a cat III hurricane? Is it just oh well the winds are high out there? The audacity of people to defend something like this is truly appalling. Are people really this stupid? No, no they can’t be.

    • PEPPER says:

      I agree with you Sara…..how come Dennis Correia has not been challenged ?

  9. Ray Charlton says:

    What a load of rubbish! You DON’T even need to be an engineer to SEE that the Thruster walls were not well designed, constructed and installed. We reportedly paid $4million for thruster walls that did not even survivce ONE YEAR (they were only completed in 2010)
    Trying to SPIN this so as to divert attention away from Goverment shows me that it is BUSINESS AS USUAL and we, the people of Bermuda will be the ones that pay, while some, got rich off of this project!
    We may not have even known that there was damage as the Government were trying to keep this quiet. (Until I sent pictures to the Royal Gazette)
    It is TIME FOR CHANGE!!!

    • PEPPER says:

      Ray ,you are a real trooper…We need more people like you to put the pressure on this so called government….I hope you will run as a candidate for the O.B.A.

  10. 32n64w says:

    What did the original RFP indicate were the structural and environmental requirements of the pier … oh sorry … I almost forgot this was a no-bid contract given to a party insider/contributor who had “exclusive” experience with marine construction and therefore no other firm in Bermuda could possibly be responsible for such an undertaking.

    The PLP Government are a joke but unfortunately we are the ones suffering from their repeated mistakes. When will the electorate finally say enough is enough and boot them to the curb.

  11. 1minute says:

    Igor wasn’t that bad of a hurricane, compared with Fabian or Emily. So why wasn’t it designed to withstand a major hurricane?

  12. Kim Smith says:

    Of course it did… but clearly it was flawed workmanship. Oh for the day that people stop making excuses so they can feel justified.

  13. Clinton J. A. Paynter OBA Affiliated says:

    Honestly you don’t need a degree in engineering etc. to know that the “thruster wall” was not of sound construction. The question that is raised in my mind is this… what other corners were cut? Could there be fatal flaws? We were grossly overcharged for an obviously inferior product. The fact the reports aren’t released to the people leaves me with a bad taste. Transparency? To them just another catch phrase. In my eyes the trust in this Government is zero.

  14. Triangle Drifter says:

    There are a bunch of us who are not as dumb as the average kool aid drinker. Puleeese….it can stand up to the thousands of pounds of water thrust from a ships bow thruster, but not waves from an itty bitty storm!

    Nope…not buying that one.

  15. Down 'n' Dirty says:

    That little pier was built by a world reknown contractor , who btw would have beat out any other contractor , If , the project was put to tender … So there , it couldn’t have been built any better . BLAME BROWN and Burch for dat dea .

  16. Terry says:

    The irony of all this bull I have read here is the fact is the “Peers” are to blame. End of story.