Guyana’s Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) has been closely monitoring the dredging of the Demerara channel for the massive Port of Vreed-en-Hoop project amid concerns that the activity is disrupting the livelihood of local fishermen.
Media reports claimed that the silt and refuse brought up by the dredging was destroying nearby artisanal fish pens. But MARAD, on Tuesday stated that there are no “approved or charted fishing grounds” within the identified spoil dumping area.
“MARAD also reminds everyone with vested interests, that fishing is not permitted in the Demerara ships’ channel [where the dredging is currently ongoing],” the Agency pointed out further.
According to MARAD, the developer NRG Holdings Inc. was required to submit a Dredge Management Plan (DMP). That document, along with a conditional approval from MARAD play a key role in the Agency’s monitoring activities.
“MARAD wishes to clearly state that with the daily monitoring and site inspections of the dredging operations, a close watch is kept on the dumping of the spoils [mud] ensuring dump is only made in the designated areas which have been stipulated in the DMP and the conditional approval,” it noted.
And to date, MARAD said there have been no incidents of dumping outside of the stipulated area.
First phase dredging for the project entails the deepening and widening of the existing channel to 10 meters and widening to 100 meters bottom width. MARAD said the main ships’ channel is also being extended to about five miles beyond the existing pilot boarding ground area.
Thus far, eight vessels have been cleared to support NRG Holding’s dredging activities in the channel.
Those vessels include two trailing suction hopper dredgers named Pinta, De Bougainville; one cutter dredge named Zheng He; two multicats named DN 205 and Telesto; and three tugs named Yogi, DN87 and DN68.
The vessels are all owned by NRG Holdings’ Belgian joint venture partner, Jan De Nul, with the logistics handled on Guyana’s end by local firm, Western Logistics Guyana.