How Could This Hub In Goat Island Work?

Vernam Field is located about 4 miles from the proposed port.
I am annoyed to see Dr Omar Davies declaring that
“one of the things I would love is some proposal, in addition to Mr
Warmington’s…”
Is he really bankrupt of ideas? Even with a PhD in
some kind of geography? The PNP and JLP both seem to be eager to dig up Goat
Islands at the behest of the Chinese.
If the question is asked, what’s desirable in creating a port? Slow or
no currents, good approaches and exits to deep water, flat ground for
the port beside the sea, rail access over relatively flat ground to
population centres for workers, airport facilities or potential for
such, and seismically inactivity?
A couple hours examination looking at a Shell road map of Jamaica, a
mariner’s depth charts (“Jamaica including Pedro Bank” Defence Mapping
Agency (DMA) 26120, stock no 26AC026120) and Google Earth shows
potential sites for a port. Macarry Bay to the west of Alley, and
Carlisle Bay between Rio Minho and the community of Rocky Point.
The proposed location of the new port.
Sea currents? Robertson Shoal and the piece of Jamaica poking out into
the sea, Rocky Point, already slows the westward currents. If more
protection is needed, an artificial extension of the shoals to the
southwest might do the job.

Good approach and exit? Say dredged to the Nicamax/Chinamax depth of 90
ft (15 fathoms or 27.4m)? A channel wide enough to accommodate two-way
traffic from the 15 fathom contour from the south, through what looks
like a channel to the southwest of Alley, evidenced by landward
protrusions of the 10 fathom and 6 fathom contours, would reduce the
amount of dredging and sea bottom disturbance. By the way, if the
dredged material is of good quality, it could be used to reclaim some of
the coastal water to enlarge the proposed port, reducing the land
requirement, and avoiding the environmental problem of disposing of the
dredged material at sea. Information about the Kingston Harbour
experience with the effects of dumping dredged material at sea can
easily be had from the fishermen of Port Royal, Greenwich Farm and other
fishing beaches.

The approach to Goat Islands would seem to be longer from the 15 fathom
contour, west of Bare Bush Cay, west of Pigeon Island, bending right to
Goat Islands, dredging all the way.
Flat ground for the port? Google Earth shows a large enough unpopulated
area to the west of Alley and a smaller area between the Rio Minho River
and the community of Rocky Point.
Rail access? There’s a spur to Port Esquivel already, which could be
extended, on the flat, to the south of the Brazilletto Mountains,
parallel the B12 road, south of Lionel Town to the coast and the
proposed port.
Potential airport access? The old Vernam Field is just around the
corner. Closer than to Goat Islands. That’s a hop, skip and jump away
from Macarry Bay. Goat Islands are over 20 miles away from the proposed
port at Macarry Bay and further from the Norman Manley International
Airport.

Seismically inactive? I’m not sure, after all I’m just a mechanical
engineer. However, the map showing the faulting of Jamaica, “Geology
Jamaica”, geological data prepared by Mines and Geology Division,
Ministry of Mining and Natural Resources. Originally compiled by N
McFarlane (1977), edited and corrected by S Brookes (1984), A J Geddes,
director of Geological Survey Division, doesn’t show much except that
it’s on alluvium. I might guess perhaps deep underneath there could be
faulting. A Goat Islands facility would be partially on reef/white
limestone and partially on alluvium.

You’d love some other proposal Dr Davies? Well, here’s one that only
took me a few hours of thought. You go flesh it out with your experts.
Damage to the environment? Some is likely to be unavoidable.
Environmental Impact? Young fish swimming across the deep ship channel
where they would be susceptible to predation, ship noise, run-off in an
area where a few rivers enter the sea, etc. At least it’s not in an
environmentally protected zone.
This plan is vastly superior to the Goat Island port proposal, and I
think that the government would be ridiculous to dig up the Goat
Islands.

 

Howard Chin
PE is a registered professional engineer and member of the Jamaica Institution of Engineers.
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