Get sand wedges ready

The largest barge ever to visit Cayman was in port last Thursday and Friday with tons of sand for the Island’s newest golf course – 9,250 short tons to be exact.

If the total of 18.5 million pounds of sand is not impressive, try these figures: the barge, Winbuild 303, is 300 feet long and 90 feet wide – the length of an American football field and over half its width. It took 320 truckloads to carry the sand to its destination, the Greg Norman-designed golf course at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, development.

Fully loaded, the Winbuild 303 can carry 9,500 tons. A more typical barge would carry 4,000 tons.

The Winbuild 303 was brought in by Island Aggregate Group Cayman Islands Ltd, owned by Mr. Sean Wood and his father, Mr. Merrill Wood.

Mr. Sean Wood, as managing director, was at the dock for most of the unloading process. He initially estimated that it would take 36 hours or more to offload the sand.

The first front-end loader crossed the ramp and entered the barge minutes to 5pm on Thursday and the last load came off the barge around 7pm Friday – just 26 hours.

At the start, the front-end loader needed just 30 seconds to cross the ramp, enter the barge, scoop up its load and reverse back onto the dock. After it dumped the sand into one of the waiting trucks, the process began again.

When sufficient sand had been removed from the barge, it was faster for the loader to stay on board, while the trucks drove across the ramp and circled inside the barge so they could come out front first.

Afterwards, Mr. Wood expressed confidence that a similar shipment could be dealt with in 18 to 20 hours. He explained that one of the front-end loaders had a mechanical problem that halted operations for about two hours.

Mr. Wood credited the skilled operators of the front-end loaders for the fast work, along with the fact that 20 trucks were available to transport the sand.

The Winbuild 303 was brought here from Jamaica in two days with a speed of around 6.5 knots. Although just one tug brought her, it took two tugs to guide her into the dock.

Before the sand could be offloaded, an officer from the Agricultural Department had to check it. In fact, Mr. Wood explained, Cayman’s Agricultural Department had to inspect the quarries from which he obtains the sand before he could get the necessary permits to import.

His company was responsible for covering the costs of inspections for nematodes, bacteria and e. coli, for example.

The sand has been crushed, sifted and washed with fresh water, he detailed. ‘It’s the best standard you can bring in – pure sand, no soil,’ he stated.

Mr. Wood looks forward to bringing the Winbuild 303 back again. Meanwhile there is a self-unloading aggregate ship that he is equally excited about. That vessel was due to make another trip to Cayman Sunday.