Berthing facility positioning

Captains chime in on proposal

An article that appeared recently in the Caymanian Compass touched off a firestorm of discussion regarding a berthing facility being proposed in South Sound and whether several captains who support such an undertaking also support the Emerald Sound Development. 

Captain Paul Hurlstone said he does support the Emerald Sound Development on the land side, but not the coastal works, which call for a canal to be dredged across the road and are still pending approval. He said this had nothing to do with his support for the port being built in South Sound. 

“That is where the port facility should be,” Captain Hurlstone said. “That is what I have been saying from 2004, when we made a proposal to the government at the time. That plan has been there for seven years and no one came along to support it but now they are picking it up when this Emerald Sound development is on the way, that concerns me about their motives for supporting the port. Never the less that is the place for it.” 

Captain Brian Ebanks said he did not have enough information about the Emerald Sound development to make a comment on it for good or bad, as that was not his cause. He said for him, it is about making a case to have a berthing facility built in South Sound, in order for the tourism market to be able to compete in the region and to maximise the number of days ships could visit Grand Cayman. Captain Brian said there needs to be a highway running from the port to the Linford Pierson Highway, along the shortest line to that point. “Whether that will end up passing through Emerald Sound land, I don’t know and that is not the concern for me,” he said. “What I am interested in and hope to see is a highway that leads on to Linford Pierson Highway from the berthing facility in order that all parts of Grand Cayman have an equal opportunity to attract those people. That would assist in making a go East initiative feasible.” 

Captain Brian said one more reason he was against a berthing facility being built in George Town was the infrastructure there would have to change drastically to support 15,000 tourists walking around. 

“We need access to a safe harbour, Jamaica has two or three, Honduras is ahead of us and Cuba is about to open up. We have got to get this right. We cannot afford to spend this kind of money in the wrong place. No building boom is coming again unless there is another serious hurricane. We are in the business of tourism and we have a permanent interest in that regard,” Captain Brian said. The plans for the berthing facility being proposed in South Sound call for a channel to be cut in the reef to allow cruise ships and mega yachts to come in to what Caymanians call “Red Bay” – (for the red pigment that bleeds off the mangroves in that area periodically). One thousand feet off shore at all points around and roughly 360 degrees, the facility would then be dredged to 40 feet in its middle. The outer perimeter would remain in 6 feet of water all around, allowing for buses to traverse the facility, alleviating any concern about over congestion of George Town. An artificial beach might also be built on the side of the port facing land, as there would be 6 feet of water for 1,000 feet between the facility and shore. Additionally, the fill that could be collected from the dredging could raise some $200 million, while bringing down the cost of building as a result of directly impacting Cayman’s aggregate shortage. Captain Brian said it was important for people to not lose sight of the benefits of such a project being built in South Sound, as successive captains have endorsed this as being the best place for a berthing facility to be built. 

“Businessmen will do as they please in their efforts but that does not change the fact that the berthing facility needs to go in South Sound. We need to do that for ourselves,” Captain Brian said. 

Cayman Port plans

A plan of the port being proposed. – PHOTO: SUBMITTED


  1. So where will the cargo cranes, forklifts, containers, truck parking, employee parking, taxi parking, bus parking, customs building, immigration building, covered area for staging cruisers, offices, toilets etc. be?

  2. Am I missing something? The purpose of a dock is to allow cruise ship passengers to dismbark rather than have to use tenders, but if they need to then get on a bus to get anywhere what’s they point?
    Surely the dock needs to be next to something you can walk to, no?

  3. I’m glad the Captains are now gaining traction with their proposal. May common sense prevail and the sensible solution of Red Bay happen, so the tax payers don’t have to pay in years to come.

  4. Another crazy idea to go along with Emerald Sound Development! Yes, lets go and spoil yet another area of beauty. Expats are lucky as they at least can leave and go elswhere, whereas our Caymanian children will be stuck living in an ugle concrete jungle. Why do I not believe these captains are not in Connolly’s pocket?!!! Lets listen to Cousteau who really does know what he is talking about!!

  5. who cares if those people who own million dollar homes in SS have their views changed from a pristine ocean to a concrete slabs with rusty crains, polluting ships and noisy tourists.

    The tourists are going to save Cayman… it has far worse problems.

  6. Why on earth would you put something like that in a residential neighborhood? There are so many less populated places.
    Imagine the traffic and congestion it would cause not to mention the beauty it would destroy along that stretch of the island.
    That would just look absolutely terrible along the water there.

  7. I still believe south sound is the best place for the cruise ship berthing docks. Do people from south sound not go through south church street? Do they not see the residential areas right next to the Ugland buildings? The docks don’t need someplace where people can just walk off and reach town. What about the transportation industry? Don’t they deserve to get cruise line business? What else would you do with a bus beside to take people someplace my god . Are you people that mean?
    We bus drivers and taxi operators and boat operators need to generate business so that we can pay the banks , water , elect., westar,If the docks are a little further away Then we have more money, simple.
    Cranes, forklifts etc. can go across the street.
    Better yet if we make the linford pierson highway 4lanes we could close the road so that no one can go through south sound from red bay.
    God wouldn’t that beautiful You could put wooden and metal chairs so that old people could sit down and just look at the sea. Even if you weren’t from south sound. You could park on Rene’s property and just go for a walk down south sound and all the residences would put up side walks so people would know where to walk. Maybe a nice coffee shop in red bay just across the street from the sea. Maybe Rene could build that coffee shop and people in south sound could get an area that they could jog or walk . Maybe something in a park type atmosphere.

  8. This location is absolute nonsense. You had some people up in arms about making a little dredge for residential boats. I agree that SS can sustain minimal dredging for residential use and residential development. But this is totally incomprehensible. SS has no commercial infrastructure, roads or access to major transportation to support cruise ships. The dredging required would also have to be extreme. SS is all shallow water, its a small sound and and a small environmental zone which cannot sustain a major dredging area such as this. I don’t get it they opposed a dredge in the north sounds 10 times bigger than south sound and they propose a major dredging initiative here? I don’t get it

  9. Captain Brian was absolutely right when he said: No building boom is coming again unless there is another serious hurricane. We are in the business of tourism…
    However, the tourists must be walking distance to the downtown district, which means the ONLY place to put cruise ship docking facilities is right downtown — where the containers are offloaded. Shuttling them is not acceptable. We have to compete with other islands, also very hungry for the tourist dollars. Cruise ship organizers will ultimately chose the ports that are best for their cruise ship customers — and South Sound or anywhere else — and requiring lineups for busses and shuttling is simply not accessible. They will choose other ports, I guarantee it. There is ONLY one place for the cruise ships — right downtown. Move the commercial dock — it’s a no-brainer!!!

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