New piers will not impact storm dynamics, officials say

No construction contracts will be signed for the cruise berthing project before the May general election, raising the possibility that a new government could decide to revise the plan or abandon it.

The proposed new cruise pier will be able to withstand severe weather conditions and will not exacerbate flooding in George Town during extreme storms, according to officials leading the procurement process on the project.

The Public Works Department Major Projects Office released a statement Monday evening addressing public concerns following the nor’wester that pummeled the capital just before Christmas. Part of South Church Street had to be closed to traffic as powerful waves swept through the harbor, damaging coastal bars and restaurants as well as the Royal Watler pier.

Officials said fears that the new facility would increase flooding risks in such instances were misplaced.

The Chief Project Manager for the Major Projects Office, Peter Ranger, said: “A wave overtopping study and flood risk assessment is being undertaken to ensure that flood risk to George Town for the areas to the north and south of the new development will be no greater than exists at present, and will be reduced wherever possible. Therefore, the flood risk will not increase as a result of the new cruise berthing and cargo development.

“In the footprint of the new development, wave walls have been incorporated into the design that don’t exist at present, to reduce wave overtopping and flooding in the cargo and cruise area in extreme weather conditions, which will also protect central George Town.”

- Advertisement -

The statement also indicated that while the new piers will be better equipped to safely welcome ships in rougher weather than is currently the case, no ship would dock at the new piers in the extreme conditions witnessed last month.

- Advertisement -

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now


  1. I am a Ciivil engineer in Cayman Islands for 35 years and this Peter Ranger is a 100% wrong. Simple engineering proves that bring deeper water (dredging) closer to shore line increases wave height. It is about wave energy that is a proven science. They need to hire a civil engineer, give them the dredging plans and they will be able to calculate the wave height effects at the shore line per storm density.

  2. Well, looking at the proposed drawing it seems to me that we are “building” more land out to sea. We are building more facilities to hold thousands of people plus to park more taxis and busses. The dredging is very minimal along the south side next to Eden Rock for the Cargo dock area. The Balboa area is already 30 feet deep ( western side). So only 6-10 feet deeper? Does anyone believe the Northwester that they are talking about is going to be the usual storm from now on?