Work to upgrade the jetty in Mare Harbour was officially opened recently by Geoff Robson, Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) Chief Operating Officer.
The improvements to the roll on roll off jetty are part of a £19 million contract with VolkerStevin for design and construction.
The new facility will enable larger 20,000 tonne Point Class vessels to berth in the harbour, delivering up to 85% of the military supplies such as hardware, food, building materials and commercial freight needed on the Islands. The new berthing facilities on the jetty will allow goods to safely roll on and roll off from the Falkland Islands Resupply Ships (FIRS). The deliveries made by these ships are vital to military capability, maintaining life on the Islands and to ensuring the complex schedule of building and development works continue as planned.
In addition to the jetty, VolkerStevin has also replaced walkways along the berth, lighting improvements, capstans and a PA system. Firefighting capabilities have been upgraded as well.
This £19m contract is part of a £180 million overall investment by DIO to improve facilities on the Islands over the next 10 years. Additional works include improvements to the power station at Mount Pleasant Complex as well as new services accommodation at the 3 Remote Radar Heads on the Islands. There are currently around 1,200 military and civilian personnel based in the Falklands supporting defensive air, naval and land assets, including RAF Typhoon aircraft, helicopters, Royal Navy patrol vessels and an Army infantry company.
Minister for Defence, People and Veterans, Tobias Ellwood said:
The opening of this new jetty is an important milestone in our 10 year programme to modernise defence infrastructure on the Falklands. We’re investing £180 million on the Islands that will benefit its residents, as well as service personnel and their families who live, work and train there.
David Graham, Deputy Head of International Projects at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, said:
This new jetty will improve military capability in the Falklands as the previous harbour berth was unsuitable for the new Point Class ships. This significant investment by DIO will modernise defence infrastructure in the Falklands for years to come as well as enhancing life on the Island for our personnel and their families.
Commander Bill Dawson, Queen’s Harbour Master, East Cove Port said:
Improving our RoRo facility here has been vitally important, and allows us to safely berth the much larger vessels needed to sustain our military capability here in the Falkland Islands. We were delighted that DIO appointed the experienced maritime company, VolkerStevin, as their prime contractors, a clear investment in proven quality. In particular their safety and environmental awareness has been excellent, and the opportunity to work with Falkland sub contractors has been a really important initiative. Delivery of the new facilities here at East Cove Port, to time and very high quality, is the outcome of good project management by the prime contractor, and an excellent relationship with myself and the port as clients. We now have a really robust facility that will last for many years to come.
Terry O’Connor, operations director and DIO account director for VolkerStevin said:
We are delighted to have handed over the Ro-Ro berth a month early, this latest berth upgrade continues our successful relationship with the DIO and the Royal Navy.