By the end of today, nearly 25,000 cubic yards of aggregate will have been sprayed into the South Basin to form the foundations of the America’s Cup village.

The first of seven boatloads of ground granite arrived on board the 30,000-tonne bulk carrier Balder from Canada at about 4pm yesterday.

The ship was manoeuvred into position alongside a series of deep metal pilings, which had previously been driven into the seabed, by two specialised tractor tugs before the load was sprayed overboard.

It is expected to take about 36 hours for the aggregate to be unloaded.

The Balder — one of the largest vessels to sail into the South Basin — is set to return to Bermuda a further six times over the coming weeks to discharge granite for the America’s Cup Village development.

Meanwhile, between 80,000 and 100,000 cubic yards of aggregate has already been dredged from the North Channel by specialised equipment and deposited in the South Basin.

“The dredging work in the North Channel has gone extremely well, and is expected to be completed ahead of schedule,” said Andrew Dias, general manager of the West End Development Corporation (Wedco).

“It could be completed as early as the end of next week.”

Mr Dias said the arrival of the first boatload of aggregate was a significant moment in the South Basin project.

He told The Royal Gazette: “This is the first load of seven that will be arriving in the South Basin in the coming weeks.

“The Balder is certainly one of the largest ships to come into the South Basin.

“It will be on the Island until Saturday morning when it will sail back to Canada to be reloaded and then return again.

“It has been an extremely busy few days and we are pleased with how everything has gone so far.”

The Canadian-based company RA Murray won the tender process to supply and deliver the imported fill for the South Basin project.

The total budget for the delivery of the land reclamation scheme, which includes the recently installed bridge and the realignment of the approach to the bridge, is $39 million.

Under the present plans about nine acres of land will be reclaimed inside the south eastern corner of the existing breakwater, creating a gravel-surfaced island.

The plans include a boat yard with multiple dry storage racks, two parking areas, a marina office building, a building to house the Marine and Ports offices and a larger service building also earmarked for the department.

The fill area will also include a dock specifically for tugs and ferries. The northern side of the breakwater will house a marina with 68 berths.

This story appeared in The Royal Gazette on November 6th, 2015.

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