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DCOMM Airs Shipwreck Recovery & Salvaging project

The Department of Communication will air on cable tv and post a special video program on the current Shipwreck Recovery & Salvaging project that is currently ongoing in and around the Simpson Bay lagoon and the Mullet Bay pond.

The Shipwreck Recovery & Salvaging project was initiated through the Government of St. Maarten’s efforts to build back better after the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, on September 6, 2017.

DCOMM spoke to several stakeholders involved in the project to get an insight into what the project is and how it was progressing.

In the SRS Special, the Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment & Infrastructure (VROMI), Egbert J. Doran, provided an insight into the environmental situation and vision into the project.

Minister Doran said regarding the Shipwreck project that Government commissioned and the NRPB executed on their behalf. “The project will be monitored strictly; we have the main contractor as well as a Government department that are observing. Being responsible, the ship wreckage debris will be transported to a decommission yard for responsible processing. This project will assist in improving the St. Maarten tourist product, so indeed the future looks bright, the minister said.

On Government’s side, DCOMM spoke to Paul Ellinger, a Marine Inspector with the Department of Marine/Maritime Affairs, who has been part of the project from the initial stages. Ellinger points out his role and the crucial factors in executing the Shipwreck project.

Another important factor in the executing of the project was the National Recovery and Program Bureau, the project implementation unit. In general projects, once agreed, are funded by the St. Maarten Recovery, Reconstruction, and Resilience Trust Fund, established by the Netherlands to assist St. Maarten in its recovery efforts.

DCOMM spoke to the Director of NRPB, Claret Connor, about the Shipwreck project.

“The Shipwreck removal project started as an initiative of the Government of Sint Maarten. The Government of Sint Maarten wrote the project proposal, which was later accepted by the World Bank and approved by the Trust Fund Steering Committee,” said Director Connor. “The project is now being implemented by the NRPB, and we are responsible for all aspects of execution, such as procurement, environmental and social safeguards, and managing the project’s finances, among other things.”

Connor indicated that the project will cost $14 million and will be completed in the fourth quarter of this year. He further indicated that the different stakeholders, i.e. Nature Foundation, were involved from the beginning. So it was a real joint program in the betterment of and for St. Maarten. In the TV Special, Connor provides additional information about the extended issues and benefits of the Shipwreck project.

Another hired company in the Shipwreck project is EOS Maritime, J.V., a contractor who has the task to oversee the project.

DCOMM spoke to Fokko Ringersma, a field manager with EOS Maritime.

Ringersma explained that after they won the bid, there are standard safety and maritime procedures that have to be followed by all involved in the project. He explained that as supervisor of the project on behalf of NRPB, they are responsible for the Shipwreck project on a whole and the individual parts being on time, on budget, and on execution.

In the DCOMM Special, Ringersma further talks about the methods used to unearth these vessels.

The Shipwreck Recovery & Salvaging project will air at 7pm on June 25, Channel 115 Cable TV and will be posted on the same day on the Government of St. Maarten YouTube channel https://m.youtube.com/c/governmentofsintmaarten and FaceBook page https://m.facebook.com/SXMGOV/ at 12pm.
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