By David Robinson

Long-held plans to develop a new superyacht marina in Barbados have moved a step closer following reports from US and Canadian consultants that issues such as the wave environment, including swells and the potential impact of hurricanes, are not serious hurdles. Accordingly there are now hopes that work may start on the new Pierhead marina, located at the end of the careenage in Bridgetown, and the proposed Sugar Point Cruise Terminal this year.

Both projects are seen by the Barbados government as ones that could help kick-start the island’s economy with a potential investment of some $600m. According to a report in NationNews, an assessment by coastal engineers Baird & Associates Ltd from the US, and WF Baird & Associates, Coastal Engineers Ltd and the National Research Council, both from Canada, does not see the wave environment or hurricanes as issues big enough to deter the projects going ahead.

Stuart Layne, CEO of the Barbados Tourism Investment Corporation, told SB: “We are very much ready for this project and just awaiting the final sign-off, which is in the hands of the government. However, until that is done I cannot confirm or deny any details of the project or whether a developer is ready to construct the marina. Give us a few months and we will be able to tell you more.”

The Pierhead marina is a project that has been proposed for a number of years since it was first suggested by local shipping agent Barbados Shipping & Trading. The marina is expected to offer around 80 berths for superyachts up to 50m (164ft), although SB understands that a final berth configuration has not yet been agreed.

The cruise terminal is hoped to be in place for the 2016/17 cruise season. The project would see cruise and cargo activities being separated from the main Bridgetown port.

There are fears that the marina might impact on the careenage inlet and its important fishing fleet berths, but the consultants suggested amendments that could be made to the design of the marina and its breakwaters to overcome the issues raised. The marina would be enclosed by two breakwaters.