Pontoon assembled for off-land soil investigation Black Rocks Harbor

In anticipation of an off-land soil investigation in the waters at the location of the new Black
Rocks Harbor, a pontoon has been assembled in the Fort Bay Harbor.
When the sea conditions are favorable, the so-called jack-up pontoon with all of the necessary
equipment for the soil investigation, will be moved to the pre-selected drilling locations at the new
harbor. The pontoon came from the Netherlands and was assembled on-site last week by contractor
Geotron and local contractor Work Monster.
Wave heights
The pontoon can only be located and relocated when the wave heights are around one meter. With
waves being higher on Saba most of the time, the time that the pontoon can be moved and installed in
one of the drilling locations is limited.
Due to the local sea conditions, determining a precise time when the soil investigation can be done is
limited. Thus, the pontoon has been assembled and now must wait until weather conditions allow for
the work to be done. As such, it requires careful planning and monitoring of the weather to make
optimal use of the right weather circumstances. Possible developing storms are also carefully
Coral survey
Before the pontoon gets to the drilling location, the seabed at the drilling location will be surveyed and
filmed to prevent that corals are damaged, and a buoy placed to indicate the location. The Saba
Conservation Foundation (SCF) supervises the underwater survey.
To guarantee stability that is needed for the soil investigation, the pontoon has to be out of the water,
jacked up. The geotechnical investigation will be conducted at a number of drilling locations, starting
with the ones furthest from the coast.
There are a number of challenging factors in getting this investigation done under the local
circumstances within the limited budget. The investigation takes place in a difficult location with mostly
hard wind, large wave heights and an uneven seabed with big boulders. Also, the equipment is not
available in the region and needs to come from far away.
Final design
The soil investigations, on-land and off-land, are needed for the final design of the Black Rocks Harbor
and will be part of the tender documents for contractors. The on-land soil investigation was done in

June this year. The underwater geophysical investigation will measure the layers of the sea bottom and
the so-called bathymetric multi-beam survey will determine the depth of the area which was done two
months ago.
Tender documents
The tender documents for the new harbor are finalized. Once the permit has been received from
Rijkswaterstaat, the tender documents will be issued to the contractors. The contractors need the
geotechnical and geophysical surveys and bathymetric survey to engineer the harbor and calculate their
Upgrading Fort Bay Harbor
Despite some delays, the work to upgrade the Capt. Leo Chance Pier continues. Works by contractor
Work Monster to remove and replace the most upper layer of concrete of the pier started in January
this year and should be completed by the end of July. New bollards and cleats have been installed. The
process to install new quay profiles is also ongoing.
The works include the upgrading of the roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) pier. The space underneath the Ro-Ro has
to be filled with boulders and underwater concrete to close the gap between the pier and the seabed
that formed over time. The damaged edge of the Ro-Ro pier is being repaired too.