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Wave testing at Ghent University for harbor project

A delegation of the Public Entity Saba visited Ghent University on Monday, April 29 for the wave simulator tests in preparation of the Fort Bay harbor project.

Commissioner Bruce Zagers, Island Secretary Tim Muller, harbor master Travis Johnson, policy advisor Sarah van der Horn, harbor project manager Ton van der Plas, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (I&W), Rijkswaterstaat and the engineering firm Witteveen+Bos attended the presentation and testing at the Department of Civil Engineering of Ghent University.

The Saba delegation with representatives of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Rijkswaterstaat, Witteveen+Bos and members of the Department of Civil Engineering of the Ghent University.

Saba has embarked on an extensive project to reconstruct, renew and expand its harbor. The Dutch Government has made a total amount of 27.5 million euros available for this project which involves the construction of a new, larger pier further west from the location of the current small pier, the extension of the current main pier and improvements at the shoreline and on-land infrastructure. The scope of the project contains three main elements: the upgrading and expansion of the harbor, making the harbor hurricane proof and increasing economic activities.

Following a competitive tender process between five hydraulic modelling institutes, the Saba Government awarded the contract to Ghent University in February this year to perform various tests in its physical modelling facilities. The test results are important in the preparation process of the close to 30 million euros harbor project.

The team of the Ghent University, headed by Prof. Dr. Ir. Peter Troch, carried out a range of tests in the wave simulator which measures 30 meters in length, one meter in width and 1.2 meters in height. The tested parameters are the wave reflection and overtopping under normal operations and the wave impact loading under hurricane conditions.

Saba Commissioner Bruce Zagers (second from left) receives an explanation by a team member of the Ghent University Department of Civil Engineering about the workings of the wave simulator and the testing being performed.

Scaled models of the preliminary vertical wall design for the primary and secondary breakwater were constructed in the wave flume, in order to create a realistic representation of the structural performance under normal conditions and during hurricane conditions.

The Department of Civil Engineering team carried out 38 tests in total so far, fine-tuning the height and geometry of the structures to create a safe and robust design. Worst case scenario testing was performed on the wave simulator to check how the design reacted to very heavy hurricane conditions. For this testing, the simulator’s wave maker was turned up to maximum capacity.

The testing is underway for over three weeks now and is expected to last another few weeks, including data analysis and reporting. Contractors participating in the prequalification process can make use of the data.

The visit of the Saba delegation to Ghent, Belgium, was part of a packed program which involved meetings with all ministries in The Hague as well as meetings with members of the First and Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament.

The harbor project was one of the topics discussed in several of these meetings. The prequalification for the contractors starts in the next few months. Procurement will take place according to the World Bank guidelines.

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