New Pier Technology Allows Historic Port in Jamaica to Reopen
A floating pier will make it possible for ships to dock in Port Royal.
Thanks to a new kind of pier developed by Norwegian company SeaWalk, historic Port Royal, Jamaica, will soon be able to welcome its first visitors by ship since an earthquake sank two-thirds of the town in 1692. The pier, scheduled to be installed in late 2018, will allow cruise ships to dock without plying the harbor.
Part of the reason it’s been impossible to build a pier in Port Royal is that the underwater portion of the town is an archaeological site. SeaWalk’s pier floats, minimizing its impact, and it can retract and extend when a ship is ready to dock. Ships don’t tie to the pier as is custom, but instead the floating pier ties to the ship, which is anchored at a safe spot or tied up to buoys.
There are other advantages as well: At about $8 million, the SeaWalk pier, which is built off-site, is significantly less expensive than traditional ones. It takes only a few weeks to install and can be removed and reused elsewhere, opening up the possibility for previously difficult locations to become viable cruise-ship ports.
Image credit: courtesy of Stockholms Hamnar/Per-Erik Adamsson