Green go-ahead for dry dock
THE Department of Environmental Affairs has given the ‘green’ go-ahead for construction of the R1-billion floating dry dock project to proceed at the Port of Richards Bay. The environmental authorisation speaks specifically of ‘the expansion of the existing repair quay and related infrastructure’. The port last year announced the dry dock as part of a massive R4.4-billion capital investment budget over the next seven years. The ship repair facility will be capable of accommodating Capesize vessels: bulk carriers and tankers typically above 150 000 deadweight tonnage. The floating dry dock facility will be located at the Repair Quay, Small Craft Harbour and will require refurbishment of the existing quay and deepening of the berth to minus 18metres. The project falls under the Operation Phakisa programme, part of the Oceans Economy drive targeting job creation and economic growth relating to the oil, gas and vessel repair sector. A graving dock (fully fledged dry dock) is to be considered at a future date and is earmarked to be placed in the casuarinas area.
The authorisation was issued after specialist studies, impact assessments, mitigation measures and input from other stakeholders included in the Basic Assessment Report, were studied. Among others, comments were received from the South African Heritage Resources Agency; Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife; DEA: Coastal Pollution Management; King Cetshwayo District and the City of uMhlathuze municipalities. In a statement issued last week, the Department said it was satisfied that, ‘subject to compliance with the conditions contained in the environmental authorisation, the authorised activities will not conflict with the general objectives of integrated environmental management laid down in Chapter 5 of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 and that any potentially detrimental environmental impacts resulting from the authorised activities can be mitigated to acceptable levels. ‘A sufficient public participation process was undertaken and the applicant has satisfied the minimum requirements as prescribed in the EIA Regulations, 2014 for public involvement. ‘The environmental authorisation is accordingly granted.’