Capt. Leo Chance Pier: Saba’s lifeline for 50 years

Commissioner Bruce Zagers (right) presented an award of recognition to Christina Hassell for her father, former harbour master Alva Hassell.

THE BOTTOM- The 50th anniversary of the Captain Leo A.I. Chance Pier was celebrated on Saba on Sunday, November 13 with a community event. 

Speakers at the official part of the program, former Commissioner and local historian Will Johnson and current Commissioner of Infrastructure Bruce Zagers, addressed the major role that the pier has as Saba’s lifeline.

Will Johnson, who also spoke at the inauguration of the pier on November 8, 1972, looked back at the history of the pier, the developments prior to its construction and how the pier became one of the three important past projects for Saba.

Long-time wish

The construction of a real harbor with a pier was a long-time wish of the Saba people, who in the past had to land cargo on row boats. Earlier attempts, including the construction of a sort of wall to offer some protection by Lionel Bernard Scott in 1935 and the construction of a landing place by hand in the 1950’ies, all washed away with the high seas.

In September 1970, the contract to build the current pier was signed, and then Minister Leo Chance moved the project forward at “top speed,” said Johnson. “He deserves the full credit for this.” Considering his crucial role in the project, the Executive Council decided to name the pier after Chance. Chance inaugurated the pier and personally moored the MV Antilia, the cargo vessel of the Netherlands Antilles government, at the new pier. November 8, 1972 was also the day of Chance’s 40th birthday.

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