THE BOTTOM-In a significant development for Saba, the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management has issued a permit for the construction of the highly anticipated “Black Rocks Harbor.” This decision, made in response to an application submitted on July 19, 2022, by the Public Entity Saba, marks a milestone in the island’s infrastructure development.
The duration from the submission of the application to its approval was extended, reflecting the collaborative efforts of Saba and the Dutch Ministries involved to exercise additional care in order to reduce the environmental impact. This entailed the implementation of comprehensive mitigation measures. Commissioner Bruce Zagers acknowledged that “the permitting process admittedly took longer than what was anticipated, however it was essential to ensure that we do it the right way the first time.”
“We are all excited to realize this project. It is the biggest single project in the illustrious history of our island. But because it is such a significant project, not only it terms of value, but also on the impact it will have on nature and the intricacies related with the design and the expected execution challenges due to weather conditions, rushing the project without proper planning is a risk not worth taking,” stated Zagers.
The permit, granted under the authority of Article 20 of the BES Maritime Management Act, paves the way for the development of Black Rocks Harbor, a project that has been long-awaited by both residents and stakeholders of Saba. Black Rocks Harbor is set to become a crucial addition to Saba’s infrastructure. This new harbor will play a vital role in enhancing the island’s accessibility, supporting the economy, and facilitating smoother maritime operations.
The finalized project scope underscores the significance of maintaining Fort Bay Harbor as the primary cargo harbor while developing Black Rocks Harbor to cater to all other harbor users. The separation of cargo and small vessel activities will enhance navigational safety, and the new harbor will provide a more attractive and tourist-friendly landing point. Additionally, with food security in mind, the new harbor will allow an additional docking point for cargo vessels in the event that Fort Bay Harbor is damaged or inaccessible.