Opposition to the Cayman Islands Cruise Ship Berthing Facility is URGENTLY NEEDED
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Posted by: Rachelle Reimers
DEMA urgently requests all members of the diving community to issue a statement to the Cayman Islands Department of Environment (DOE) by the July 3rd deadline OPPOSING the construction of a proposed cruise ship berthing facility.
The Cayman Islands Department of Environment has made the Draft Non-Technical Summary of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a proposed Grand Cayman Cruise Berthing Facility available. Comments on the Draft Statement, Non-technical statement and the Technical Appendices must be submitted in any of the following ways:
- In writing electronically via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mailed to Department of Environment, P.O. Box 10202, Grand Cayman KY1-1002
- Hand delivered to Department of Environment, Environmental Centre, 580 North Sound Road, George Town, Grand Cayman
The comment period will officially close on Friday 3 July 2015.
Statement Summary: Cayman CBF - Environmental Statement, Non-Technical Summary - Final Draft: 02-June-15 (Downloadable PDF)
Final Environmental Statement: Cayman CBF - Environmental Statement, Final Draft: 04-June-15 (Downloadable PDF)
The technical data can be found in various links seen here: http://ht.ly/OAfec
DEMA's opinion is that the construction and operation of this facility will be devastating to the natural coral reefs. Damage will occur due to direct dredging action, turbidity and siltation on the living reefs near Georgetown during construction and additional damage will likely be caused by the on-going dredging required to maintain the berthing facility, as outlined in the June 2, 2015 Environmental Statement. In addition, in studying the data presented in the draft Environmental Statement, the actual economic benefit to the Cayman Islands appears to be questionable, involving millions of dollars to re-locate a shipwreck (the Balboa) and portions of the living reef with a result that there would still be a net loss of living coral.
Given that tourists arriving by air to the Cayman Islands (rather than cruise ship) account for 77% of the tourist revenue generated there, it appears to make little economic sense to destroy the very fabric of Grand Cayman's attraction to tourists, to accommodate a greater number of cruise ships ferrying tourists who, according the Environmental Statement, spend an average of less than $CI 100 per person on island.
All divers and all dive professionals are URGED to make comments directly to the Cayman Islands Department of Environment prior to the July 3rd deadline.