The challenge

The devastating hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the Caribbean islands of Sint Eustatius and Saba with full force in September 2017. The damage was enormous and the ports Oranjestad and Fort Bay were full with sand, wreckage and debris. The ports were no longer accessible for urgent humanitarian aid and military transports. Due to the extreme conditions, heavy structural damage had occurred on the quays, breakwaters and coastal defenses systems. The constructions had to be repaired in order to protect the islands and harbors from new subtropical storms and hurricanes. Thousands of tons of rubble were shipped from other countries to the Caribbean for the reconstruction work of the constructions.

Our activities

All communication with Saba and Sint Eustatius was lost after the passing of hurricane Irma and Maria. On behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat), Walhout Civil completed damage assessments and inspections by using airplanes and ships. The small ports and coastal defenses were destroyed or damaged. The Dutch ministries and local authorities have subsequently determined that immediate repairs must be carried out, in the context of flood risk management and the urgent supply of military aid goods.

Walhout Civil has drawn up robust designs for new hurricane-resistant breakwaters and coastal defense systems, in consultation with Rijkswaterstaat, the Island Governments of Sint Eustatius and Saba and other stakeholders. The designs are included with metocean studies and analyzes of extreme hurricane conditions. After the completion of dredging work, the first emergy and aid transports were organized. Walhout Civil monitored the reconstruction of the construction work for months.

A summary of our activities:

  • Crisis management
  • Damage assessments and inspections
  • Logistic coordination of rock transportation
  • Metocean study with US Oceanic Departments
  • Analysis of waves, currents and morphology
  • Design of breakwaters and coastal defenses
  • Supervision of reconstruction work

An intensive collaboration with

  • Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations
  • Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management
  • The Island Government of Saba
  • The Island Government of Sint Eustatius
  • The Government of Sint Martin
  • Wreck salvage contractors

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