Namport responds to syncrolift issues

Measures taken to curb pollution and not to drive up costs.

26 November 2018 | Business

Elzevir Gelderbloem; Port Engineer; “Facilities in other countries have adopted similar measures, some even more stringent than ours.”

Whilst Namport does not want to drive up the costs of repairing vessels at the Walvis Bay syncrolift, the port authority has to protect the surrounding environment and community, says port engineer Elzevir Gelderbloem.

“The fact is there have been numerous incidents over the years of damage caused to third parties outside the syncrolift, such as cars parked in the municipal street getting overspray, or properties on the opposite side of the street being damaged by overspray and grit. The municipality of Walvis Bay also expects Namport to do something to improve or rectify the situation.”

Gelderbloem issued a memorandum on 29 October informing contractors that Namport observed syncrolift activities are not fully environment compliant, in particularly spray painting and grid blasting activities.

He explained that the port authority requires all contractors engaging in spray painting and grid blasting activities at the syncrolift to erect industry approved scaffolding with side netting at their own cost.

This must be done to enclose and reduce grit and overspray from ­impacting areas outside the syncrolift. Failure to adhere to the new requirements will result in contractors' access to the site being withdrawn. In addition, spray painting and grid blasting activities must be stopped during strong winds, regardless of scaffolding and side netting.

Namport will also apply a pollution tariff to those found to be in contravention of the new requirements. Such a fine could amount to approximately N$14 000 for the discovery and presence of dust particles in sea water.

Gelderbloem added that Namport had scheduled a meeting with the affected syncrolift users to try and find middle ground.

“Facilities in other countries have adopted similar measures, some even more stringent than ours. The status quo can unfortunately not continue at the Walvis Bay syncrolift, and thus all syncrolift users will need to take better care of their surrounding environment.”

He pointed out that some facilities only allow water jetting, not grit blasting, whilst others don't allow grit blasting and spray painting when it is windy.

“Lastly, some facilities do not allow spray painting above the vessel's water line, which requires paint to be applied by brush or roller. The Cape Town Syncrolift for example adopts many of the restrictions mentioned above.”

He also encouraged the syncrolift users to offer workable and effective alternative solutions.

“We will listen to all ideas that we receive in the meantime, before the deadline.”

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