Fact No. 1
For more than 300 years, Bridgetown was a port of call for ships operating in the Eastern Caribbean? By the middle of the 17th century, Barbados was a regular stopping place for ships. Until the Deep water Harbour was built, the larger ships anchored in Carlisle Bay, and cargo and passengers were transported to the Wharf at the Careenage in small boats with oars called lighters.
Fact No. 2
Work on the construction of the Deep Water Harbour commenced in June 1957? The entire construction, including ancillary works and roads, cost in the region of 28 million dollars. Harbour construction, building and roads cost just over 23 million dollars and was paid for out of loan funds; the Bulk Sugar Facility, paid for from the Sugar Industry Price Stabilization Fund, cost 4.5 million dollars.
Fact No. 3
Pelican Island, which was located about 600 yards from the mainland, was incorporated into the construction of the Deep Water Harbour? Pelican Island was joined to the mainland of Barbados by filling in a large area of sea outward from what was then the Princess Alice Playing Field, adding more than 90 acres of land to our island.
Fact No. 4
Stone and rubble to build the Deep Water Harbour was blasted from the quarry at Bagatelle Plantation? A fleet of 25 Commer trucks worked non-stop for three years to transport the material to the harbour site. These trucks travelled a total of 2 million, 272 thousand, 887 miles with 776,430 tons of stone from this quarry.
Fact No. 5
The Deep Water Harbour was built by local Barbadian labour working under the supervision of technical experts from Britain? The Barbadian workers were described as “good, and quick to learn”, and the entire construction project was completed without incident – a major accomplishment in those days for projects of that scope and complexity.
Fact No. 6
The ‘workhorse of the project’ to construct the Deep Water Harbour was a complicated, but especially effective piece of machinery called a cutter suction dredger? Named the ‘Barbados’, it was the biggest, most expensive piece of equipment ever to enter the island at a duty-free cost of $1,920,000.
Fact No. 7
The Bridgetown Port, previously known as the Deep Water Harbour or the Bridgetown Harbour, was opened on May 6, 1961, by Sir Grantley Adams, then Prime Minister of the West Indies Federation? The Port has developed over the last 50 years to become the modern Award-winning Bridgetown Port of today, with cargo and cruise being the core areas of its business. (Aired on May 6 – the anniversary date).
Fact No. 8
Residents from the Fontabelle area and surrounding districts suffered many sleepless nights as a result of the endless noise produced by the cutter suction dredger? Others moved to distant areas to escape the racket “before they became nervous wrecks”. When the Port was dredged in 2002, a similar piece of equipment operated with hardly a sound – a testament to the advances of modern technology.
Fact No. 9
The final stone block in the breakwater at the Bridgetown Harbour was laid on July 23, 1960, by the Premier of Barbados, Dr. Hugh Cummins? Almost 30,000 blocks were used in constructing the harbour, some weighing as much as 20 tons. The blocks were produced by a batching machine, and railways lines were laid to transport the blocks to the construction site.
Fact No. 10
The first ship to officially enter the newly constructed Bridgetown Harbour was the S S Diplomat? The ‘Diplomat was welcomed on March 10, 1961, by government ministers, members of the House of Assembly, civil servants and port officials. However, the very first vessel to call and unload cargo was ‘The Tomboy’, which docked, unloaded colas, and departed quietly into the horizon.
Fact No. 11
In 1978, the Port added another 6.5 hectares of land through a land reclamation project? That is the area where Shed 4 and the Gantry Crane are located. This project was in preparation for the changing mode of shipping from break-bulk to containerized cargo, and marked the first major upgrade at the Port since its opening in 1961.
Fact No. 12
In January 1979, the Barbados Port Authority was established? This new administrative arm of the Port was the amalgamation of the government entity known as Port Department and the private company of Port Contractors (Barbados) Limited. That same year in September, the new Administration Building was opened by Prime Minister J M G ‘Tom” Adams.