Extreme tides cause ferry business disruption

Camp businesses on West Falkland have been disrupted by a number of extremely high and low tides experienced in recent weeks across the nation.  

Commercial trucks attempting to board the Concordia Bay ferry have been blocked on three separate occasions since the beginning of the month.

Suggestions for what has caused the ocean events – which included temporarily overflowing the sea wall in Stanley – range from a combination of rare solar movements to low pressures and winds. 

The issue of tidal disruption was discussed at this week’s Transport Advisory Committee government meeting. Mark Pollard is the portfolio holder for Commercial Services, which manages Ferry and Coastal Shipping services in the Falklands and commented:

“We need to look at the business case behind how often these things are happening, is it a one-off, can we fix it with better scheduling?”

Mark Pollard, Member of Legislative Assembly

The option of installing a temporary ramp is a potential short-term fix that has also been suggested.

Workboat Services Limited, are the owners and operators of the Falkland Islands’ inter-island ferry and Island resupply vessel and confirmed in the Transport Advisory Committee agenda that:

“The ideal solution would be to reinstate the temporary ramp, creating a high tide ramp which would allow us to unload most vehicles in most tides. There will always be some vehicles which create issues at extremes of tide but a good high tide option would allow much needed flexibility in the service.”

Workboat Services Limited’s response in FIG’s TAC

The Falkland Island’s Government are set to discuss the issue further with WSL and consider a piece of work to assess the cost of the ramp so that it could be fed into FIG’s capital bidding round for next year. Funding would then need
to be identified to complete the work.

No timeframe on the completion of this analysis has yet been officially identified.

An early January high tide temporarily breached the Stanley sea wall (Credit: Dylan Stephenson)

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