Pier repairs are still a few months away
A high wake from a passing ship, the SKS Mersey, struck the pier on April 16, shattering parts of the wooden structure and inflicting minor injuries to two anglers. City officials closed the pier indefinitely after the incident.
The city council voted 7-0 on Thursday, July 15, to award a $38,000 contract to the Texas Docks and Decks firm of Corpus Christi to provide the labor needed to repair the pier.
The city will buy materials itself for the fix, at a cost of about $17,000, said Deputy City Manager Dave Parsons.
It will cost another $4,000 to $6,000 to get a working electrical system in place again for lights on the pier, Parsons said. No contract for that part of the work has been awarded yet.
Construction on the pier itself probably will wrap up about two months from now, said Orlando Ortiz, who is acting as the city’s engineer on the project.
The electrical work may not be finished until month or more after the construction is finished, so the pier might be unlit for a while, Ortiz said.
Parts of the pier will be elevated higher than they were before, to prevent another big ship wake from damaging the pier again, according to Parsons.
City officials have notified the ship’s agent, Max Shipping, that the city wants full reimbursement for the cost of fixing the pier, Parsons said. The city and the firm are in the process of negotiating, said City Manager Robert Bradshaw.
The city obtained GPS data from the Port of Corpus Christi and found that the ship was going 8.2 knots – not an excessive speed, Parsons said. What would have been a normal-sized wake became much larger as a result of an unusually high tide, Parsons said.
The wake reached above the pier’s handrails and blasted hundreds of gallons of seawater into the pier parking lot and an adjacent dirt lot, leaving a muddy mess behind.
It was the second time in recent years that a high wake from a ship damaged the pier. A similar incident occurred in January 2008. The city made a claim for the damage against the SKS Obo Holding Ltd., of Bergen, Norway, the owner of the tanker SKS Tiete.
The shipping company paid the city’s claim in the amount of $32,912, and the pier was repaired for about $37,000. The new construction elevated the portion of the pier closest to land to make it less susceptible to high wakes. The reconstructed part of the pier wasn’t harmed by the most recent ship wake.
Texas Docks and Decks did the work to repair the damage done by the Tiete’s wake.
The city eventually should replace the wooden pier with a concrete pier that’s bigger and stronger, Bradshaw said. That won’t be pursued until next year or the year afterward, he said. Grants could fund most of such a project, he said.