ARTICLE - 12/04/2017

Seaview magazine: a modern port for an ancient island

Lying 20 km northeast of Kuwait, the small island of Failaka is known for its pleasant climate and historical remains. Just a short ferry ride from the mainland, it’s an increasingly popular getaway destination for both Kuwaiti and international tourists. Visitors can take bus tours around the island to visit archaeological and wartime sites, go fishing or practise water sports. To meet this rising demand, Failaka Island is now improving its harbour facilities with the help of RINA.

Failaka Harbour lies in the island’s southwest cape. Two breakwaters protect a pier that divides the harbour basin (approx. 250 x 280 m) into two zones. The northern zone is for small private boats. The southern zone receives the small Kuwait Public Transport Company (KPTC) ro-ro ferries that connect the island to the mainland port in Salmiya. The central pier is also open to small and medium-sized vessels that offer services to the public, including yachts and catamarans.

Kuwait’s Ministry of Communications (MoC), which controls the harbour, has identified two major areas of improvement.

The first major issue is siltation. Due to sea currents and a low sandy bottom, the southern zone is frequently silted. Ferries are forced to manoeuvre in tight spaces and can only enter during high tide to avoid grounding. Dredging has to be performed frequently in order to guarantee harbour accessibility and navigational safety.

RINA performed a morphodynamic study in order to understand the hydrodynamic conditions of the target area and identify the most effective solutions to mitigate siltation issues. The aim of the new layout is to ensure continuous accessibility and reduce the need for dredging and other siltation-related maintenance activities. An extension of the southern breakwater, plus a profile modification of the beach south of the harbour, will help to achieve this aim.

The second major issue is modernisation of the harbour infrastructure. Upgrade works will help bring the harbour up to the high standards expected by tourists. A modern port will also add value to the destination and foster economic development.

RINA developed the basic design of the harbour’s rehabilitation and modernisation works. The entire harbour area will be rearranged and refurbished. New services will complement the existing port facilities. These include improved fuel storage and supply systems, a new lifting platform, a travel lift area and a boat sewage disposal system. New fire-fighting, electricity and water supply systems will also be added.

RINA has prepared a tender package for the selection of a qualified contractor, and will provide technical assistance to Kuwait’s MoC during the tender evaluation phase.

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Manuela Sciutto