Homer’s deepwater dock will be undergoing a few improvements starting at the end of this month. The city is waiting on a delivery of materials and for Buccaneer Energy’s Endeavor jack-up rig to move out of the Homer Harbor before work can commence.
Homer received $6 million last year from the state in the form a cruise ship head tax grant for the repairs. Homer Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins said the money was meant for projects that benefit cruise ship passengers and the cruise ships themselves.
“One of the top priorities with that project list was replacing the fenders on the deepwater dock. The fenders are the shock absorbers between the ship and the dock. They protect the dock and they also protect the ship,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins said the materials should be arriving in town soon.
“The materials will arrive in Seward and then be trans-shipped to a barge. These fender units are quite large. They’re about 20-feet wide and weight 55,000 pounds each,” he said.
But before any repairs can begin, the Buccaneer rig has got to go. The jack-up rig has been moored in the Homer Harbor since August. Hawkins said the consistent revenue while the rig has been sitting at the end of the Spit has been a good thing.
“They’re actually leasing the whole dock, all the available space. As a landlord, of course one of your goals is 100 percent occupancy. For the first time in the deepwater dock’s history, we’ve achieved that for a few months,” he said.
Though, Hawkins does point out a downside.
“Our normal deepwater dock fleet has been inconvenienced by this. We’ve had to schedule around them to serve that fleet. The fact that the Tustemena schedule was reduced this winter helped with that. We were able to send some of those vessels over to the Pioneer dock,” he said.
Homer city officials had been considering a March 1 deadline for Buccaneer to move the rig. But Hawkins said he has been working with the company to allow it to stay as long as it needs.
In a press release Wednesday, Buccaneer said the American Bureau of Shipping had signed off on the rig, leaving the US Coast Guard and the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission as the last two organizations to give approval before the rig can be moved. The company plans to pull anchor and get to work in Cook Inlet.
Buccaneer said the Coast Guard still needs to see technical drawings and inspection certificates for the rig. The company also needs approval of its C-Plan from the Department of Environmental Conservation for operations in the Cosmo Unit in Cook Inlet. The area is about 30 miles north and west of Homer. DEC requested additional information from Buccaneer about the plan last month. Buccaneer has tentative plans to spud its first well in the Cosmo Unit by late March if all the necessary permits have been acquired.
Homer Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins made his comments during this week’s "Coffee Table" program on KBBI.