Nicaraguan Tourist Agency selects Damen CSD350 dredger for 200 km internal waterway project

2016 February 19 14:14

Nicaraguan Tourist Agency selects Damen CSD350 dredger for 200 km internal waterway project

A contract has been signed by EPN, the Nicaraguan Port Authority, and INTUR, the Nicaraguan Tourist Agency, with the Damen Shipyards Group for the delivery of a CSD350 Cutter Suction Dredger. The dredger is to be operated by EPN on a project to create and maintain a 200 km inland channel running along a section of Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast, the company said in its press release.

Damen CSD 350

Heavy duty design!

This is the first Damen CSD to be purchased by INTUR, and is designed for heavy-duty operations with a production capacity of 2000 mᶟ/h to a depth of nine metres. It will be operated by Empresa Portuaria Nacional (EPN), the national port authority, which already manages a number of Damen vessels and has a close relationship with INTUR. The CSD350 will be the fourth vessel delivered to EPN over the past year; with a Stan Tug 2608, another CSD350 and a CSD250 all recently beginning operations in Nicaragua.

The CSD350 will be deployed on an ambitious project to create a continuous 200 km channel running parallel to the sea between Bluefields and Bilwi, connecting the north and the south of the country. The existing waterway is a mix of rivers, lakes and some manmade channels running through lagoons and mangrove swamps. However, the rivers and lakes require dredging and the channels need to be completed. In addition, midway along the channel near Karawala, a completely new waterway of around 22 km will be created to link the northern and southern sections. Once completed, the new channel will enable larger and more comfortable boats to use the route and so encourage the local tourism industry.

The coast is renowned for its beauty and biodiversity, and a series of environmental studies have been undertaken to ensure minimal impact on the local plants and wildlife. An environmental management plan has been created for the project and it will be overseen by a government management team to ensure full compliance.  As an example of the care being taken over conservation of the environment, the dredging spoil will be used to construct a series of islands which will then be planted with trees to provide additional natural habitats. Once the channel has been dredged along its full length by the new CSD350, the dredger will be used to maintain it.

The vessel is scheduled to arrive in Nicaragua at the beginning of April, equipped with all the necessary equipment, including a 1000 metre pipeline, to operate in this very remote area.

“We’re very pleased to be supplying another Cutter Suction Dredger to Nicaragua,” said Pieter Becker, Damen Sales Manager for Central America. “The close cooperation between INTUR and EPN has been a major factor in this success. Built to the same specification as the other CSDs in the EPN fleet, the dredger will provide a proven and cost-effective solution to INTUR’s dredging requirements.”

Damen Shipyards Group
Damen Shipyards Group operates 32 shipbuilding and repair yards, employing 9,000 people worldwide. Damen has delivered more than 5,000 vessels in more than 100 countries and delivers some 160 vessels annually to customers worldwide. Based on its unique, standardised ship-design concept Damenis able to guarantee consistent quality.

Damen’s focus on standardisation, modular construction and keeping vessels in stock leads to short delivery times, low ‘total cost of ownership’, high resale values and reliable performance. Furthermore, Damen vessels are based on thorough R&D and proven technology.

Damen offers a wide range of products, including tugs, workboats, naval and patrol vessels, high speed craft, cargo vessels, dredgers, vessels for the offshore industry, ferries, pontoons and superyachts.

For nearly all vessel types Damen offers a broad range of services, including maintenance, spare parts delivery, training and the transfer of (shipbuilding) know-how. Damen also offers a variety of marine components, such as nozzles, rudders, anchors, anchor chains and steel works.

In addition to ship design and shipbuilding, Damen Shiprepair & Conversion has a worldwide network of 15 repair and conversion yards with dry docks ranging up to 420 x 80 metres. Conversion projects range from adapting vessels to today’s requirements and regulations to the complete conversion of large offshore structures. DSC completes around 1,500 repair and maintenance jobs annually.


Upon re-reading the piece, this dredger is to make a 200 mile canal running on the inland side of the sea between Bluefields and Puerto Cabezas along Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast. This is sure to be a boon to local transport as there is now only a series of creaks and rivers and rivermouths to get from point A to point B. This will create a safe channel to navigate. At first I thought it was the first real news I’ve heard in a while concerning the plans for Nicaragua’s Interoceanic Canal but that’s not the case. Still, a purchase agreement to buy a huge dredging ship that can be used to do some of the dredging that is required channel is something as this is a big purchase and anything that helps integrate transportation along the Caribbean coast is a big plus in my book.

Nicaragua, the Undiscovered Luxury Beach Destination for Billionaires and Celebrities – Forbes

Nicaragua, the Undiscovered Luxury Beach Destination for Billionaires and Celebrities


As my helicopter descended upon the vibrant Emerald coastline of Nicaragua, I was filled with anticipation to discover this magical paradise, after hearing from high end travelers about its hidden, undiscovered location. Nicaragua is quickly becoming a first rate alternative to luxury resorts in Mexico and Costa Rica. It has quietly become a superstar getaway for Beyonce, Michael Douglas, Halle Berry, Morgan Freeman, Michael Fassbender and many others thanks to the allure of the recently opened Mukul Resort, the country’s first five-star hotel.


Delta now offers direct flights from Los Angeles. Once in Managua, it’s a two hour drive (30-minute helicopter ride) to the majestic and tranquil Mukul Beach & Spa Resort located in a very exclusive and private stretch along the Pacific Ocean. The area is also blessed with the opening of the new Costa Esmeralda Airport—only five miles north of Mukul. The 492,000-square-foot airport features one terminal and a 5,000-foot runway that will be able to accommodate Gulfstream GV jets.


The spectacular Mukul Resort in Nicaragua (photo by Ryan Forbes)

The spectacular Mukul Resort in Nicaragua (photo by Ryan Forbes)

After years of political turbulence and war, Nicaragua is now safe and growing daily. It’s quiet unpopulated beaches, bohemian surf villages, and boutique hotels is trying to remain intimate and traditional, while still embracing the future. A huge $50 billion dollar Panama Canal style development which will attract international commerce and further growth connecting the Pacific to the Atlantic. A Chinese billionaire is funding the canal development and is stirring a lot of controversy in the area.

Read the rest: Nicaragua, the Undiscovered Luxury Beach Destination for Billionaires and Celebrities – Forbes

Excellent article Jim Dobson, I was tempted to hop on a helicopter and get over to the Mukul Resort just reading it! You did a great job and I’m sure that the Pellas’ are pleased with the results. I live and work here in Nicaragua and just want to say I appreciate Forbes giving the minuscule luxury spa segment of the Nicaraguan tourism offerings a boost. 500,000 more visitors came this year than last, an increase of 8.5%, but very few came for this segment of the market. I expect more will come now.

The new Costa Esmeralda airport will be a game-changer as not only private jets (with their celebrity passengers) can fly in, but direct flights from San Jose and Liberia in Costa Rica in addition to short flights from Managua make access easier and quicker. Good on ‘ya too for getting out in the community a bit. I was afraid you weren’t going to see any of the real Nicaragua but looks like you at least got a glimpse.

Cheers, Mike @ Farmstay El Porton Verde, Managua

Global Supply Chain News: As Crazy as it Sounds, Nicaragua Grand Canal Might Just Happen

Project Seems Preposterous, but Nicaragua Government, Chinese Company Say Effort will Kick-Off in Early 2016


SCDigest Editorial Staff


While most of the buzz these past few years has been about the logistics impact of an expanded Panama Canal that will be able to handle larger ships when the project is finally finished sometime in 2016, a plan for a competing canal in Nicaragua, which at many levels seems an impossibility, may actually just happen. The Nicaragua Interoceanic Grand Canal project would create a waterway some 276 kilometers long, including the use of Lake Nicaragua for a good portion of the passage. It would have even wider lanes than the expanded Panama Canal, allowing even larger megaships to use its service, though whether this makes any sense give US port dynamics is questionable.

Source: Global Supply Chain News: As Crazy as it Sounds, Nicaragua Grand Canal Might Just Happen

Will Brito Beach in Tola, Rivas, change from this:

Playa Brito, where the port on the Pacific Side of Nicaragua's Interoceanic Canal will be built

Playa Brito, where the port on the Pacific Side of Nicaragua’s Interoceanic Canal will be built

To this?

Panama Canal, Pacific Side Entrance

Panama Canal, Pacific Side Entrance

We’ll just have to see about that, won’t we? In the meantime, I really like this opinion piece from Supply Chain Digest because it speaks to the needs of global commerce and the reality that these super-large ships are in the ocean now, and that even the expanded Panama Canal can’t handle them. The piece details that it will save weeks of time and lots of money for these mega-ships to go through a Nicaraguan Canal.

Here’s the money quote from the piece:

So is this a real project that will come up with the massive funding required to get it off the ground, or some half-baked notion that in the end will fall of it own weight? We should know sometime in early 2016, if the Chinese and the Nicaraguans really start moving dirt or not.

Nicaragua Canal Project Won “2015 Latin American Projects of the Year Award”

Nicaragua Canal Project Won “2015 Latin American Projects of the Year Award” 2015-6-13 21:36

Bill Wild, HKND’s Chief Project Advisor (second from right), received the “2015 Latin American Projects of the Year Award” on behalf of the Nicaragua Canal Project. Photograph: HKND Group

Bill Wild, HKND’s Chief Project Advisor (second from right), received the “2015 Latin American Projects of the Year Award” on behalf of the Nicaragua Canal Project.
Photograph: HKND Group

Bill Wild, HKND’s Chief Project Advisor (second from right), received the “2015 Latin American Projects of the Year Award” on behalf of the Nicaragua Canal Project.Photograph: HKND GroupOn June 11, 2015, the three-day 13th Latin American Infrastructure Leadership Forum concluded in Antigua, Guatemala. Among the five categories of the “2015 Latin American Projects of the Year Awards”, the Nicaragua Grand Interoceanic Canal is highly recognized by the judging panel and is granted “Strategic Project of the Year Award” and “Job Creation Project of the Year Award”, making it the most noticeable project on the forum.According to the judging panel, the “Strategic Project of the Year Award” is granted to the Nicaragua Canal Project on the ground that it has demonstrated leadership, tenacity and imagination required to develop mega projects. Projects of the Year awards recognize the projects – and the leaders behind the projects – that will serve as models for vastly increased infrastructure investment in the region.

Source: Nicaragua Canal Project Won “2015 Latin American Projects of the Year Award” – Company News – HKND Group Nicaragua Canal Global Trade Project

No comment.

USA ‘Is coming for’ Daniel Ortega for the construction of the Grand Canal of Nicaragua



Latin American leaders who choose to follow an independent US policy must be prepared for any reaction that might come from Washington. Currently, the greatest discontent for the White House is generated by the president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, which the US State Department says, is acting in an “extremely hostile” US policy front, some experts believe.

Source (in Spanish): EE.UU. ‘se venga’ de Daniel Ortega por la construcción del Gran Canal de Nicaragua – RT

Short article, but IMO it’s a fairly accurate description of actual US policy towards Nicaragua and specifically the Grand Canal. Seems obvious that China owning a canal that’s actually closer and makes more economic sense to shippers to use than the Panama Canal won’t be welcomed in Washington.

The article makes a good point, that the environmental impact report directly contradicts the Obama administration’s argument. The EIR says that the canal will be viable in terms of nature conservation and water resources whereas the Whitehouse says that it will cause devastating effects of the channel on the ecology of the region.

Since the normal playbook used is to cause instability in countries and regions that don’t play along with the preferred scheme, we can expect more money to be put into the political opposition and there will be more protests.

There’s a journalist and political scientist named Igor Ignatiev who has been writing about this issue on some Russian journals such as and based on Google translations, has some very interesting observations, including the following:

It is common, in general, the US strategy: Write in your region instability, shake the political situation, and thereby block the flow of investments from other countries. No one wants to invest money where it is not clear what will happen tomorrow. This, in my view, a clear signal to China not to rush to the financing and construction of the Nicaragua Canal.

I’ll let you, dear reader, come to your own conclusions. I just present this as an alternative to the mainstream media and think it’s important to get some perspective from other sources.


Nicaragua Canal Environmental Assessment Criticized As Scientifically Weak, Technically Inadequate – Circle of Blue WaterNews

The Nicaraguan government has not made the ERM study public, nor has it indicated when it will do so. Panel members said it is imperative that the 14-volume study be available for public review.

Lake Nicaragua canal Ometepe Island ferry

Photo courtesy Guillermo A. Durán via Flickr Creative Commons
The ferry “El Che Guevara” in Muelle de Moyogalpa, a port town on Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua. The island receives about 40,000 visitors each year. Click image to enlarge.


“That is the most urgent short-term concern with the process,” said Ryan Stoa, a lawyer and senior scholar at Florida International University who helped to organize the independent review panel. “The government is holding it back. It’s hard for anyone to judge the merits of the study without seeing the research in its entirety. It’s troubling for us that the government has not publicly released the report, or even indicated when they will do so. While the science we reviewed was problematic, I expect the final ESIA will raise serious concerns about the impacts of the canal. It’s imperative that the public have access to that research sooner rather than later.”

Expert panel finds “scientifically indefensible” conclusions in 14-volume study.

Source: Nicaragua Canal Environmental Assessment Criticized As Scientifically Weak, Technically Inadequate – Circle of Blue WaterNews

Well, in case anyone wanted to know if the proposed Interoceanic Canal of Nicaragua was a complete sham or not, this article by “Circle of Blue” (which is an environmental group concerned with all things water-related) appears to seal the deal. If the environmental assessment is criticized on not only the environmental impacts but more broadly, on the overall feasibility (or lack thereof) of the project, then the investors will not put a centavo into this scheme and it will die an ugly death, hopefully with little actual screwing around with the environment.

So back to theory “A” of the canal deal; that it is a huge land grab by Chinese nationals on a wide and long swath of southern Nicaragua. Let’s just hope the powers that be are so ashamed of themselves and face the wrath of every environmentalist in the world so that they stop while they’re behind as far as actually trying to see this through, or even to see the sham through.

Mega canal project threatens to uproot Nicaragua’s farmers

A Chinese-financed shipping canal in the works to connect Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast to the Caribbean would dwarf Panama’s famous waterway. But while Nicaraguan officials say the project will create much-needed jobs, human rights advocates and environmental groups are protesting the construction. Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports on the controversy.


JUDY WOODRUFF: Next to Nicaragua and a massive project to connect the hemispheres with another canal that’s stirring up controversy.

Special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports.

FRED DE SAM LAZARO:They came by the busload. They piled into cattle trucks. They came by horse and mule from miles around for a rally that likely tripled the population of the dusty little town of Los Chiles.

At stake was Nicaragua’s sovereignty, they chanted, sold to the Chinese. The object of their protest is a shipping canal to be built by a Chinese company. As described in this video dubbed from Chinese into Spanish for Nicaraguans, it would stretch 170 miles across the country to connect its Pacific coast to the Caribbean and thus the Atlantic.

It’s not a new idea. The Americans once considered it. This map from 1870 shows a proposed route for a shipping shortcut between the Earth’s hemispheres. In the end, the U.S. Congress opted to build in Panama.

Nicaragua’s waterway will dwarf the Panama Canal, three times as long and twice as deep. Cost estimates range from $50 billion to $100 billion.

read the rest here-> Mega canal project threatens to uproot Nicaragua’s farmers.

You gotta love the faux-concern in  Judy Woodruff’s voice here as she introduces the topic of the Nicaraguan Interoceanic Canal as being soooo “controversial.” Not to say she’s not correct in that the canal is getting people excited, both positively and negatively, but let’s make sure we understand that PBS Newshour has an agenda and a viewpoint here, okay?

With that in mind, this is a balanced piece of reporting IMO, although like many news reports on the canal, certain conclusions have already been drawn before a real environmental and social impact report has been released. Specifically, when you hear someone say that the environmental damage will be so terrible and the financing so suspect, you can’t really say one way or another about these subjects yet since the formal reports have not been released and that funding will only come after the environmental and other feasibility studies are released and thoroughly studied by the parties involved.

So it is a bit of a cart before the horse situation here. Now once the reports are released, it is open season against HKND unless there is a clear committment to mitigation of any environmental damages that will be proven by a large part of the budget being committed to repairing any damages and engineering solutions to prevent extensive harm being caused by the building and running of the canal assuming it ever goes into operation.

The Sandinista's canal spokesman says the route is being moved south, but how far south will it go?


In Nicaragua, can Chinese move the canal, avoid Rio San Juan, and still play golf? | Nicaragua Dispatch

“Hey, better make that a Par 3, Wang” #HKND

The Sandinista's canal spokesman says the route is being moved south, but how far south will it go?

via In Nicaragua, can Chinese move the canal, avoid Rio San Juan, and still play golf? | Nicaragua Dispatch.

Nicaragua Insiders say…

Seems to me as an outside observer that it is quite possible that the canal’s planning and project management process is already broken, even at this early stage of the project. A canal cannot successfully be built properly given what appears to be the arbitrary nature of the outcomes of the planning process. Furthermore, an overall lack of transparency occludes any ability to see if this announced change really makes any sense or not.

On the surface (and maybe this is too harsh) this decision tells all the activist groups that they had better escalate and perhaps incite some violence, which cannot end well. They’d better get on the receiving end of some serious beatings delivered by the national police force, put out some publicity, and then watch as HKND makes concession after concession.

In this example, HKND is changing the route, but we don’t know why they chose the original route, and the decision to move the route seems to be based on mostly political and social reasons rather then environmental or feasibility reasons.

If, as Tim Rogers so correctly surmises, this might lead to a possible partial use of the Rio San Juan as the main canal route entering Lake Nicaragua, that is a game changer as far as both the environmental impacts and the political impacts as then Costa Rica would feel the need to get involved. Even though at the western end of the Rio San Juan the river doesn’t touch Costa Rican territory, Nicaragua’s southern neighbor would still raise a huge fuss and have some serious pull in terms of Western media propaganda.

Just imagine the following press release “eco-friendly, military-free Costa Rica fighting its aggressive northern neighbor, socialist President for Life Daniel Ortega from ruining the pristine ecosystem, Chinese Chinese, blah blah blah…”)

At least they could work towards managing their publicity and news releases a bit better to not come off looking so half-cocked! And yes, HKND if you are reading this, I am available for consulting!

The Nicaragua Canal: A Step towards development – English

The Nicaragua Canal: A Step towards development

The Nicaragua Canal: A Step towards development. 54295.jpeg

Manágua, the capital, and the whole country celebrate the fulfillment of a century-old yearning: the building of a work that promises to become a valuable trade and communication route, in addition to giving a major boost to the development of this nation. In December the construction works for the Grand Canal began.

Managua (Prensa Latina) For Nicaragua, December is the month of great events and this 2014, for many, will be remembered in the history of the country and the world: the expected Christmas festivities accompanied the start of construction of the “Grand Canal”.

42 years ago, in the last days of 1972 Managua was devastated by an earthquake of 6.2 magnitude on the Richter scale that caused the death of over 10,000 people and enormous material damage.

read the rest at: The Nicaragua Canal: A Step towards development – English

As you may have seen on this blog before. Here, here, and here for example, we’ve posted several stories on the Great Interoceanic Canal of Nicaragua (!!) that take their lead from what I observe as a U.S focus on the hemisphere, i.e. concern for where the funding is coming from, the impact on the environment, the impact on people living on the land the canal will be built in/on, whether this is purely a Chinese- and others-land grab, etc.

This article comes from a website known by most for their propaganda, the used-to-be Soviet, now Russian Federation mouthpiece for newspeak, Pravda. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t distinguish this source of information as either better or worse from any particular promulgator of agitprop and indoctrination, I just note these for your benefit, oh reader(s)…while trying to help make sense of the whole Canal project.

I’ll admit that I initially came into this from an anti-Canal point of view. Based on some new developments in this story, I am starting to come around to view the project in a more positive light with several big IFs, WHAT IFs, and WTFs? still hanging around that serve to put a restraint on a real gung-ho old-fashioned Chamber of Commerce push for the project at any cost.

Far from it actually, as trust in all the parties involved to do the right thing (by whose measure?) must be earned by actions and good works rather than solely vague statements based more on aspirations than on real results.

This piece is a pure fluff piece, as if readers won’t remember Pravda from the good old days of mutually assured destruction and all that cool James Bond spy stuff! Or, if you’re too young for that (enjoy your youth hehehe) take a look at a map and understand that both China and Russia are very interested in having about 9% of worldwide shipping pass through a little country like Nicaragua that isn’t necessarily in the back pocket of the USA. Enjoy!

Breaking Ground on the Nicaragua Canal – The New Yorker


A few days before Christmas, in Brito, Nicaragua, on the Pacific coast, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the world’s latest megaproject. The Nicaragua Canal is expected to take five years to complete and cost fifty billion dollars; when finished (if it is ever finished), the hundred-and-seventy-two-mile canal will bisect Nicaragua from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.

via Breaking Ground on the Nicaragua Canal – The New Yorker.

Now the New Yorker magazine is in on the reporting on the Nicaraguan Interoceanic Canal. Mostly brings up the same points and questions that anyone following this developing story is already familiar with. As usual, it takes the naysayer’s point of view and doesn’t represent too well the positive possibilities of the developed canal and how it can help Nicaragua. I think the New Yorker can do better reporting!