New wharf and breakwater at Marine Institute’s Holyrood Marine Base set the stage for future development

After 16 months, the sounds of construction at the Holyrood Marine Base have been replaced by the vibrant hum of ocean-going vessels, ocean-mapping activity and offshore safety training.

In August 2017 the Marine Institute (MI) completed the most recent phase of development at its Holyrood location. The Marine Institute reconstructed and extended the existing marginal wharf, added a finger pier, erected a breakwater and installed evacuation systems for ocean safety and survival education, training and research.

With the new wharf configuration, the new enclosed area provides protected berths for vessels and a sheltered area where students and clients can conduct in‐water training and testing in all but the most extreme conditions.

Partner support

The investment in this phase of the Holyrood development is $15 million, with 75 per cent of the project costs dedicated to the wharf construction. The development was supported with a $3-million investment from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. The Marine Institute was responsible for the remaining project costs.

“There has been tremendous support and effort from government, industry, the Town of Holyrood and within Memorial University and the Marine Institute to bring this latest phase of our Holyrood Marine Base to completion,” said Glenn Blackwood, vice-president, Memorial University (Marine Institute). “We are very pleased with the outcomes and look forward to the opportunities this new development will offer and the critical ocean access it provides for future growth.”

Opened in 2010, the marine base has evolved into a portal for the growing oceans sector in the province, including Memorial University and local ocean technology companies for innovative oceans education and research. The Town of Holyrood also features MI’s facility as part of its Oceana Cold Oceans Research and Innovation Hub strategy to attract ocean-sector research and development to the region.

“We’re moving forward in creating a centre of excellence in Holyrood that will provide our students with a world-class experience and will attract global industry partners and researchers in ocean technology and cold ocean safety and survival,” said Mr. Blackwood.

Integrated opportunities

Bringing partners and researchers to Holyrood is the job of the three centres and 20 employees now working on-site.

The institute’s Centre for Applied Ocean Technology moved to the base in 2013 to provide an at-sea location for clients to undertake applied research and development in ocean mapping and ocean observing systems.

With the recent construction, the institute transferred all of its at-sea safety and survival training, delivered by MI’s Offshore Safety and Survival Centre, to the base to take advantage of the environmentally clean waters, sheltered harbour and low-traffic volume.

The institute’s Marine Services department will also operate the training and research vessels, the MV Anne S. Pierce and MV Inquisitor, from their new berths in Holyrood, along with co-ordinating building and technical services for the base.

“The strength of Holyrood as a hub for ocean training and research lies in the expertise and calibre of our people, not just in the infrastructure that we have built,” said Mr. Blackwood.

Heavy build

Holyrood residents have watched the construction unfold as more than 15,000 cubic metres of treated timber cribbing and rock ballast, 1,757 square metres of concrete decking and 6,500 tons of armour and filter stone were put into place by RJG Construction and the 14 subcontractors that worked on the site. From new seabed mattresses to remotely operated vehicle cranes to lifeboat davits, the site is evolving into a state-of-the-art ocean hub.

“The additional infrastructure and installation of evacuation systems will provide tremendous opportunities for ocean technology companies to engage with the Marine Institute in Holyrood, not only in ocean technology, but now also cold ocean safety and survival training and research,” said Mr. Blackwood.

Realizing full potential

While this construction milestone has been achieved, the Marine Institute’s long-term vision for the site is not complete.

Plans are already underway for a second, multi-level facility, featuring classrooms, workshops, labs, public engagement space and collaborative spaces for faculty, students and industrial partners. An adjacent water lot will also facilitate activities for an underwater training field for underwater vehicle and ocean-mapping students and a testing site for research and development on prototype ocean technologies.

“The final stage of development of the Holyrood Marine Base will be transformative as we move forward to expand our capacity to undertake critical at-sea, in-water and sub-sea education and training activities and increased collaboration with industry to cement our province’s position in the global oceans technology sector,” said Mr. Blackwood.

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