Product Tanker Damages Harbor Bridge in Georgetown, Guyana

Damage to the Demerara Harbor Bridge (Demerara Harbor Bridge Corporation)

Published Oct 9, 2022 10:04 PM by The Maritime Executive

The bridge across the Demerara River near Georgetown, Guyana has been damaged in an allision, the bridge operator said Saturday. 

In the early hours of Saturday morning, the product tanker Tradewind Passion was transiting the river when it allided with the open bridge. AIS data suggest that the vessel passed the bridge at about 0200 local time, then continued upriver. She reversed course and returned to a fuel pier near the bridge, where she remained as of Sunday. 

Multiple spans of the floating bridge were pushed about three feet out of position when the tanker struck, and an engineering team is working 24 hours a day to bring them back into the proper position. Nicholas Henry, a structural engineer with the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation, told Guyana's public information bureau that his team hopes to have the bridge reopened for light traffic within three days. 

"We have to work on the anchorage system," he said. "After that, we can begin to change out [damaged] components." 

Multiple new components for the bridge are being manufactured, bridge corporation manager Wayne Watson said on Sunday. Three spans need repairs, he told local Demerara Waves, and the end of one will need extensive steel work. The tanker also took out a cluster pile, and a heavier protective structure is under consideration for its replacement.

It is the second time in a month that the bridge has been struck by a vessel. A tug and its tow made contact with the bridge on September 4, pushing it out of alignment.