After hosting an open day for the Saba public, writes The Daily Herald, the Royal Netherlands Navy with their support vessel ZMs. Pelikaan and its crew assisted Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF) in placing mooring blocks around the island. To protect the unique reefs in Saba Marine Park it is crucial that visiting yachts and other vessels do not drop their anchors onto the precious reefs around Saba. That would eventually destroy the invaluable coral around the island. For this reason mooring buoys are placed to which ships can be attached without the need of an anchor. These buoys need to be firmly anchored and that is where the mooring blocks come in, as it is not always possible to drill in the seabed around Saba.
Saba Marine Park first dropped mooring blocks in 1987 as part of a new initiative. Those original blocks, which have served very well for decades, were due for an upgrade. Heavier blocks with new chains and shackles will be able to support various vessels in heavy weather. The 11 new blocks, weighing four tons each, have to support anchoring vessels for years to come. It is not an easy task to drop those heavy blocks and that is where Pelikaan’s support proved to be crucial. The experienced Navy crew deftly rigged up the blocks to the crane on the deck of the ship and slowly hoisted the heavy blocks to the side of the ship. The team on the bridge moved the ship to the designated coordinates and the blocks were carefully dropped in the right locations. A Navy dive team was on standby to help out if necessary. SCF and the Island Government expressed their gratitude to the Royal Dutch Navy for their support.