Brunei History - Splitting Pelompong Spit for Muara Port


It was on 8 July 1967 when it was reported that the Pelompong Spit will be split to allow ships to pass through to the new Muara Port.


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The split spit port plan

JULY 8, 1967 – A canal will be cut through Pelompong Spit to give ocean going ships access to Brunei’s new deepwater port at Muara.

Test drilling for foundations has begun on the proposed site of the port works. It will soon be extended across the spit and out to sea to check that there is no rock formation to interfere with the course of the canal and its approach channel.

Drilling is also under way on Pulau Muara Besar opposite the port site. The western side of the island may be developed to handle repair facilities for shipping using the port.

The port scheme prepared for the Government by its consultants, Sir Bruce White, Wolfe Barry and Partners, provides for more than 1,5000 ft of berthage.

However, the overall scheme foresees much bigger development. Provision is made for oil storage tanks behind the wharves for ships’ bunkering and an industrial area may be established stretching towards Serasa in the south.

The channel and canal through Pelompong Spit will be dredged to 36 ft below the lowest low tide recorded in the area. Tests of the existing channel around the end of the spit showed the end of the spit showed it to be too shallow for the ships expected to use the port and the outer bar is too extensive for dredging.

The water off the projected wharves just north-east of the existing Muara jetty is 50 to 60 ft deep.

Final design of the port and canal depends on the results of the subsoil investigation and tests which will be carried out in Britain on a 75 sq ft scale loose bed hydraulic model of the harbour.

Tests already carried out on a smaller model showed that a bund connecting the eastern end of Pulau Muara Besar and Pelompong Spit would create the right souring effect to reduce silting of the channel and port to a minimum.

These tests, which took three months, provided the basis for the provisional siting of the canal and bund, which the Government accepted.

Eighteen months’ testing of all possible tidal and flooding conditions in the area will be carried out on the bigger model to get the precise siting of the canal and bund.

However, if the consultants’ design for the wharf installation is accepted, work can go to tender before the end of the year.

The present timetable is for Muara port to be completed by the end of 1969 or early 1970.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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