Viewing cable 03KUWAIT2823
Title: DART: UPDATE OF WORK AT THE PORT OF UMM QASR

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
03KUWAIT28232003-06-25 10:14:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Kuwait
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 KUWAIT 002823 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE ALSO PASS USAID/W 
STATE PLEASE REPEAT TO IO COLLECTIVE 
STATE FOR PRM/ANE, EUR/SE, NEA/NGA, IO AND SA/PAB 
NSC FOR EABRAMS, SMCCORMICK, STAHIR-KHELI, JDWORKEN 
USAID FOR USAID/A, DCHA/AA, DCHA/RMT, DCHA/FFP 
USAID FOR DCHA/OTI, DCHA/DG, ANE/AA 
USAID FOR DCHA/OFDA:WGARVELINK, BMCCONNELL, KFARNSWORTH 
USAID FOR ANE/AA:WCHAMBERLIN 
ROME FOR FODAG 
GENEVA FOR RMA AND NKYLOH 
DOHA FOR MSHIRLEY 
ANKARA FOR AMB WRPEARSON, ECON AJSIROTIC 
AMMAN FOR USAID 
 
E.O. 12958:  N/A 
TAGS: EAID PREF IZ WFP
SUBJECT:  DART: UPDATE OF WORK AT THE PORT OF UMM QASR 
 
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SUMMARY 
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¶1.  The Iraqi Director of Ports is very concerned about 
security in the port and is frustrated by his lack of 
knowledge about what is occurring at the port.  Bechtel's 
large dredger, the Carolina, is to finish dredging berth 10 
(bulk grain facility) on 18 June.  It will then turn its 
dredging efforts to the new port.  U. N. Development 
Programs (UNDP) began dredging operations at the old port on 
11 June.  Daily maintenance dredging will be required once 
the initial dredging operations are completed.  Bechtel has 
begun cleaning the grain silos and is doing repairs. 
However, due to continual setbacks, Bechtel is leery of 
giving a start date for the use of the grain facility, but 
hopes for end of July.  Twelve major wrecks have been 
identified under the Umm Qasr waterways.  Ten need to be 
removed, but additional wreckage is continually being 
identified.  Port workers have received April salary 
payments and should soon also receive May and June payments. 
Increased looting from recent ship arrivals of U.N. World 
Food Program (WFP) food has occurred.  There are currently 
84 security guards at the port, however they are not armed 
and there are no current plans to arm them.  In addition, it 
has been decided to train 300 Iraqi ex-navy and ex-coast 
guard to provide security at the new and old ports.  They 
will be uniformed and armed, and their start date is hoped 
to be 20 June, which coincides with the arrival date of 
several WFP-contracted vessels to the old port.  16 June 
marked the opening of the port to commercial traffic.  End 
Summary. 
 
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BACKGROUND 
----------- 
 
¶2.  The weekly port meetings of 5 and 12 June in Umm Qasr 
were co-chaired by Stevedoring Services of America (SSA) and 
the Iraqi Director of Ports, who was elected by the port 
workers in mid-April.  Also in attendance were British 
military officials, Bechtel, Office of the Coalition 
Provisional Authority (OCPA)/Lower South, Naval officers 
from the Bahrain Naval Station, WFP, the Chairman of the Umm 
Qasr Local Council, USAID, and USAID/DART Chief Food 
Officer. 
 
¶3.  On 5 June, The Director of Ports opened the meeting, 
expressing two priority concerns.  The first was security at 
the port.  He said that Bechtel has had things stolen and 
that the Iraqi police have lost confidence, as they have no 
way to control the looters and have no means of 
communication.  His second concern was repairing the marine 
vessels at the port, such as the tugboats and channel 
cutter. 
 
¶4.  On 12 June, the Iraqi Director of Ports said that the 
port used to function well and the various workers knew 
their jobs.  Now he is frustrated, as he said he does not 
know what is going on at the port.  There is no revenue 
coming in for him to pay salaries or make upgrades.  (Note: 
The lack of resolution over the port fees charged by SSA 
affects the lack of revenue coming to the port.  End 
Comment.) 
 
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DREDGING 
-------- 
 
¶5.  Bechtel reported that the "Carolina," which is the very 
large dredger, continues its work at the bulk grain 
facility, berth 10.  When finished, it will have dredged a 
channel 300 meters long, 50 meters wide and 12.5 meters 
deep.  At the berth itself, the depth will be dredged to 
13.5 meters.  Bechtel anticipates completing the job on 18 
June.  At berth 10, Bechtel has found large objects under 
the water, but they are deeper than 13.5 meters so will not 
affect ships coming into port.  Bechtel is using the one 
Iraqi dredger out of five that is working, the Ramalah, as a 
"washing" tool to clear away other debris at berth 10. 
 
¶6.  On 19 June, Bechtel plans to begin dredging the new 
port.  It will begin with berths 20 and 21 and dredge to a 
depth of 12.5 meters.  When finished dredging the berths, 
Bechtel has recommended to USAID/Asia Near East Bureau (ANE) 
that it continue to dredge the full length of the new port, 
a swath 200 meters long and 12.5 meters deep, which would 
take five to six months to complete.  There is one wreck 
under this channel that is one of the wrecks to be removed 
by UNDP's contract with the Turkish company, but Bechtel 
said that it could dredge around the wreck if UNDP has not 
removed it in time.  Bechtel is awaiting approval from 
USAID/ANE for this last piece. 
 
¶7.  Bechtel was originally contracted to also dredge the 
berths at the old port but reported that USAID removed the 
old port from its scope of work (SOW).  Bechtel has been 
told that U.N. Development Program (UNDP) received funding 
from the Japanese to dredge the areas at the old port, 
however it is Bechtel's understanding that the contract is 
to dredge to a depth of 9.5 meters, which already exists. 
Unfortunately, no representative from UNDP was at the 
meeting to clarify this point or give a start date for the 
UNDP dredging.  Subsequently, DART was successful in 
contacting UNDP.  UNDP reported to DART that it intends to 
dredge all berths at the old port and work began on 11 June. 
 
¶8.  Before the war, the Iraqis had five dredgers at the 
port.  Bechtel has surveyed the functionality of the 
dredgers and has determined that two should be scrapped for 
parts, two need a complete overhaul, and one is in good 
condition and currently working, the Ramalah. 
 
¶9.  After all the dredging is completed, daily maintenance 
dredging will be required in the port. 
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GRAIN FACILITY AT UMM QASR 
--------------------------- 
 
¶10.  Bechtel also has the responsibility to clean and repair 
the silos that are part of the grain facility (berth 10) at 
the port and reported on 5 June that work is "behind."  The 
silo complex is huge, with 24 silos, located in between the 
new and old ports and comes under the management of the 
Ministry of Trade Grain Board, rather than the Ports 
Management.  Bechtel reported that it has two emergency 
generators at the silo.  One works well and can power the 
silo, but is insufficient for continual use.  Generator 
power at the silo is required, as Bechtel said that power 
from the sub-station will take "quite awhile to repair."  26 
additional generators were to arrive 13 June, and will be 
used for the grain facility and to power new lights at the 
old port (lights have been provided by WFP). 
 
¶11.  Even though cleaning of the silos had begun several 
weeks ago, the original plan failed.  Nevertheless, Bechtel 
is again moving forward with cleaning the silos and making 
repairs.  Bechtel has hired an Iraqi company for the 
cleaning and anticipates that it will take approximately two 
weeks to complete.  (Note:  The cleaning of the silo is a 
pre-requisite to its use.  End Note.)  . 
 
¶12.  Sabotage at the silo has been a continued problem. 
About two weeks ago, circuit breakers were removed in a 
strategic manner so Bechtel halted the repairs for a few 
days.  During a visit with USAID Administrator Natsios on 16 
June, Bechtel stated that no looting had occurred in the 
last week.  Bechtel had hoped the grain facility would be 
ready to receive grain by early July.  However, with 
continual setbacks Bechtel is now predicting end July, but 
hesitates to give any date. 
 
------------------------------------ 
RECOVERING WRECKAGE UNDER THE WATER 
------------------------------------ 
 
¶13.  Bechtel reported that twelve major wrecks have been 
identified under the Umm Qasr waterways.  Two are at berth 
10 and deep enough as not to be problematic.  Bechtel has 
sub-contracted Titan Maritime to remove five of the wrecks, 
and UNDP has the contract for the other five.  Bechtel said, 
however, that if UNDP did not move swiftly enough in 
removing them, that Bechtel would have its sub-contractor do 
the job.  Additional wrecks are continually being 
identified. 
 
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SALARY PAYMENTS 
--------------- 
 
¶14.  On 4 June, provision of salary payments to the port 
workers for the month of April was completed.  By 15 June, 
CPA/Lower South anticipates providing payments for May, and 
hopes to give out June salaries by the end of the month. 
These payments are in addition to the 20 USD emergency 
payments. 
 
¶15.  Because the silo workers come under the MOT's Grain 
Board, those workers have not yet been paid, as the list had 
just been compiled and given to CPA/Lower South prior to the 
5 June port meeting.  (Note:  It was said after the meeting 
that the silo workers would prefer to come under the 
management of the port instead of the Grain Board(GB) 
because they consider the GB to be corrupt.  End Note.) 
 
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SECURITY 
---------- 
 
¶16.  Security remains a major problem at the port, and 
during the last two days of discharging the M/V Orbit, the 
looting intensified.  On 10 June, WFP told the DART that 
looting of broken food bags had started with the recent 
discharge of WFP ship M/V Nanking (which arrived 2 June) and 
continued with the M/V Orbit.  It intensified however during 
the night of 9 June when a truck came in and loaded up five 
to eight MT of wheat flour.  Subsequently, during the day on 
10 June, the looting further increased when men, armed with 
pistols and grenades, carried away whole bags of wheat flour 
from the M/V Orbit in broad daylight.  No one dared to do 
anything to stop them as the stevedores were frightened. 
(Note:  The M/V Orbit departed on 11 June.  End Note.) 
 
¶17.  During the 5 June meeting, the Director of the Ports 
had said that security was his number one concern, which was 
later echoed by the Chairman of the Local Council, saying 
that it is the "key to achieving everything." 
 
¶18.  SSA stated that security inside the port was its 
responsibility under the USAID contract and the perimeter 
security came under the responsibility of the Coalition 
forces, but that this would end 22 June.  (Note:  Even 
though it was stated that the Coalition currently held the 
responsibility for providing perimeter security at the port, 
it was not clear that this responsibility was wholly 
fulfilled.  End Note.)  Post 22 June, it is uncertain who 
has the responsibility for perimeter security.  The meeting 
attendees felt that CPA and USAID needed to discuss the 
matter.  When DART visited the port on 12 June, no semblance 
of security was witnessed at the old port, including none at 
the entrance gate. 
 
¶19.  There are currently 84 security guards at the port, 
however they are not armed and there are no current plans to 
arm them.  Their job is access control at the port.  60 of 
the 84 were trained by the British.  SSA will now assume the 
duty of training the remaining 24, as well as new hires. 
The plan is to increase the force to 250.  The Deputy Ports 
Manager said that it was not just a matter of training the 
guards, but also of hiring the right men, as "some were 
malicious."  50 ex-navy police have recently been 
transferred to provide security at the grain facility and 
CPA is trying to arm them.  In addition, one gentleman at 
the meeting announced that armed port police were now 
providing gate security, however neither SSA, the Ports 
Director, nor the British regiment knew anything about them, 
which puzzled the entire group. 
 
¶20.  On 11 June, a meeting was held at the port, chaired by 
SSA, to discuss security measures.  Also in attendance were 
the Iraqi port management, British military, and WFP.  It 
was decided to train 300 Iraqi ex-navy and ex-coast guard to 
provide security at the new and old ports.  They will be 
uniformed and armed, and their start date is hoped to be 20 
June, just in time for the arrival of six WFP-contracted 
vessels over one week's time which will berth at the old 
port. 
 
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MISCELLANEOUS 
-------------- 
 
¶21.  Bechtel plans to begin the survey of the channel very 
soon and estimates that it will take 14 days to complete. 
Following completion of the survey, Bechtel will tender for 
required work. 
 
¶22.  Bechtel has completed its assessment of the primary 
port building.  The assessment is with USAID awaiting 
approval to proceed with the work. 
 
¶23.  Also in Bechtel's SOW is the repair of marine vessels, 
such as the pilot cutter and tugboats.  As stated above, 
this work is a priority of the Director of the Ports. 
 
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COMMERCIAL TRAFFIC 
------------------- 
 
¶24.  The port ceremonially opened to commercial traffic 16 
June with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by USAID 
Administrator Andrew S. Natsios and Ambassador Olsen of 
CPA/Lower South.  SSA states that humanitarian assistance 
shipments will remain their number one priority, even after 
commercial shipments begin.  No customs will be charged 
throughout 2003, but customs checks will be made for 
contraband and unmanifested cargo. 
 
URBANCIC