The Public Entity Saba requested the support of Defense to transport of 1,600kg material which is needed to construct KNMI’s new Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)/seismic monitoring station on the North Coast to measure possible seismic or volcano-related activity.
The installation on the North Coast, unlike the other GNSS/seismic equipment that has already been installed on Saba, will be completely stand-alone. Satellite communication will be used to send data to the KNMI and solar panels/batteries will be used to power the site in this uninhabited area.
The material for the monitoring station can only be transported on foot over the North Coast Trail to the remote, uninhabited Northern side of the island. Defense has agreed to provide military personnel to transport the material.
On April 5, military personnel will be transported from St. Maarten to Saba on a FRISC (Fast Raiding Interception and Special Forces Craft), after which Defense will carry the material up to the construction location of the new monitoring station. The operation on Saba is a form of military assistance. Supporting civil authorities is one of the constitutional tasks of Defense.
To enable the military personnel to immediately start their work on Saba, they have been declared essential workers by local authorities. The military unit will only be allowed to be outside their assigned quarantining location to carry out their work. They will not mingle with the local population, nor will they visit public areas, and they will adhere to all COVID-19 safety measures.
The same COVID-19 regulations will apply to the small KNMI team from the Netherlands. The KNMI team will install the new monitoring station on the North Coast and will also collect data, and inspect, and where necessary repair, the other monitoring equipment on the island.