Saturday, January 29, 2011

Shipyard docks its largest cruise liner

Despite a recent incident involving one of the dry docks at the Grand Bahama Shipyard, the company is forging ahead, and is currently working on a new project – undertaking scheduled repairs to the Liberty of the Seas cruise ship.
On Saturday, the company experienced a mishap which caused some equipment to be damaged, but was later corrected.
Yesterday, Senior Vice President of Operations Reuben Byrd explained that during the torrential rains on Friday, one of the employees left some tanks open on the dry dock.
"We got a lot of water in there and once the water rose to a certain level, the dock started to, not sink, go down in the water a little bit," he said.
A few welding machines and light towers were submerged, the value of which Byrd estimated to be in the range of $5,000 – $7,000.
There was a ship on the dock at the time and as a safety precaution the crew was removed from the vessel.
Byrd shared that after some calculations, workers were eventually able to bring the dock back up, and that it was back to its regular operational standard.
"It was human error and it was a mishap, but it won't happen again. It was one of those things that should have never happened," he said.
Meanwhile, the Liberty of the Seas docked at the shipyard on Sunday and will depart on Saturday.
The ship, which is 1,112 feet long and holds 3,600 passengers, qualifies as the largest cruise ship to be docked at the facility to date. Up until last year when the Oasis of the Seas was introduced, it was the largest cruise ship in the world.
Several modifications had to be made to the shipyard, Byrd noted, in order to prepare for the large vessel, which is the first of its class to ever be docked in The Bahamas or anywhere in the hemisphere. "We had to do some alterations to the yard and do some modifications to the dry dock in order to accept it," he said.
"We actually spent, in order to dock this ship... one and a half million dollars in a new pumping facility to adequately supply cooling water and fire water – pressure for it." The company also had to make modifications to a barge, install mooring points and build a south ramp.
"We've made those modifications and now we're capable of bringing in larger vessels here than have ever been brought in," he said. The work was worth it, as the Liberty of the Seas project brought approximately $1.6 million in revenue to the company.
Byrd said, the company is experiencing a heavier workload this year than it has in the past, and he credits that in part, to the revival of the economies of countries.
In 2010, the facility docked some 23 cruise ships, and already has 24 booked for this year.
"We're able to experience additional revenue by keeping the dock booked. Right now we're experiencing something that we haven't experienced and most yards don't experience. We are currently booked we've got two gaps but one is no more than 16 days, in all three drydock schedules into June right now, which in the repair business is quite a feat," he said.

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