With deployment of 40% of the world's cruise vessels and indications that newly commissioned ships will also enter service here, the Caribbean is without doubt the focus of this worldwide industry. This continuity and growth are driving influences for the Grand Bahama Shipyard.
Located in Freeport, Grand Bahama, the northernmost of the islands of the Bahamas, the yard that recently celebrated its 12th year in business has the enviable label of being the world's premier cruise vessel repair and refurbishment centre. At least 20 cruise vessels go 'dry' at the yard every year for projects ranging from routine maintenance to major refurbishments. On all occasions, Grand Bahama Shipyard (GBSL) has to be able to react and support the cruise lines, and, in its short existence, has established a hallmark for returning vessels on time and on budget, while cognisant of the environment and any required safety standards.
With continuing global economic uncertainty remaining an influence on cruise lines, new building programmes are being curtailed and the resulting lack of new tonnage is encouraging investment in the current, sometimes aging, fleets. Cruise passengers expect higher standards and diverse onboard activities, and this, coupled with the due implementation of emissions and water ballast regulations, means that demands on the yard are becoming more intense.
The resulting 'cruise season', as it is affectionately called at the yard, has led to two of the three floating docks being 90% occupied by cruise vessels, back to back, from September through to April. Using the main resource in this fashion may not be optimally beneficial for either party, and the yard has embarked on a major upgrade of its North Beach pier to enable it to accommodate cruise vessels where the works can be completed afloat. This not only releases the docks for use by other clients, it also allows crews an opportunity to get systems operational, and offers additional time for the completion of 'hotel' projects, for which dock time is not normally essential.
Traditionally, the vessels stayed in dock longer to make use of the cranes on the dock walls, which provide 24/7 assistance. The upgrade will focus on fairing the quay wall, providing two cranes capable of lifts of up to 80t and a full array of services to support the vessel. It will be ready for the onset of the 2014 cruise season.
A successful dry docking comes down to time management, and the need to factor in the unexpected and, of course, finish on time. Therefore, yard investment is not solely financial. Understanding the immediate and long-term needs of cruise lines is essential to ensuring the yard can fulfil their expectations. Continual interaction with cruise lines and meticulous planning are required to keep vessel-out-of-service time to a minimum while limiting risk and effectively controlling cost. This approach is aided by aggressively pursuing a strategy to systematically and dramatically improve production efficiency; it is essential to get this right.
Also important are a proven system to handle the logistics, in certain cases, of 600 containers; services provided in accordance with requirements throughout the yard; and a network of reliable and available subcontractors. Already established at GBSL are ABB, Chris Marine, Rolls-Royce and SBS, to name but a few. The next development for contractors is an outfitters' area for cabin assembly and the pre-staging of forms for hotel projects.
The cruise industry remains one of shipping's most exciting sectors, and the challenges for GBSL in this sector will not diminish over the next five to ten years. The yard is well versed in providing a high standard of service, based on constant dialogue and adaptability, to support its cruise line customers. Its continuous self-improvement is delivering solid and unquestionable results, which are expected to continue, thanks to the yard's systematic approach.
Grand Bahama Shipyard Limited (GBSL). A first-class ship repair facility in Freeport Harbour. GBSL is operating 3 floating dry docks one of 27,500 tonnes, one of 55,000 tonnes and one of 87,500 tonnes lifting capacity, of which two are amongst the largest in the world and can accommodate post-panamax ships. The shipyard is capable of docking any type of seagoing vessel up to 300m in length. There are deep water berthing facilities available for alongside repairs.
Increasing numbers of ship owners are taking advantage of the services offered by the shipyard, which include complete repairs, modifications and conversion services for cruise ships, tankers, general cargo, containers and offshore vessels.
Grand Bahama Shipyard Limited provides the full range of dry docking, repair, upgrade and conversion services for all types of ships. This large ship repair facility, located in Freeport, Grand Bahama, is only 80 miles from Miami and Port Everglades. Quality and HSE form an integral part of the operation. Safety, health, welfare, quality control and environmental concerns are imperative in this operation, and all aspects of this is watched closely by the management. The yard is in full compliance with the requirements of ISO 9001:2000, has recently been re-certified in accordance with OHSAS 18001, and are fully certified and operate an Environmental Management System in compliance with ISO 14001: 2004.
The yard management is proud of their qualified and motivated personnel and our partnerships with ABB, TurboUSA, Verified Services and Wartsila. Areas of expertise also include various disciplines such as steelwork, welding, mechanical, painting, electrical and other pertinent services. This, combined with a wide range of facilities, supported by modern management systems, allows Grand Bahama Shipyard to exceed the demanding standards of today's shipyard clientele.
GBSL works to the highest standards in the business and has a track record for on time delivery.