Grand Bahama Shipyard - Blast off with expert maintenance and renovation

Strategically located along major international shipping routes, with a variety of technological expertise to hand, Grand Bahama Shipyard is one of the most popular shipyards for cruise ship maintenance and renovation worldwide. With demand showing no sign of abating, the company has been steadily investing in equipment and talent to increase capacity. World Cruise Industry Review finds out more from vice-president of sales and marketing Graham Couser.

What has Grand Bahama Shipyard been doing to increase capacity in order to match the high demand from cruise lines?

Graham Couser: Grand Bahama Shipyard (GBSL) is the largest ship repair yard in the Caribbean, and is committed to continual assessments of our customers' needs. This year, we have addressed this demand by upgrading our workshops, purchasing new machinery and tooling, and expanding our wet-berth capabilities. All of this helps us relieve pressure from the dry dock and move vessels into service faster.

Investment has also been made in our leadership. We have strengthened the executive team by adding Ian Ross, a new HSEQA vice-president; Don Keirce, vice-president of operations; Adrian Baboi, cruise project development consultant; and Charles Nugent, vice-president of special projects. Three international sales consultants have also been added to our marketing and sales division, their prime objectives to develop future projects with our customers and ensure the required processes, qualified labour, facilities, equipment and tooling is available to efficiently complete retrofit, refurbishment and revitalisation projects.

What have been your major additions in terms of machinery, and how will these help you to continue your track record for the timely completion of projects?

In January 2016, GBSL invested in a GEDA equipment and personnel elevator to relieve pressure from the dock cranes. It is capable of moving 2t of materials or equipment, allowing a quick commute from the dock floor to specific deck levels and job sites, while the cranes remain in constant service, moving containers and waste to and from the upper deck. We have had great feedback from owners and contractors about the new elevator, and it adds to the overall efficiency of the operation, significantly aiding the tight schedules required for success.

What advantages does the Manitowoc 18000 crane bring to GBSL and how will it help your customers?

For the first time, GBSL has the capacity to lift major structures and components at our North Beach Wharf site. We recently lifted ten diesel gensets in fully outfitted housing, weighing 60t, with the Manitowoc 18000 crane. Before, such items had to be disassembled by the supplier into smaller units for lifting while the vessel was in dock. It is also a helpful asset for our offshore clients.

You have also invested in hull and tank blasting equipment - how does this strengthen your existing capabilities within coating and blasting?

This year, we purchased an abrasive recovery system from Munkebo 2000, ultra-high-pressure (UHP) blasting equipment from Flow and blasting robots from Waterjet Robotics. This new equipment allows GBSL to efficiently complete extensive hull treatment work and effectively reduces on-dock repair time.

Of the blasting robots, four are capable of blasting 400m² a day and two are capable of blasting 1,000m² a day. The Munkebo 2000 abrasive recovery system, specifically for tank blasting, is capable of blasting 20m². Finally, the Flow UHP blasting equipment consists of 19 machines each powering four guns, each of which is capable of blasting an average of 70m² a day.

What challenges and opportunities do your clients currently face in maintenance and renovation?

One of the major maintenance challenges is the need to remove exhaust-gas emissions, which is currently being met by investing in and installing scrubber systems.

A big challenge in renovation is the task of incorporating the latest dining and entertainment trends into a ship environment. With cruise now extending beyond its traditional routes and customer base, cruise lines must be aware not only of regional tastes and expectations, but also of the demands of a new type of cruiser. This also includes the technical and operational issues that vary from one side of the world to the other.

What have been the most significant projects you've undertaken this year?

So far, our major dry-docking projects have included: Liberty of the Seas, Prinsendam, Carnival Sunshine and Norwegian Dawn.

On Liberty, we carried out classification, general routine maintenance and renovation over 23 days starting in January. This included the fabrication and fitting of a two-deck aluminium accommodation block, to house 41 luxury suites - a major project that we started three months prior to the dry dock. We also facilitated the installation of a state-of-the-art water park and carried out considerable hull blasting using our Flow UHP blasting equipment.

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