Efforts are underway to expand the capacity of the Grand Bahama shipyard located in Freeport, Bahamas. According to the government of the Bahamas, the new investment will be one of the largest investments in the history of the island. Once completed, the yard will be able to handle and maintain the largest ships in the world.
Developed in response to the cruise industry’s desire to have a shipyard close to its base of operations in Florida and the Caribbean, the Grand Bahama Shipyard began in 2000 with a dry dock capable of handling vessels of up to 27,000 tonnes displacement. The yard added a second dry dock in 2001 capable of handling vessels up to 50,000 tonnes displacement and in 2009 a third dry dock was added, giving the yard a lifting capacity of up to approximately 82,500 tonnes. of displacement. Ownership of the yard includes 40% stake in Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Group, with the remaining portion held by the Grand Bahama Port Authority.
“I am pleased to announce that Carnival and Royal Caribbean have agreed to a new combined investment of approximately $ 350 million in the Grand Bahama Shipyard,” Bahamian Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said recently, in the House of Assembly. “To understand the magnitude of this investment, the House may recall that the initial investment and other investments to date in the shipyard have totaled approximately $ 250 million.”
Carnival Corporation has confirmed the investment plans, which will be used to expand the capacity of the yard. Most of the investment will go to adding two large dry docks capable of handling new generations of cruise ships. Currently, the largest cruise ships must head to Europe for their maintenance and overhauls.
Grand Bahama’s largest dry dock was damaged in an accident in April 2019. They were performing a partial lift of one of the world’s largest cruise ships, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, when the dock cracked and one of the cranes overturned, hitting the cruise ship. The yard also suffered damage during Hurricane Dorian in September 2019, but continued to operate while plans for the future were made.
Giora Israel, Carnival Corporation’s senior vice president for port and destination development, told the Bahamas Tribune Business newspaper that the plan was to build two new drydocks, one of which will be the largest floating drydock in the Americas. . They explored the construction of the docks in Europe but determined that they will be built in Asia.
Dr Minnis, speaking about the plans, said the expansion of the Grand Bahama shipyard is expected to begin as early as October. The new dry docks are expected at the site in the second half of 2022.
“Grand Bahama is on the move and Grand Bahama is coming back,” Dr. Minnis told the House of Assembly, quoted by Tribune Business. “The government and shipyard owners will be working on a new partnership agreement that will benefit the people of Grand Bahama. “
The expansion of the Grand Bahama Shipyard facility provides cruise lines with a nearby facility to meet the needs of its ships. The shipyard was also working to expand its range of services, including supporting more work on the hotel side of cruise ships hosting the large revitalization projects that some cruise lines have undertaken to modernize older ships.