FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida — Carnival Senior VP for Global Port and Destination Development Giora Israel yesterday revealed that the company is talks with the government to develop a $100 million dry dock at the Grand Bahama Shipyard.
“We’ve recently decided that we will proceed and look at the possibility of making a major investment of building a new dry dock and replacing the one that was damaged,” Israel said.
“We are planning to meet with government late-February or more likely the first or second week of March to discuss this new expansion of the yard, and we’re looking forward to working with government on the things that are needed from government; things that are needed from Freeport Harbour Company as to the lease extension or parts of our license where the land will be subject to renewal very soon as well as other things that we need to update in our relationship as they now enter into the 20th year of existence.
“We’re determined to make this yard again a great yard, possibly bringing it back to the number one cruise ship repair facility in the world again.
“We’re looking forward to working with government and the people of Grand Bahama to fulfill a vision that I outlined shortly after this government came into office that there is no reason for Grand Bahama not to be the maritime center of the Americas…”
Asked if there was an estimate for the project, Israel replied, “It is probably in the neighborhood of a $100 million that will cost to build such a dock.
“It will be the biggest floating dock to have been built in the last decade in the world and it’s likely to be built in China, and we’re in discussions with the yard. And, therefore, the need to talk to government about that investment.”
He was unable to say how many Bahamians would be employed as a result of the project.
In April, eight people were injured after a crane collapsed onto the Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas cruise ship, which was docked for maintenance at the shipyard
Damage to the dry dock facility affected cruise vessels docking at Grand Bahama.
According to Travel Weekly, in June, Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) disclosed to its investors that it was not possible to use Grand Bahama’s shipyards, noting that one of three of its cruises would have to be canceled.
Yesterday, Israel told reporters that damage to the facility had “a huge impact” on the company.
He said it also had significant impact on the company’s staff.
“…We have looked at our labor roster and we have sent hundreds of expatriates back to their countries,” Israel said.
“We kept some that are key to the operation and have decided to take the extraordinary step and have advised government that we will keep every Bahamian on a 40-hour week.
“We will try and not fire any Bahamians although we do not need all the workforce at all.
“We really can let a few go, maybe even a hundred go but we decided not to do so and just sweat it through a little bit until we’re able to get the operation back.”