The Grand Bahama Shipyard released its first repaired cruise ship post-Hurricane Dorian earlier this week, which its management said is a testament to the resilience of the company and Grand Bahama as a whole.
The Carnival Ecstasy was at the shipyard for ten days and was the second ship to be docked and repaired since the storm, Chief Executive Officer of the Grand Bahama Shipyard David Skentelbury told Guardian Business, “This is the second ship since the hurricane, this is the first cruise ship. We’ve done steel work, mechanical work, painting and it now looks very pretty and ready to go and on time, which is even more important for us.”
“After the hurricane we had significant damage in the yard, but all damage that we’ve managed to get over. We had the yard open and ready for operations by September 8, which I think is testament to our planning and readiness for major events. We had some erosion damage to the key sites and flood damage to the offices and the workshops, which we’re still dealing with, but we’re working around that.”
With another ship set to dry dock on October 18, Skentelbury said the foremost priority has been returning to operations to sustain the livelihoods of the nearly 700 people employed at the shipyard.
“The important thing for us is to get the business up and running. These salaries feed a lot of people on the island,” he said.
“Business is looking good, the future is looking good and we’re ready to take on whatever the next challenge is thrown at us.”
Despite revenue loss due to the shipyard being closed for ten days during and in the aftermath of the storm, which Skentelbury described as “nothing significant”, he said things are back to normal.
“I think we’re there really. We work in a global market so we compete globally for ships so we’re open for business and as far as we’re concerned we’re there,” he said.
“We’ve got lots of areas where we have concerns and issues. Four feet of water came through here so some days we go to start something and it doesn’t work, so you do your best. For us, we’ve got a very good team here and if you work your way through the issues, like that ship it’s gone out on time in budget, happy customer and that’s what this is all about. So yes, we’re going to have problems, you [have] problems at the shipyard every day.”
Acting Chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority Sarah St. George said that the shipyard hasn’t laid anybody off, and has kept its workforce, is a proud moment.
“We kept them safe, you can imagine the cleanup that was necessary after the storm and it’s very proud to see the industrial sector getting off the ground like that. And then the tourism side in terms of cruise ships coming, we’re seeing that too so this is absolutely momentous for us,” she said.
“This was a pretty devastating storm, and probably the most devastating we’ve every seen in terms of the damage that it caused throughout the island; destruction of the airport, destruction of the hospital, destruction of the water plants and a remarkable job has taken place in the last six weeks or so to bring the island back and this is a very good example of it. The Grand Bahama shipyard…wasted absolutely no time in getting back to business.”