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it’s 108 miles to Miami, some 1,200 miles to the Panama
Canal and just over a thousand miles to Houston. In nau-
tical terms, these are but short distances and, as such,
places the company in the midst of heavily traveled
Caribbean and Gulf Coast cruise liner and commercial shipping
lanes. On top of this convenient access, the shipyard also fea-
tures the region’s two largest floating docks.
Founded in 1999, and named after the country that serves as
its home base, Grand Bahama Shipyard was initially established
to meet the repair and docking needs of the region’s popular
cruise line industry. Most North American cruises sail the
Caribbean, and the Bahamas is the busiest port of call. The cruise
ship segment’s needs are time critical, as Grand Bahama’s Chief
Executive Officer and Chairman Carl-Gustaf Rotkirch points
out. “The segment is a seasonal market with most repair and
maintenance work conducted primarily during the winter and
spring. Ships must be fully operable when the peak season starts.”
But the commercial ship segment became another major focus.
“We set an objective to attain at least half of our revenues from
commercial ships, specifically for the gas and oil industry, which
has a significant presence in the Gulf region,” says Rotkirch.
The commercial segment includes seismic ships, general
cargo ships and tankers, and the company has also begun taking
on offshore fabrication projects, adds Rotkirch. Grand Bahama
Shipyard has surpassed what it initially hoped to achieve.
“Today, commercial customers comprises about 60 percent of
our business,” he reports. “When we first started, they repre-
sented only 25 percent of our work.”
With this expanding customer base, the company has expanded
its facilities. About three years ago, Grand Bahama Shipyard
(which once had to turn down business due to inadequate capac-
ity) invested approximately $50 million in infrastructure that
included acquiring an additional floating dock and preparing
some 1,300 feet of wet berthing.
Today, the company has three wet berths. The Finger Pier berth
can moor vessels up to 1,000 feet on both sides. The water depth
alongside the pier exceeds 50 feet. The North Beach wet berth,
with its heavy mooring facilities, can moor vessels up to 1,115
feet. It also has a water depth that exceeds 50 feet. The East
Beach berth includes 1,000 feet of mooring facilities and has a
water depth of 40 feet.
Currently, the shipyard maintains three floating docks. Two of
these measure about 1,000 feet in length. The third measures 880