Floating dry dock to be established in Jamaica
Within the next 18 months, a floating dry dock is to be established in Jamaica to improve the country's competitiveness in providing wide-ranging ancillary services to ships traversing the east-west and north-south international shipping lanes.
This was disclosed by director general of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Peter Brady, during the International Bunker Industry Association's (IBIA) recent Caribbean Bunker Conference at the Hyatt Ziva Hotel in Montego Bay, St James.
Brady emphasised that a ship has to be dry-docked periodically, which is a statutory requirement of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS Convention), of which International Maritime Organization (IMO) contracting states are signatories.
During dry-docking, the entire ship is brought to land so that the submerged portion of the hull can be cleaned or inspected.
Rear Admiral Brady pointed out that installation of the floating dock would enhance ship repair services already being provided in Jamaica for vessels in operation.
BIG PLUS FOR JAMAICA
"The floating dry dock is a big plus for Jamaica because the ships that are trading here don't have to go to some faraway place while they are doing their trading. They can simply plan for a week or two to do the kind of dry dock and maintenance that they need and be on their way again. They won't need to do a big diversion to carry out their statutory requirements," he said.
According to Brady, if a port has the reputation of being able to attend to the needs of a ship, such as emergency repairs or inspections, with the necessary inputs and professionals in place, as will be strengthened in Jamaica's case, it is a plus for that facility.
"It will earn the reputation of being a reliable port that ships would want to call at," he contended.
The MAJ director general pointed out that Jamaica, through its geographical location, makes it strategic for ships that trade on the north-south and east-west international shipping lanes to call at local ports for ancillary services, inclusive of dry-docking, bunkering, crewing and the provisioning of supplies.
The IBIA Caribbean Bunker Conference was jointly hosted by the MAJ and IBIA from April 17 to 19.