Mon | Mar 4, 2024

Jamaica welcomes first vessel for dry docking; more scheduled through 2024

Published:Tuesday | November 28, 2023 | 12:07 AM
The ‘Mexican Giant’ in the JAM-DOCK 1 shipyard for repairs and maintenance.
The ‘Mexican Giant’ in the JAM-DOCK 1 shipyard for repairs and maintenance.
 The 15,000-tonne ‘Mexican Giant’ vessel docked inside the shipyard.
The 15,000-tonne ‘Mexican Giant’ vessel docked inside the shipyard.
Part of the shipyard crew providing maintenance service to the 'Mexican Giant'.
Part of the shipyard crew providing maintenance service to the 'Mexican Giant'.

THE LOCAL maritime industry marked a significant milestone with the arrival of the first vessel for dry dock servicing at the German Ship Repair Jamaica (GSRJ) Shipyard last week.

Dry docking refers to when a ship is brought to a service yard for repairs and/or maintenance, allowing for the submerged portions of the hull to be cleaned or inspected.

The Mexican Giant, which arrived on November 19, was dry docked at the newly established JAM-DOCK 1 the following day. The ship is a heavy-lift vessel utilised in the offshore oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico and is set for comprehensive repairs and servicing to ensure it meets the stringent standards of its five-year classification.

The Mexican Giant measures 179 metres in length and weighs 15,000 tonnes. It transports heavy equipment and cargo to and from oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. It boasts cutting-edge technology and is equipped with five thrusters for its built-in geo-positioning system. Additionally, it features three large cranes and a helipad for movement of personnel transfers to and from oil rigs.

Colonel Martin Rickman, the CEO of GSRJ and a retired colonel of the Jamaica Defence Force, in an interview with Shipping Industry said, “This is a brand new industry to Jamaica, and it represents a great opportunity for Jamaica to increase employment.”

Colonel Rickman said the extensive scope of work planned for the Mexican Giant includes hull cleaning, hydroblasting, sandblasting, and painting. This covers the hull’s surface area of approximately 10,500 square metres. The servicing also involves an auxiliary engine overhaul, propeller cleaning and repairs, structural element repair and painting, and non-destructive testing of the vessel’s hull. Colonel Rickman anticipates that the entire process will take three to four weeks.

Additionally, he highlighted the positive impact on employment, stating, “Right now we have approximately 70 persons directly employed, but we have a lot of subcontractors who are working, who have to also employ persons to work. So, in total, at the start-up phase here, we have over 100 persons that have gained employment because of the development of GSRJ Shipyard.”

He continued that the potential for foreign exchange earnings and expanded services within the shipping industry is significant. “We are already starting to attract a lot more international attention. We have upwards of 10-15 more requests to dry dock vessels already, and we just started,” said Colonel Rickman. “For the same reason that we have Jamaica as a trans-shipment port, is the same reason why a lot of these ships will come to Jamaica to get their dry docking services.”

Looking ahead, Colonel Rickman revealed that the shipyard has already scheduled the next vessel for dry docking on December 15, 2023. Despite just opening its doors, the shipyard has garnered significant interest, with reservations extending into 2024. Colonel Rickman assured that efforts are being made to maintain competitive pricing and remain attractive to international clients.

“We are starting to put schedules together for various vessels depending on when they are requesting. There are vessels that are requesting up to August next year, because they have to plan for it from early, so right up into 2024, we have several requests already.”