Grand Bahama Shipyard Welcomes First Commercial Vessel After Hurricane Dorian

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PHOTO: Grand Bahama Shipyard welcomes its first commercial vessel, the Agathonissos. (photo via Carnival Corporation)
Following the devastation of Hurricane Dorian, officials from the Grand Bahama Shipyard (GBS) announced Thursday the facility has resumed operations and welcomed back its first commercial vessel.

The Grand Bahama Shipyard is located in Freeport, Grand Bahama, and will once again host cruise ships when Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Ecstasy arrives on October 5. The facility will also support recovery efforts through the ongoing work of its more than 600 employees.

The Freeport shipyard also expects to service 29 dry-dockings throughout the remainder of the year and generate additional economic activity for the surrounding area of Grand Bahama.

“It was extremely important to get up and running as quickly as possible and begin taking in vessels to help support the employees and families at the shipyard, along with economic contributions and rebounding activity for the island,” Grand Bahama Shipyard CEO David Skentelbery said in a statement.

“This is a significant sign of positive progress for the island, and we look forward to continuing our normal operations while also supporting the Bahamian recovery with direct support, including to island utilities, along with increased economic activity from our operations, and also from the industry’s collective efforts to support The Bahamas with immediate and long-term relief,” Skentelbery continued.

The Grand Bahama Shipyard suffered no significant damage from the hurricane, with the only issues coming from erosion. The facility can power its core operations and communications infrastructure, as well as provide fresh water and meals in its cafeteria, which serves hundreds of workers daily.

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Bahamas Paradise Steps Up in Freeport; Runs Evacuation, Delivers Supplies

Docked in Freeport on Friday

The Grand Celebration from Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line returned to Palm Beach on Saturday morning with more than 1,100 evacuated Bahamian and American residents aboard.

The cruise line spent nearly a full day on Friday clearing potential evacuees, including vetting their visa and passport documentation, as well as landing key supplies.

The ship sailed from Palm Beach on Thursday evening on a humanitarian mission, with 300 first responders and volunteers aboard, as well as 200 Bahamian residents who were stranded in South Florida during Hurricane Dorian.

“Doctors were leaving work to join the ship,” said Oneil Khosa, CEO of Bahamas Paradise. “After making the announcement earlier in the week that we were going, we had 300 tons of supplies donated within hours.”

Prior to docking in Freeport, the crew had prepared 850 boxed lunches and delivered them to local shelters.

The ship was also loaded with 150 palettes, totalling more than 225,000 pounds of supplies, including water, food, personal hygiene products, medical equipment, generators and more. Four of these palettes were exclusively dog food, according to a press release.

“Everything is pro bono,” Khosa told Cruise Industry News. “We opened up the ship going there and going back.”

100 additional Bahamian bins were also transported, sent from family members in South Florida and delivered directly to Grand Bahama Island residents who picked them up in Freeport.

In addition to delivering supplies, medical personnel onboard also delivered a baby when visiting a local facility in Freeport.

MSC Group joins international Bahamas hurricane relief effort

Image result for MSC seaside

The vast container shipping conglomerate behind MSC Cruises is to provide temporary shelters to people left homeless due to the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian.

MSC Group’s initial efforts will focus on semi-permanent prefabricated modular housing in the areas most affected by the hurricane as well as making ships available for cargo from the US to the Freeport and Marsh Harbour container terminals.

The operation will involve its cargo shipping, cruising and its charitable foundation.

The latest aid initiative came as the death toll from Hurricane Dorian rose to 23 with fears that numbers could rise at least into the hundreds given the number of people missing across the island nation.

An estimated 76,000 people have been left in need of food and shelter with the International Red Cross estimating that 45% of homes on Grand Bahama and the Abacos – some 13,000 properties – were severely damaged or destroyed.

Dorian hit the Bahamas as a category 5 hurricane with winds reaching 185mph, matching the highest ever recorded at landfall, and stayed over affected areas for two days.

A fleet of ships from various cruise lines has been deployed on aid missions to the islands.

Royal Caribbean ships are to be re-deployed over the next few weeks to tender outside of Freeport, the Bahamas carrying goods and meals. This operation began with Empress of the Seas delivering 10,000 meals and 10,000 bottles of water.

The company is also sending container ships with emergency supplies including 47,000 bottles of water, 362 generators, 250 tarpaulins, 25,000 square feet of plywood, 55,400 nappies and 7,500 pounds of pet food.

Carnival Cruise Line is to divert the ships Carnival Pride and Carnival Liberty next week to deliver food, water and relief supplies in addition to an agreement to run shipments of aid by container ship.

Image result for carnival pride

The latest aid initiative came as the death toll from Hurricane Dorian rose to 23 with fears that numbers could rise at least into the hundreds given the number of people missing across the island nation.

An estimated 76,000 people have been left in need of food and shelter with the International Red Cross estimating that 45% of homes on Grand Bahama and the Abacos – some 13,000 properties – were severely damaged or destroyed.

Dorian hit the Bahamas as a category 5 hurricane with winds reaching 185mph, matching the highest ever recorded at landfall, and stayed over affected areas for two days.

A fleet of ships from various cruise lines has been deployed on aid missions to the islands.

Royal Caribbean ships are to be re-deployed over the next few weeks to tender outside of Freeport, the Bahamas carrying goods and meals. This operation began with Empress of the Seas delivering 10,000 meals and 10,000 bottles of water.

The company is also sending container ships with emergency supplies including 47,000 bottles of water, 362 generators, 250 tarpaulins, 25,000 square feet of plywood, 55,400 nappies and 7,500 pounds of pet food.

Carnival Cruise Line is to divert the ships Carnival Pride and Carnival Liberty next week to deliver food, water and relief supplies in addition to an agreement to run shipments of aid by container ship.

Sandals Resorts International has responded with help through its SRI Foundation.

Deputy chairman Adam Stewart said: “All three of the Sandals properties in the Bahamas have been unaffected which gives us the opportunity to focus on recovery and assisting however we can.

“We are proud to be working with the government of Jamaica and the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre to help our neighbouring island of the Bahamas who parts of which were badly affects by hurricane Dorian.

“The foundation, through the efforts of those who have supported us thus far, donated $10,000 worth of water, as a first gesture to those in Abaco, through our partner the Bahamian non-profit group HeadKnowles. A partner of Sandals has also donated $100,000 worth of cleaning material which we will also be collecting in the next 48 hours.”

MSC Group through its MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company has been present in the region for 20 years as the leading cargo import and export operator in the Bahamas. Its local headquarters are based in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

Gianluigi Aponte, executive chairman and founder of MSC Group, said: “It is heartbreaking to see the impact and devastation that Hurricane Dorian has brought over the Bahamas and its population. The thoughts and prayers of my entire family are with the people of the Bahamas and their families and loved ones.

Image result for MSC cargo ship

“As a family company and one that has lived off the sea for over 300 years, we are fully committed to supporting both immediate and longer-term relief and recovery efforts in the Bahamas.

“Our businesses have long been closely tied to the Bahamas and its people, with a rich history spanning over many decades. We now look forward to supporting their efforts to rebuild and recover in every way we can and through all our businesses.”

Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy said: “The devastation of the Bahamsa is truly tragic and heartbreaking and we are keeping them in our thoughts as we continue to offer our support and assistance.”

The US states of North and South Carolina are at risk of dangerous storm surges today before the hurricane moves towards Nova Scotia at the weekend.