Damage to Grand Bahama Shipyard's Drydock Facility Proves Expensive

   July 24, 2019 ,   Cruise Industry

Damage to a drydock facility at Grand Bahama Shipyard (Freeport Bahamas) is proving expensive and inconvenient for the cruising industry, demonstrating how few drydock options are available on the US East Coast.

The damaged drydock (the largest of shipyard's all 3) was put out of commission on April 1, 2019, when a crane collapsed while raising the stern of Oasis OTS to repair ship's  azipods (propulsion units).

The accident forced RCI-Royal Caribbean to take the liner to an European shipyard to finish the repairs. The repairs, along with the cost of 3 canceled voyages, were estimated to cost RCI's ~USD 52 million.

The cruise company is not the only affected by the loss of the drydock. In June, Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Vista also had a problem with its Azipods and required replacements of their bearings. The work would normally have been done in dry dock at Grand Bahama, a facility jointly owned by Carnival Corp. and RCCL.

On June 20, 2019, Carnival disclosed to investors that because it wasn't possible to use Grand Bahama, the vessel would go out of service for 17 days, and 3 July itineraries from Galveston TX would be canceled. The cost was projected at between US$50-62 million, partly because it will take more time to complete.

Carnival turned to a "first of its kind" solution, loading Vista onto a semi-submersible, heavy-lift transport ship, Boka Vanguard

Grand Bahama Shipyard (Port Lucaya, Freeport)

Both situations underscore the dependence of cruise lines on Grand Bahama Shipyard for dry dock space within a quick sailing distance from the headquarters in Florida and from Eastern Seaboard ports.

At the start of 2019, Grand Bahama had a total of 25 projects scheduled for the year. It is not known how the accident will impact the total or when the damages will be repaired.