‘A new era of excellence’
German Ship Repair Jamaica Limited (GSRJ) has completed restoration and maintenance services for its first client, eliciting expressions of satisfaction from company officials who said it signals “the start of a new era of excellence in ship repair and conversion and maintenance services in the region”.
“We had a lot of work to do, most of which was a first for our workers and subcontractors. We have a lot to learn, but the quality of the work and the cooperation in the industry has been excellent,” a company release quotes CEO Colonel Martin Rickman.
The client was the heavy-lift vessel Mexican Giant which was, in November, taken into GSRJ’s 235 metre-long Panamax-size floating dry dock, JAM-DOCK-1 moored at the company’s shipyard on the Sir Florizel Glasspole Highway stretch of Kingston Harbour.
Throughout the following weeks highly skilled professionals carried out the necessary maintenance works, including sandblasting, painting, polishing of propellers, as well as engine and thruster service, on the 176m-long, 25m-wide ship which has 80 accommodation rooms and a helicopter landing platform.
“We are delighted to mark this significant milestone with the docking of the Mexican Giant,” said GSRJ Chief Technical Officer Robert Kozicki. “This accomplishment is a testament to our team’s dedication, the advanced capabilities of our facility, and our commitment to delivering excellent services in the maritime sector.”
Rear Admiral Peter Brady, director general of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), was equally pleased .
“We look forward to welcoming vessels traversing the region to consider Jamaica for repairs and for statutory surveys. We anticipate that with these dock calls will come good, well-paying jobs for Jamaicans,” he said.
The 215m-long, 35m-wide floating dry dock, GSRJ’s first, was commissioned in the last quarter of 2023. It is equipped with cutting-edge technology and a highly skilled international workforce “to ensure the safety, efficiency and quality of the operations”, the company explained.
The company said that its acquisition of the floating dry dock demonstrates its “commitment to providing world-class services combining international engineering expertise with the vibrant maritime environment of Jamaica”. As such, GSRJ said it is already creating opportunities for young Jamaicans to receive training and certification in highly sought-after maritime technical skills.
The company also announced that with the successful start of its operations, co-founder and Chairman Peter Harren announced his resignation at the end of 2023.
Harren had been involved with the effort to build a shipyard in Kingston for more 20 years, along with Charlie Johnston, and he guided the company to a strong start.
His successor will be elected at a board of directors meeting scheduled for this month.
Meanwhile, the GSRJ made it clear that it is committed to following the highest international standards for safety and protection of the environment, and is carefully monitored by the National Environment Planning Agency (NEPA), the MAJ, the Port Authority of Jamaica, and other local authorities to ensure compliance with the relevant regulations and standards.
Addressing the recent fish kill in Kingston Harbour, GSRJ expressed satisfaction that NEPA had declared it blameless in that matter. At the same time, the company vowed to ensure it continues to maintain strict compliance with its environmental obligations and to settle the outstanding issues on which NEPA had suspended its licence.
In a mid-December news release, NEPA explained that the enforcement action taken against GSRJ under the Natural Resources Conservation Authority Act was for non-compliance with several conditions of its environmental permit issued in 2019 and was not related to the fish kill. NEPA also stated that GSRJ had already begun to comply with the matters identified and had submitted documents which the agency is reviewing.
GSRJ has stated its commitment to working with NEPA to ensure that it becomes fully compliant with all aspects of its environmental licence, which was reinstated on December 19, 2023, the same day that NEPA advised the public that it had identified the source of the fish kill as the flow of untreated sewage into the harbour from a sewage treatment plant located in the Harbour View area, not far from GSRJ’s shipyard.
In response, Colonel Rickman pointed out that the company conforms to the highest international environmental standards in its ship repair activities. He also said that GSRJ’s adherence to good governance and environmental policies is considered to be an integral part of its competitive edge.
“GSRJ strictly adheres to the procedures and standards on which NEPA approved and regulates our shipyard. We at GSRJ understand the importance of environmental protection and are committed to ensuring that our operations comply with all environmental regulations. We will continue to work with NEPA to ensure that our operations are environmentally sustainable and that we are doing our part to protect the environment,” he said.
With the repair work successfully completed the Mexican Giant is scheduled to leave the shipyard this week.
The next vessel scheduled to be docked in the shipyard for service is the Vikrant Dolphin, a diving support barge registered in St Kitts and operating in Mexican waters.