Jamaica’s first floating dock arrives

GERMAN SHIP Repair Jamaica Limited (GSRJ), a private joint venture of German, Turkish and Jamaican investors, has welcomed its first floating dock to Jamaica. The 215- metre-long Panamax-size dock arrived in Kingston on August 24.

It was towed across the Atlantic by the deep-sea tug Titan from its previous home port in Bremerhaven, Germany. The dock is moored at its new home port at the GSRJ shipyard in Kingston Harbour, where it will be commissioned in the weeks ahead.

Since arriving, the floating dock has been registered with the Jamaica Ship Registry, which is administered by the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), and renamed from Dock V to JAM-DOCK 1. The GSRJ shipyard has been approved as a Special Economic FreeZone under the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority and has been granted all required environmental permits from the National Environment and Planning Agency.

Colonel (retd) Martin Rickman, chief executive officer of GSRJ, said, “We are extremely happy to see this multimillion-dollar project finally culminating in this historic arrival of the first dock to be commissioned in Jamaica. This provides a golden opportunity for local and international vessels to be repaired in Jamaica. This will lift Jamaica’s profile in the international maritime sphere. We already have international vessels lined up for repair in the newly arrived floating dock.”

In the meantime, additional local and international skilled staff are being recruited for the shipyard operations. This new industry within Jamaica will generate job opportunities for young Jamaicans in highly skilled technical jobs with international certification. The first Jamaicans who successfully graduated from GSRJ’s Dual Apprenticeship Programme, supported by the HEART/NSTA Trust and the Caribbean Maritime University, have been employed by GSRJ. The new GSRJ shipyard is expected to commence operations in the final quarter of 2023.

In 2015, with funding from the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Maritime Authority of Jamaica commissioned a study, ‘Ship Repair in Jamaica’, to demonstrate Jamaica’s strategic position to viably manage and operate a dry dock for large cargo vessels.

Rear Admiral (retd) Peter Brady, director general of the MAJ, said, “It is very gratifying, after so many years of planning and organising, to see the first floating dock arrive and be made ready for operation within the next few months.”

The floating dock has a lifting capacity of 20,000 tonnes and is capable of dry-docking most commercial ships that visit Jamaica.