Recently, 12th grade high school students from throughout Grand Bahama who participate in The Bahamas Maritime Cadet Corps spent time touring facilities within the industrial park which are involved in the ship repair aspects of the industry. They were hosted at both Bradford Marine Bahamas Ltd and the Grand Bahama Ship Yard.
Both companies are engaged in ship repair with Bradford Marine specializing in yachts, pleasure crafts, and vessels engaged in coastal trade while the Ship Yard has gained a world-wide reputation for the work that they do on ocean-going vessels with special emphasis on cruise liners.
While at Bradford Marine, the students were able to take a walking tour around the entire facility which included workshops where concrete floating docks and oil containment booms are manufactured.
These booms are particularly useful in the event oil or any other contaminants are spilled into the water, as they will assist in containing that spill and prevent a potentially dangerous situation from escalating should the pollutant or other substance not be contained in a timely manner.
The floating docks are usually utilized at marinas or as in the case of Bradford Marine they provide additional berthing space for vessels which call at their facility.
While in one of the repair shops the students were able to observe an employee conduct diagnostic tests to ascertain what repairs would be necessary on a propeller that was removed from a pleasure craft. This process involved magnetic imaging and the use of sophisticated equipment and machinery which the employees must become proficient with before being allowed to perform such tasks. Familiarization with the equipment is key and potential employees have the opportunity to either obtain introductory training locally or be selected for advanced training once they secure employment at the facility.
The students were fortunate to observe as a multi-million dollar yacht was towed from its berth to the dry dock where it was lifted out of the water so as to conduct necessary repairs to parts of the vessel which were below the waterline. They were able to witness the synchronized tasks of several workers that are vital to raising a vessel out of the water without causing any damage to the craft itself.
They also visited the Grand Bahama Ship Yard which is reputed as one of the finest facilities of its kind in the world. They have developed a reputation globally for the proficiency and speed at which they are able to get cruise ships back into the water after repairs are completed. Contributing factors which make the Ship Yard so attractive to owners of cruise liners is their proximity to the hub of the industry; the climate which allows them to stay open practically year-round; a sheltered harbor; the strategic location of an international airport and obviously the skilled professionals on hand to perform the intricate tasks that are required. They have in place a four-year apprenticeship program which allows local high school graduates to obtain the skills and training necessary to secure gainful employment with the organization.
Published Thursday, March, 16, 2017