FREEPORT, THE BAHAMAS, September 13, 2015 – Just one year after establishing a maritime training centre on Grand Bahama Island, Svitzer Bahamas has further invested in its Freeport operation by adding three new tugboats to its fleet. The official commissioning of the Svitzer Hanne, the Svitzer Yuma and the Svitzer Freeport brings the towage company’s total fleet in Grand Bahama to eight.
The company marked the occasion with a ceremony on Wednesday at Freeport’s Lucayan Harbour where Svitzer officials, government representatives and Freeport stakeholders shared positive views on the effect the tugboats would have on the economy and future of Grand Bahama’s maritime industry.
Svitzer Managing Director for the Americas Martin Helweg said the commissioning of three new tugs is more significant to the company than merely expanding its fleet. “The arrival of this equipment, with its related significant investment, is yet another proof of our commitment to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, to the island of Grand Bahama and to the port of Freeport,” Mr Helweg said. “When opening the training centre last year, we promised further investments into The Bahamas and the port of Freeport, a promise that less than a year later we can see fulfilled with the arrival of these three beautiful tugs.”
Mr Helweg explained that each tugboat was specially crafted for service in Freeport. Svitzer, he said, was careful to have the vessels built at some of the best shipyards in the world – shipyards reputed for the highest quality craftsmanship in the towage industry. In addition, Mr Helweg said, the tugboats’ characteristics were purposely selected to ensure the company continues to provide the safest and most reliable service in the industry.
This attention to detail and safety, he noted, is one of the many reasons Svitzer is considered the leading towage company in the world. Svitzer is committed to delivering reliable service and fast turnaround times for customers without ever compromising the safety of passengers and crew, the environment and cargo, Mr Helweg stated.
“Towage is a contact sport where we use multimillion dollar investments to push and guide even more expensive assets and cargo into small spaces every single day,” the Svitzer executive said. “In order to do this, one needs well-trained crews as well as the right assets in place. This is the reason why we at Svitzer put so much emphasis on continuous investment in training and vessels.”
Country Manager for Svitzer Leonardo Ferrisi suggested that it is this focus on training that is partly responsible for the addition of new tugboats and the increase in the number of ships at the Freeport Harbour.
“If we are celebrating the introduction of new boats in the harbour, the merit is to the efforts made in training the seafarers of our team that elevated the level of professionalism and safety of our local company,” Mr Ferrisi said.
He noted that in the last year, the Svitzer Training Simulator Centre has more than 12 piloting and tug master courses. Mr Ferrisi added that Svitzer has also collaborated with the Bahamas Maritime Academy and intends to partner with local schools to build expertise among young men and women interested in maritime careers.
He acknowledged that the growing trading industry has spurred the need for larger ships, resulting in vessels over 360 meters in length. Consequently, the demand for smaller, more powerful tugboats and skilled crews to operate them has dramatically increased. Mr Ferrisi said Svitzer is excited about striving to meet this need.
“We are here not just to provide a few more jobs, but to provide an opportunity for local Bahamians to embark on a maritime career,” he said. “The reality is that a brand new tug is an investment that will get old, but the knowledge of our people will not deteriorate. It is an investment for life and will help the next generation to keep striving for excellence in efficiency and safety.”
Svitzer opened its state-of-the-art regional training centre at the Freeport Harbour last July. The company is committed to making the training centre the leading maritime training facility in the Caribbean and the Americas.
The addition of the Yuma, Hanne and Freeport tugboats brings Svitzer’s total fleet to more than 30 vessels in the Caribbean and more than 70 in the Americas.
About SVITZER BAHAMAS LTD.
Since 2005, Svitzer Bahamas has provided safety and reliable support at sea. With 50 employees and its fleet of eight state-of-the-art tugboats, the company assists vessels with docking at Freeport Container Port, Bahama Rock and Freeport Harbour, among other marine services. Svitzer Bahamas is the leader in towage and emergency response.