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Aruba Pearl out of dry­dock!

Aruba Pearl out of drydock

MV Aruba Pearl completed its drydocking on May 3. The vessel, formerly known as MV Ibis Arrow, was purchased on February 12 from SMT Shipping’s long time partner Gearbulk.

The vessel was drydocked in Tuzla, Turkey and underwent a complete 5-year inspection under the careful watch of classification society DNVGL. The vessel received a number of enhancements during the drydock,, including a new Alfa Laval ballast water treatment system (BWTS). SMT crewmembers and shipyard workers worked together to completely renovate the trolley that sits on top of Gantry No 1, including the installation of a new cable boom. The vessel was in the yard over many weeks, and luckily work continued despite the yard’s Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

All in all, Technical Superintendent Marian Nieziolek was extremely pleased with the team spirit present throughout the project and was happy to celebrate Easter with everyone onboard “as one common crew of the ship”. After leaving Turkey, the vessel was immediately absorbed into the GBSMT commercial trade and is expected to be repositioned to the GBSMT’s home trading area in the Caribbean by mid-summer.

Operation Dept faces new challenges with CoVid-19

SMT’s Operations Department assures that the vessels perform at maximum safety and efficiency. Their responsibilities are two-fold – the smooth movement of vessels in and out of port and the effective management of cargo production.

Even under normal conditions, team members face numerous challenges– from the timely delivery of fuel and stores to working with agents and port officials to expedite a port call. Yet Covid-19 has made the job of the Operations Department even more difficult. Ports around the world have imposed serious restrictions regarding access and work hours, which has forced our employees to plan around new and often changing realities. As Alexander Ryan, Operations Manager for the Americas, explains, “We have to understand what the situations are in each country. The biggest challenge is to try and coordinate our voyage plans with SMT’s Fleet Management to arrange for supplies and other matters”.

Cargo Superintendent Jose Luis Hernandez visited both MVs Norway Pearl and Poland Pearl during recent discharge operations in the Port of Veracruz, Mexico, but the experience was anything but normal. “The Veracruz Port Authority and Port Administration now follow WHO guidelines, which requires all personnel to arrive at the gate with a face mask and protective goggles. Visitors must exit their vehicles and be subject to ID scans and body temperature checks” which can lead to lengthy waiting times.

For Jose Luis, vessel visits have now become “another kind of world”. As he states, “normally once I’m onboard, I personally shake hands with all crew and people that I know ... but now there is no chance. Everyone on board now wears a face mask and observes strict social distancing guidelines”. Vessels in Veracruz experience some extra wait time at anchorage due to required government health checks and the fact that pilot boats are in somewhat short supply. Yet Jose Luis has not seen any delays in discharge rates, thanks largely to SMT’s close relationship with local stevedoring partner SEPSA.

According to Jose Luis, “both the Norway Pearl and Poland Pearl enjoyed fast discharge operations while in Veracruz, and our CSMT vessel, MV Johanna C, is experiencing similarly positive production rates”. We thank all members the Operations Department and partners like SEPSA for their continued dedication and the vital role they play in the success of our business.