While it looks like more ships will be seen overwintering in Botwood Harbour as companies are more interest in the port, the last sign of marine business activity was the recent visit from the cruise ship Clipper Adventurer to the port of Botwood at the beginning of October. Even before that, the Port Development Corp. was working to attract new business to the facility. ‚ÄĒ Photo by Sue Hickey/The Advertiser
At least two marine operations are planning to do business with the port of Botwood.
The town‚Äôs Port Development Corp. has been lobbying and believes it is finally seeing a bright side in marine enterprise, starting with the visit of the cruise ship Clipper Adventurer.
Now, said corporation chairman and Botwood Mayor Jerry Dean, at least two shipping companies are showing interest in overwintering some of their vessels at the port.
‚ÄúI think some of these vessels are used for northern services, and they want a place to tie up some of their vessels and do their winter maintenance,‚ÄĚ he said.
Berthing the vessels isn‚Äôt the same as parking one‚Äôs car and just leaving it for an indefinite time. The mayor said a small contingent of employees would stay on board the ships for the winter.
Why did the companies show interest in the port of Botwood? Dean said, to use a parking lot analogy, marine space is limited in St. John‚Äôs and around the province, as he understands it.
The ships in question are bigger vessels, he explained, and the operators want the security of coming into a good harbour.
Dean was not free to provide more comments on the shipping companies, but said they were not using their vessels over the winter.
‚ÄúThey wanted a place to do winter maintenance, and apparently it‚Äôs all self-contained,‚ÄĚ he explained. ‚ÄúThese ships have their own generators, and they‚Äôre not concerned with power as such.‚ÄĚ
The power at the warehouse where AbitibiBowater used to store and ship the giant bales of paper was cut after the company pulled out of the province. However, there are plans to re-establish power in the shed, the mayor added.
‚ÄúThey told us they‚Äôre not concerned about that because they are self-contained on their vessels,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúI believe they will have a small crew on the vessels, but they will be doing so on a rotating basis.‚ÄĚ
The companies are anticipating starting up this winter, according to the mayor. They won‚Äôt need to get on the docks to load or discharge anything, he added.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs another opportunity for turn over a minimum amount of money, and to get some of our investment back,‚ÄĚ he said.
In August of this year, the town purchased all parcels of land, as well as the warehouse and shipping deck, once known as the AbitibiBowater properties, for a cost of $35,000.
‚ÄúThey don‚Äôt want to tie up off the coast somewhere where there‚Äôs no amenities and stuff,‚ÄĚ said the mayor. ‚ÄúAt least tying up at that facility, should any of their workers choose, they can use what‚Äôs in the town.‚ÄĚ
If the operators decide to use the port, they are looking to arrive within the next month and staying until April or May. Then the ships will leave and go back into service again.
‚ÄúBy that time, we‚Äôll be utilizing what we have in a more productive manner,‚ÄĚ he said.