Port St. Maarten to receive new enhanced pilot boat

Port St. Maarten – Port St. Maarten has acquired a new pilot boat to be used for line handling and for embarking and disembarking the pilot to and from visiting ships.


The new aluminum vessel was built by ABCO Industries of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada. Since 1947, ABCO Industries has been providing the shipping industry with quality work, expert service and products designed to exceed expectations.


ABCO Industries was selected after a team from Port St. Maarten visited several boat yards in the United States and Canada. ABCO is specialized in the design, engineering, fabrication and service of equipment and systems for the industrial sector, food machinery, environmental equipment, and marine vessels.


The company has built several Canadian Coast Guard vessels engaged in fisheries research and patrol.


Due to the growth in the ship building industry, Port St. Maarten has to be able to meet the demands of shipping and cruising of the 21st century. Port management and board decided to purchase a second pilot boat in order to meet the demands of current port operations and also be able to accommodate and handle anticipated growth in port operations.


A second pilot boat is also necessary where it concerns carrying out preventative and routine maintenance on the current vessel. The current pilot boat is 10-years old.


Prior to the purchase of the second pilot boat, Port St. Maarten staff such as pilots, boat captains, and deckhands, was asked to give their input since they are the ones who work daily on the vessel. Based on their work experience, their input was very important in order to have a tailored-made vessel that would meet the specifications of operations at Port St. Maarten.


A Port St. Maarten delegation of three pilot boat captains along with Maritime Manager/Chief Pilot and Human Resource Manager, traveled to Lunenburg in the latter part of August to be part of the inspection process before the official handing over of the vessel. The delegation was able to witness systems demonstrations and sea trials and the overall conclusion was that everything is in order for the vessel to be shipped to the country.


Port St. Maarten Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo says the port continuously is looking inward to make sure that every aspect of the company is up to a high standard in order to perform efficiently and effectively.


Some of the features that have been added is a wheel house with extra visibility for safety; the vessel will have a walk-around cabin with a man overboard retrieval crane; there are twin diesel engines with more horsepower than the existing pilot boat along with water jets for maneuverability, dependability and enhanced safety; as well as a hydraulic fire pump.


“One of the main things in a port is having resources that are modern and can do the job and meet the requirements of clients who depend on those services that are rendered. Whether it’s a crane or pilot boat, they must be able to handle the workload and meet safety and quality standards,” CEO Mark Mingo said on Sunday.


The connection between Lunenburg, Canada and St. Maarten goes back in history when salt was transported from the island to Nova Scotia for the fish industry in the early 1900s via schooners built in Lunenburg. One of the most famous schooners was the Mona Marie owned and operated in the Caribbean by Capt. W.L. Hassell from Barbados of Saban descent.