A $10m joint venture will create 30 jobs and add value to Freeport's maritime sector through the treatment and recycling of ships' oil waste.
Executives from Portugal-based Eco-Oil Ltd and Queensway Navigation arrived on Grand Bahama yesterday for the project's unveiling today, with the Grand Bahama Port Authority's (GBPA) president describing the investment as a "red letter day".
Ian Rolle, the Grand Bahama Port Authority Limited (GBPA) president, welcomed Eco-Oil Bahamas Ltd (EOB) for the official announcement of project commencement, alongside GBPA executives, during a launch ceremony scheduled for this morning at Freeport Harbour.
Francisco Quintela, of Eco-Oil, said all parties have worked hard to bring the MARPOL Services project to fruition. "It has been a long way to reach this point, and I am delighted to be here today," he said. "Eco-Oil Bahamas will bring MARPOL SERVICES to Freeport and to The Bahamas, and this will have a positive impact in the harbour community and the entire industrial cluster."
Ian Rolle, the GBPA's president, said: "Eco-Oil Bahamas represents an initial investment of around $10 million that will provide quality jobs for Bahamians in a new and exciting industry.
"Additionally, as a result of this project, Grand Bahama can now offer an essential service to the vast number of vessels transiting our water ways. A service which will be provided in a manner consistent with global best practices for the protection of our precious marine and land resources."
The project will be split between a proposed shore-based facility and ship operations, supported by Queensway Navigation and Eco-Oil Ltd, respectively. It aims to treat 60,000 tons of oily ships' waste per year, a volume equivalent to 500,000 barrels. Several thousand barrels of reusable oil will be recycled through this process.
Derek Newbold, the GBPA's senior manager of business development and Invest Grand Bahama, said: "Today's launch symbolises a commitment by all to the continued growth of Grand Bahama's maritime and industrial sectors.
"And, as a result of these efforts, our island will see the creation of 30-plus quality jobs for residents and the transfer of new trade skills to our labour pool. Moreover, Freeport is once again established as an industry leader, being the first port in the country - if not the Caribbean - to provide MARPOL services."
Mr Newbold added: "This branding will serve to not only further solidify our position as such, but also to advance our efforts to bring Freeport Harbour in alignment with other MARPOL compliant ports around the globe."