By YOURI KEMP
A $1.5m deal to create the first “clean” port facility in The Bahamas will create around 45 permanent jobs in Grand Bahama.
The Clean Marine company, based in Freeport, signed the deal with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to create the first United Nations Regulated clean port facility, under the UN’s International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) regulations.
Robert Speller, managing director of Clean Marine, said that: “The IDB funding would be going towards first the clearing away of land and putting in place all of the environmental regulations that are needed to run the process. Then the second phase is just construction and the phasing out of the IDB contribution.”
Mr Speller told Tribune Business that the project will take 12 to 18 months with a planned start in November. He also said that the $1.5m was matched by private Bahamian investors and an international group recommended by the IDB, the Althelia fund, will help to finance the rest of the projected $10m to $12m total cost of the project. Athelia fund partners are expected to visit in November to inspect the current facilities in Freeport and Clean Marine’s management operations.
Niels Jensen, director of maritime operations, said: “Clean Marine has been developing the first MARPOL facility of its kind in the Caribbean here in The Bahamas. With the kind of assistance of the IDB, our existing Bahamian and overseas investors, Clean Marine Group is now prepared to invest more than $12m in developing the MARPOL reception facility.”
Clean Marine is in the business of transforming marine waste water and polluted water into reusable water and reprocessed fuel and are listed on their website as a licenced MARPOL operator.
Daniela Carrera Marquis, the IDB’s representative in The Bahamas, said: “We want to be able to measure and then monetise the natural capital of The Bahamas. It just so happens, most of The Bahamas’ natural capital is underwater. So what we want from this project is two things: The first is the generation of data so we can measure the results of the project and second is the use of clean water.”
Senator Kwasi Thompson was present at the signing of the deal. He said: “The company uses patented technology to process liquid waste from marine vessels so these vessels can comply with MARPOL and thus reduce marine pollution in The Bahamas.”