Categorized | National News

Pilots Blame Port Authority For Impasse

The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) is blocking marine pilots and principals from Freeport Harbour Company (FHC) and Buckeye Partners (BORCO) from reaching a deal over the resignation of pilots, The Bahamas Marine Pilots Association (BMPA) charged Sunday.

In a statement released yesterday, the BMPA said the only issue still unresolved is a result of the GBPA hindering a licencee of the port area or the Freeport Pilotage Company, a private independent company formed by the pilots in 1986.

“GBPA is frustrating the process intentionally because the board members of GBPA are alos owners of the Port Group Limited (PGL) which has ownership and interest in FHC,” the BMPA statement said. “GBPA President Ian Rolle is also president of PGL.”

The BMPA said it has applied for a Bahamas Government licence to operate in Freeport, which it says has been agreed will be expedited.

The association has also urged the government to send in technical officers skilled in the maritime area in order to ensure that proper maritime safety standards are met and maintained.

The resignation of the pilots took effect on Friday.

Meanwhile, in a statement last week, GBPA President Ian Rolle dismissed the pilots’ accusations and reaffirmed the port’s commitment to ensuring the safety of the people and facilities of the harbour.

“The Licencing and Inspection departments of the GBPA treat all of their responsibilities in processing licence applications in an impartial manner, despite allegations made by BMPA Managing Director Erin Ferguson,” Mr. Rolle said at the time.

“Licencing requirements and processes are not always straightforward; particularly when the licences concern matters that can impact national security, safety, international relations and key parts of our local and national economies. GBPA treats such licences with the utmost care and attention, consistent with its mandate under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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