Princess Cruises and BAE Systems San
Francisco Ship Repair will invest $5 million to upgrade a drydock
facility at the Port of San Francisco, making it the only drydock
repair facility on the West Coast that can accommodate vessels in
the 100,000-gross-ton range.
"We have three
large ships positioned ... on the West Coast," said Dean Brown,
executive vice president of Princess. "Strategically, it was
important to develop the capability to be able to drydock them
The three parties
reached an agreement to upgrade the facility, named Drydock No. 2,
at San Francisco's Pier 70.
Princess and BAE, a
ship repair, modernization and conversion company, will provide the
funding to stabilize and upgrade the drydock, and the port will
give BAE rent credits for the remaining 10 years of the company's
lease on the state-owned shipyard property.
Princess will pay
for $3 million of the facility's improvements and would be
reimbursed based on the performance of the shipyard; Brown would
not say what the level of performance would have to be. In
addition, Princess ships and other ships in the Carnival Corp.
family will get preferential berthing rights at the
Dean said that
having the facility would give the cruise line better flexibility
with its deployments. Previously, he said, a post-Panamax Princess
ship operating on the West Coast and in need of drydock services
would rotate its deployment to the South Pacific in order to do the
work in Singapore.
The definition of a
post-Panamax ship means it is too big to fit through the Panama
Canal, so vessels have to sail around Cape Horn to get to an East
Gerry Roybal, the
maritime marketing manager for the port of San Francisco, said that
the facilities would bring additional ships to the West Coast in
general, and San Francisco specifically. He predicted that if the
lines were able to bring larger ships to busy year-round California
ports like Long Beach and San Diego, they would shift midsize
vessels to other ports such as San Francisco and
"We think we'll be
able to generate more market for the entire West Coast just by
giving the cruise lines the capability to position their large
ships out here," he said.
general manager of BAE's San Francisco location, said the drydock
facility would be able to handle Princess' and Carnival Cruise
Lines' largest ships, but Royal Caribbean International's
Voyager-class vessels would be too large.
Royal said that
port had discussed modifying the dry-dock capability to accommodate
Voyager-class ships, but it would have cost about $30 million to do
This is the first
investment Princess has made in a dry-dock facility. "When we decided to keep the ships here, we decided
to work with the port and develop the capability to drydock the
ships here," said Brown.
already reserved the San Francisco facility for scheduled hull
repairs and topside renovations on two of its 109,000-ton ships,
the Star Princess in fall 2008 and the Golden Princess in spring
contact reporter Johanna Jainchill, send e-mail to [email protected].