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78-year old Lady Northcote to resume operations next week after $140M repairs

The 78-year-old motor vessel, Lady Northcote

After two months of rehabilitation works, Motor Vessel Lady Northcote is back in the waters after it was undocked from the E.C. Vieira Dockyard, Houston, East Bank Demerara Tuesday, November 24, 2015, the Government Information Agency reported.

The 78-year-old MV Lady Northcote set sail along the Demerara River after its much needed $140M in repairs were completed by the E.C. Vieira Investments Limited. The company had possession of Lady Northcote since the vessel was docked in September.

The initial rehabilitation costs had been pegged at approximately $70M, but the extent of the damage carried up the total cost to about $140M, due to extensive unforeseen damage.

Amongst the extensive works done to Lady Northcote were the repair of its hull; servicing of all on-board machinery; improvement of interior and exterior decking and upgrades to the main and passenger decks. The facilities on-board have also been improved through the upgrade of the galley while the vessel’s crew is expected to be more comfortable thanks to improved beds and washroom facilities.

Additionally, the offloading and loading capabilities were improved while all of the vessel’s plates were changed. In terms of safety, the vessel now holds 100 life rafts. The underwater propellers were also completely rebuilt.

The rebuilding of the propellers is of particular significance; for years, MV Lady Northcote’s route – from Georgetown to Port Kaituma, Region One – lasted about 36 hours. However, the engineering team has projected that the rebuilt propellers will cut down on this travel time. The team will shortly be able to determine the accuracy of its theory when the vessel begins maximised functioning following tests.

Meanwhile, members of the media were the first to be privy to the upgraded vessel during today’s test sail.

Today’s test sail saw the motor vessel travelling from the E.C. Vieira Dockyard to the Kingston Wharf at a minimised speed. The trip was the first time the vessel moved in two months.

During the hour-long trip, members of the media were able to interact with key personnel involved in the repairs, including E.C. Vieira Investments Limited owner Edmond Vieira, and Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME), Dwane Griffith.

Vieira explained that when Lady Northcote arrived at the dockyard for repairs, it had “no functionality”.

“It was a very, very brutal rehabilitation service; very challenging,” Vieira said.

In response, CME Griffith lauded the contractor’s job and thanked Vieira on behalf of the entire crew. He added that the entire repairs process had gone off without a hitch.

Today’s test sail was deemed an overall success.

Lady Northcote is expected to resume its public trips sometime next week.