Just when the newswires are filled with stories of megayacht marinas being built on essentially every inch of open waterfront and refit and repair yards filing permits to expand their operations, here’s some bad news. The doors of three-year-old Global Ship Systems have been shuttered for more than six weeks, and while management expected to reopen around now, thus far it hasn’t happened.
The company, based in Savannah, Georgia, is on an enviable piece of property in the refit world. It’s the facility that, prior to summer 2004, was known as PJ Savannah and, before that, Intermarine Savannah. Among other things, it features a partially covered, 535-foot-long graving dock, a marine railway for yachts to 200 feet LOA, and a 100- by 200-foot finishing building as well as welding, painting, masonry, and other departments on site.
Things seemed promising for Global Ship Systems when shortly after it took over the site, yachts such as Katana and Reverie began coming through its doors. But there were also problems, including the failures in 2005 of the marine railway system and particularly the graving dock, which had been in need of repair for some time. These cost more than $2 million to fix. “We were insured for both losses, but the insurance industry was still dealing with [hurricane] Katrina,” CEO Rob Creech told the Savannah Morning News in July, adding that the claims had yet to be paid. Global Ship Systems began struggling to pay its vendors and creditors earlier this year, and layoffs began in early summer. Yachts and even Coast Guard vessels that had been in the yard were taken elsewhere by their owners for the projects to be completed.
Creech also told the paper he expected to reopen by mid-August. I left a message earlier this week requesting an update on whether more financing had been secured, but no reply had come by this morning. I’ll be monitoring the situation and will report accordingly.