The Steve N dredge which was out of operation for some eight weeks owing to repairs, is now back in service, according to the Guyana National Industrial Corporation (GNIC).The Steve N back in operationThe Steve N is said to be the largest vessel owned by the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) and was dry-docked for some two months for repairs. It is now available for use in dredging works, the GNIC said in a statement.The vessel was said to be in critical need for repair. The company said the dry docking and repair took close to a month. Shipyard Manager Jagdesh Ramjag remarked that the GNIC was able to fully complete all the repair work and bring the vessel up to specification with the help of experienced staff.The scope of works carried out on the Steve N included fabrication works to the hull, hopper and ballast tanks; repairs to propulsion system: propeller shafts, propellers, bushes and rudder; sandblasting and painting of hull, hopper and main decks; electrical works including installation of three 35,000 BTU air conditioning units; removal and installing two generators; and installing an echo sounder system and mechanical repairs to hopper doors, suction drag head pipe, dredge pump pipe and valves in engine room and pump room.Ronald Bourne, Consultant to the Shipyard Manager, said he has been privileged over the years to have worked on preventative maintenance on the dredge, which has a “creative” history with the yard.Chief Executive Officer of GNIC, Clinton Williams said the company is a mini industrial conglomerate which has been offering various service including shipbuilding and repairs, port operations and project management.He said he is pleased that the team was able to complete the job on time, within specification and costs. He noted that going forward, while GNIC has the capacity, it will be looking to upgrade and expand its facilities. Additionally, the company will continue to work with the Board of Industrial Training (BIT) to provide apprenticeship and on the job training in the areas of welding, fabrication, machining, marine and bench fitters, plumbers, and carpentry, etc.According to Williams, training is one of the strengths of the company and over the years it has provided training to more than 1000 Guyanese. The major challenge for the company right now, Williams noted, is the illegal beach operators who put vessels at risk by dragging them up on beaches for repairs rather than doing a proper dry-docking. “The company has been appealing to ship owners to avoid this unsafe practice as it puts unnecessary strain on the hull integrity of vessels. This could make them unseaworthy.”The GNIC remains one of the main shipyards in the country and has a long history of shipbuilding in Guyana with the likes of the MV Malali and the MV Torani being built in the shipyard.These two vessels were completely rebuilt and re-commissioned during the early 90s by Guyana National Engineering Corporation Limited (GNEC) – the predecessor company, with funding from the European Union, notwithstanding a strong recommendation by a team of international consultants that they had surpassed their useful service life and should be scrapped.