M/V Lady Emerald, Bahamas mailboat serving Rum Cay & San Salvador

 M/V “Lady Emerald” underway in the Bahamas, departing Port Nelson, Rum Cay in May of 2006.

PAST NAMES: none known
DIMENSIONS: 464 tons, 300 dead weight tons (DWT) IMO # 9259109, Call sign C6S2081
CONSTRUCTION: built by Portier Shipyard in Chauvin, Louisiana, USA

EARLY CAREER: so far as is known she has been serving the Bahamas her entire 11-year career
BAHAMAS CAREER: serves Rum Cay and San Salvador, and Smith’s Bay and Old & New Bight in southern Cat Island, southern Bahamas, from Nassau
CAPTAINS: Capt. Bill Williams
FATE: as of March 2014 laid up at Potter’s Cay, Nassau NP Bahamas for repairs/out of service
OWNERS: Patton G. M., Nassau, Bahamas
NOTES: Service to: Cockburn Town, San Salvador; Rum Cay. Departs Nassau Tuesdays at 6:00pm; returns Fridays. Sailing Time: 12 hours; Fare: $60.00 one way.
Company: M/V Lady Emerald
Address: #47 Amos Ferguson St, PO Box SS 5178 Nassau NP Bahamas

Phone 242-457-4738 / 242 293 1064
Source: http://www.bahamaslocal.com/showlisting/13396/MV_Lady_Emerald.html

Here is an article quoting Capt. Bill Williams of the “Lady Emerald” regarding government subsidies and the threat that inadequate subsidies coupled with rising fuel costs threaten mailboat service. It is from mid-2005 (2005-09-06 08:19:06)
Mailboat Operators Threaten To Discontinue Services:

If the mailboats were to cease service it could cause a panic similar to that which erupted when the Captain Sea stopped its service to the Exuma Cays and Ragged Island a few weeks ago.
A group of mailboat operators on Monday threatened to cease services to far-flung islands of The Bahamas unless a new contract is negotiated between the operators and the Ministry of Transport and Aviation allowing the struggling operators to make a profit.  For the last several months, mailboat operators have said that the increasing price of fuel has harmed their businesses tremendously resulting in trips to the Family Islands being funded out of the captains’ pockets.

Bill Williams, captain of the Lady Emerald, said on average it costs $12,000 in fuel each week for his boat to service Rum Cay; another $12,000 to service Cat Island and another $12,000 to service San Salvador.

Mr. Williams said at this rate he doesn’t anticipate continuing to service those islands.
If the mailboats were to cease service it could cause a panic similar to that which erupted when the Captain Sea stopped its service to the Exuma Cays and Ragged Island a few weeks ago.

Newly elected president of the Mail Boat Association Raphael Moxey outlined during a press conference on Monday some of the challenges the mailboat operators have faced and the urgent need for the government to provide more financial help to keep the services operational.

The association is requesting an increase in subsidy by 50 percent; an increase in the mileage allowance by 75 percent; and an increase in freight tariff by 50 percent.

According to Mr. Moxey, in May the association submitted a proposal to the government seeking these increase.

“The situation is such that the operators are now faced with a very grim reality,” he said.
“This situation is a direct result of the continuous increases in the cost of operation. It is our hope that the government, the public and most certainly the good people of the various Family Island communities we serve will understand our plight and continue to support us in our effort to continue to serve them.”

The operators said their contracts with the government, which was signed in 2001, expired last year.
Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin acknowledged on Monday that it is time to renew their contracts.

However, she said the government has decided that before any contracts are renewed a review of the mailboat system will have to be completed.

The review will examine route structures, industry standards and proposed subsidy increases, according to Minister Hanna Martin.

She told The Bahama Journal that a firm has recently been selected to review the mailboat system. The review is expected to be completed within six weeks, Minister Hanna Martin said.

“At the end we are expected to have a report that is more scientific in its basis. There is a formula in place for the current subsidy, but we have to look more objectively at standards in the assessment or tariffs, subsidy’s, etc,” the minister said.

Mrs. Hanna-Martin said that her ministry realizes the importance of the mailboat services to various Family Island communities and assured that the government has taken the concerns of the mailboat operators seriously.

Once the report is in hand Minister Hanna-Martin said she intends to meet with the association.
“I just want to assure Bahamians everywhere, particularly those who live outside New Providence, that we are hoping that this initiative brings about an enhanced service to Bahamians throughout the country,” she said.

Mr. Moxey told reporters that the last time an increase in subsidy was given to the operators was in 2001 and the last increase in freight tariff was in 1996.

“In the operation of a mailboat there are a number of fixed costs which must be met on a daily basis. These include diesel fuel and oil, insurance, dry docking, maintenance, salaries and wages and provisions among others,” Mr. Moxey said.

He pointed out that in February 2000 a gallon of diesel fuel cost $1.38. Today it costs $3.09 a gallon, an increase of 124 percent.

“The nature of the mailboat operation is such that it is impossible for a mailboat operators to institute any cost saving method which would result in less fuel consumption. The distance they have to travel to the various Family Islands and the time it takes to get there remain the same,” Mr. Moxey said
He added that it is difficult to say exactly when mailboats would cease operation, but he said that practically all of the mailboat operators are at the break-even point or are losing money.
The Mail Boat Association is comprised of 19 independent operators.

By: Bianca Symonette, The Bahama Journal

Source: http://bahamasb2b.com/news/wmview.php?ArtID=5895


M/V “Lady Emerald” in Nassau Harbour at Potter’s Cay dock

Photo c/o Foggy, http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=605703

Photo of M/V “Lady Emerald” laid up for repairs on Potter’s Cay dock, Nassau, NP Bahamas on March 21, 2014. She is visible over the bow of the regatta sloop “Revelation 3:19” with the green stripe and orange lifering looking somewhat small and forlorn on land. It is not known when she will service again.
Photo: Eric T. Wiberg, free to share, cut and paste, post, etc.