JULY 17, 2013 —The Bimini Superfast ferry received its Initial Certificate of Compliance (ICOC) from the U.S. Coast Guard Monday and is now cleared to embark passengers in U.S. ports of call. The 32,278 grt, 204 m RoPax failed an initial inspection in June, but it has now passed its inspection of navigational, lifesaving, and firefighting equipment and crew proficiency with emergency procedures.
Built by the HDW, Kiel, Germany, shipyard in 2001, the vessel originally served with Greek ferry operator Superfast as the Superfast VI but was acquired by the Genting Group in May this year. She is to operate a twice daily service between Miami and Genting's Resorts World Bimini.
The Coast Guard requires foreign flag passenger ships arriving in the United States to participate in the ICOC examination process when they embark passengers for the first time or make an initial U.S. port call while carrying U.S. citizens as passengers.
The 32,000-ton vessel has passed its inspection of navigational, lifesaving, and firefighting equipment and crew proficiency with emergency procedures.
The Coast Guard first inspected the Bimini Superfast Ferry in Miami on June 26 and 27, 2013.
As with any other commercial vessel or cruise ship vessel examination under Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), the Coast Guard's exam of the ferry focused on document checks, general structural fire protection, automatic sprinkler/water mist systems, fire pumps and hydrants, fixed fire detection systems, fire and water tight doors, engineering systems, emergency lighting, life saving appliances, pollution prevention, navigational safety and security. This was to ensure the vessel was maintaining these systems in proper operating conditions and that the Flag Administration had performed an annual survey. In addition, a fire and abandon ship drill was witnessed.
As a result of the Coast Guard inspection team's initial findings, the ferry was issued a work list of items that needed to be corrected which included such items as providing proper operation of the emergency source of power, proving proper operation of the life boat release mechanisms, and demonstration of the crews overall proficiency to respond to an emergency situation. Since then the Coast Guard has worked closely with the ferry's ownership to resolve the issues and, as of today, all items have been satisfactorily resolved.
"The Coast Guard is always involved in inspecting cruise ships and commercial vessels that call in U.S. ports to ensure compliance with safety standards," said Cmdr. Janet Espino-Young, chief of inspections at Coast Guard Sector Miami. "It is important to note these discrepancies were discovered during our initial inspections prior to the ferry embarking any passengers and we worked thoroughly with the owners of the ferry to bring them up to the standard to safely embark passengers in the United States."
"Safety of passengers and personnel onboard, and the protection of property, is a top priority of the U.S. Coast Guard," said Capt. Austin Gould, Coast Guard Sector Miami Commander and Captain of the Port. "We are pleased that the 1,346-passenger ship is now in compliance having met all required safety standards to sail."