In its monthly meeting on St. Thomas this week, the Public Finance Authority board granted a loan request from the West Indian Company Ltd. for additional funds needed to complete the ongoing Havensight dock extension.
The PFA’s approval would allow WICO to refinance approximately $21.2 million in existing 2002 bonds and borrow an extra $7 million to complete the project, WICO Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boschulte explained Thursday.
Because WICO is a subsidiary of the PFA, the board must approve the request. Boschulte said Thursday that he hopes to close on the loan, which will be issued by Banco Popular, within a week and that he expects the dock extension project to be completed sometime in the next two months.
When complete, the dock will be extended an extra 150 feet, with four of the existing 60-ton bollards being replaced by 150-ton bollards, Boschulte said.
"This project really allows WICO to be able to take three megaships at any given time," he added Thursday. "Right now, we are in the position of being able to take the three megaships with the right configuration, but by adding this additional 150 feet of new dock, we have more flexibility, especially when we have big cruise ship days, in berthing ships at the dock."
A new mooring dolphin will also be installed, he said.
Boschulte said WICO started the project in hopes of continuing to meet the high demand from cruise ships coming to St. Thomas and will also use it as a "stepping stone" toward another project that will add an additional pier with two berths to the port of Charlotte Amalie.
"This will allow us to accommodate the large inventory of megaships we expect to come out over the next couple of years," he said.