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February, 2013 News

Dodi Princess Set to Resume Operations in September

The Volta Hotels Limited has signed a 1.3-million-dollar contract with Bluefone Marine Company, a Ghanaian based marine construction company, for the re-construction of the defunct Dodi Princess Cruise Boat.

Signing the pact, the General Manager of the hotel, Frederick Bart-Plange, noted that the signing of the contract marked the beginning of the rehabilitation of the boat which will take six months to complete.

He said plans were afoot for the procurement of a 176-passenger capacity mini Dodi Princess boat to open up more opportunities for tourists who are eager to cruise on the Volta Lake. Mr. Bart-Plange mentioned in his statement that the entire body structure of the burnt boat including its dual engines will have to be scraped off to enable a re-construction of an ultra-modern body on its hull which was not affected by the raging fire that swept through the vessel on May 4, last year.

Going forward, he stated that VRA was putting up the first Game Park in West Africa with accommodation facilities on the Dodi Island to make it more attractive. He said the game park will have among others, an Aviary and an Ostrich Paddock and animals like the bush buck, kobs and Zebras to complement tourism activities such as fishing, safari, kayaking, canoeing, Jet ski ride and many water sports by the first week of April.

The Managing Director of Bluefone Marine Company Limited, Eric Nyarko, expressed gratitude to the management and Board of Directors of VRA for expressing confidence in the company and enabling it to exhibit its local competence.

The project, according to him, will to be executed by local staff of the company and few consultants from its foreign partners and will be completed as scheduled to meet its operational date of September 1, 2013.

Captain Benny Whalley, Master Mariner of Bluefone Marine said, although preliminary study of the hull of the burnt vessel confirmed it was in good shape, it will undergo extensive servicing before the newly designed body will be constructed on it. He said the 350 capacity of the old function boat was to be maintained with a new model which meets the best international standard.

According to Captain Whalley, the new boat when completed will have three main decks with improved fire fighting devices, increased navigational speed, and improved toilet facilities among other.

MV Dodi Princess until the fire disaster was generating 40 per cent revenue for the Volta Hotel, a subsidiary hospitality company of VRA, from scheduled cruises and charters to the Dodi Island on the Volta Lake. It was originally built as a cargo boat in 1981 with the name Grains Maid to convey cargo from the Tema Port to Akosombo but was redesigned and converted into a luxury tour boat by a German Engineer, Hans Hein, in 1991.

Some sessions of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Conference hosted in Ghana in that year, including the signing of the Liberian Peace Accord was held on the boat.

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