*File photo
*File photo

The power supply at Hamilton Docks sparked concern last night when a shipping firm was told there would be no electricity to plug in its refrigerated containers.

Bermuda Container Lines took the decision to pay for a night’s worth of fuel to prevent its customers’ goods from going off.

But questions remain over when the new power bank for the refrigerated containers will be up and running.

For the past year, refrigerated containers arriving into Hamilton had been kept cool by a huge generator operated by contractor Tommy Chiappa.

The generator was supposed to be a temporary measure while the electrical supply for the refrigerated containers was moved from Gate 7 to an area near Gate 8.

But delays to the docks project meant the generator was used for over a year at huge expense.

Last Friday Mr Chiappa was told by Government that the new electricity supply was ready and he should ship the generator off island.

However the Corporation of Hamilton has not authorized the use of the electrical bank until planning has signed off on it.

The confusion has left some importers fearing that their perishable goods may be left without power when they arrive on the dock.

A spokesman for Bermuda Container Line told customers yesterday: “We have been informed that there would be no electricity available tonight to plug in refrigerated containers that are currently on the docks. As many of you are aware, the electricity to the containers has been provided by a generator for the last several months while the electrical connections were moved from gate 7 to an area near gate 8. 

“The project manager for this has told the contractor supplying the generator to disconnect it and proceed with shipping it off island.

“The City of Hamilton is not authorizing the use of the electrical bank until planning has signed off on it and there has been a successful load test carried out.

“We believe neither side is talking to the other at this point.”

But he added: “Bermuda Container Line is in no way responsible for the operation of the reefer bank. 

“At the same time we truly believe we cannot sit by and let our customers’ containers thaw tonight due to circumstances beyond our control. 

“We have contacted the supplier of the generator and have confirmed that we will pay for one night’s worth of fuel. Please make every effort to clear your goods by tomorrow afternoon as we do not know if electricity will be available Wednesday night.

Mr Chiappa told the Bermuda Sun: “I was asked to stand down the old generator on Friday afternoon and begin to use the new system. But the Corporation say they have not received delivery of the new  power system and they can not authorize its use.”

A spokesperson for the Corporation of Hamilton said: “The docks x-ray project is a government project and not all elements have been signed off and handed over to the City of Hamilton.

“As such, the City of Hamilton is unable to comment or provide details on this situation.”