When Hank Bekkering announced his retirement from Point Hope Maritime, few could imagine a replacement as knowledgeable or passionate about the shipbuilding and repair industry. Enter Riccardo Regosa. Through a world-wide search, Regosa was selected as the person to lead Point Hope into the future. With significant expansion and modernization plans, Point Hope is well-positioned with Regosa at the helm to usher in a new era for B.C.’s oldest shipyard.
BCSN: Let’s start with a brief overview of your career and the steps that led you to Point Hope Maritime.
RR: After 10 years in the Royal Dutch Navy, I joined Damen Shipyards, initially as an engineer in the Field Services Department responsible for commissioning, technical training of crews and following up on guarantee claims of delivered ships. I discovered that I enjoyed working with people more than going around with ear mufflers on in the engine room so I made a switch to project management.
In this role, I worked in project management and senior management positions in shipyards in Russia, China, the Netherlands, Romania, United Arab Emirates and Poland. Following an assignment in Dubai in which I started up a new shipbuilding facility in a combined repair and shipbuilding yard for Damen, I was recruited by GSP Shipyard in Constanta, Romania, where I became Managing Director. It was from there that my family and I came to Victoria to join Point Hope. That was in August 2016.
BCSN: We have a side bar that describes the history of Point Hope Maritime so we don’t need to go into detail but I’d like to look at some of the investments made over the past decade to modernize the facility.
RR: Ian Maxwell, who is President and CEO of the Ralmax Group of Companies, purchased the bankrupt shipyard in 2003 and, at the same time, negotiated a long-term lease with the City of Victoria to justify the necessary $20-million investment in site improvements and modernization to ensure a competitive and responsible Point Hope Maritime operation. The shipyard upgrade and expansion in 2004 included remediation of the old docks, construction of a new marine railway and three spur lines, and a site-wide water recovery and treatment system. Point Hope reopened for business in 2006; by 2011 the shipyard was operating at capacity, employing up to 100 workers. In 2014, the Ralmax Group bought the shipyard lands from the B.C. Government which was a catalyst for further investment and expansion, including the relocation of United Engineering in 2015 from the Point Hope property to Sidney. The move enabled the addition of the fourth spur line which has increased capacity on the site and allowed us to pursue new lines of work, such as the fabrication of pontoons for BC Ferries.
For the past year, Point Hope has most often been working at capacity in the yard employing up to 200 workers including subcontractors and other service providers. More than 650 businesses, most of them local, are part of the Point Hope Maritime economy.
Point Hope is poised once again for expansion and we have recently filed an application with the Federal Government for an additional water lot that would allow for the addition of a graving dock.