George Duclos (1933-2020)

  • Ship builder: George Duclos (1933-2020)

    Ship builder: George Duclos (1933-2020)

The head of a Massachusetts ship maker who engineered and built Bermuda’s first two fast ferries, and several pilot boats and tugs still working in local waters, has died at 86.

George Duclos was chief executive of Gladding-Hearn, a shipbuilding firm based in Somerset, Massachusetts, when the company signed its multimillion-dollar fast ferry contract with the Bermuda Government in 2000.

His links to Bermuda went back to 1979, when the company designed and built the pilot boat for St George’s.

His son, Peter, president of the company, said the vessel was still in use as Bermuda’s primary pilot boat.

He added: “He was very proud of our longstanding association with Bermuda.”

The company designed and built the buoy tender Dragon in 1981, as well as a system of offshore buoys still in service, along with line-handling tugs the Princeton and Inspector in 1984 and 1985.

The search-and-rescue boat St David followed in 1986, with a new version built in 2011, and, in 2002, the two fast ferries Serenity and Resolut e, a mainstay of the Dockyard-Hamilton service.

Born in Fall River, Massachusetts, Mr Duclos joined Gladding-Hearn at 22.

Backed by Pauline, his wife, the father of four helped grow the company into a major builder of small commercial vessels.

The work ranged from high-speed catamaran ferries to pilot and patrol boats, tugboats and research vessels.

In 1983, as vice-president, Mr Duclos bought the company and merged it with his family business, the Duclos Corporation.

By his retirement in 2011, the firm had built almost 400 vessels.

Mr Duclos died on Saturday. His obituary stated his greatest joy came from “working with his family and all the talented people at the shipyard”.

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Published Feb 21, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 21, 2020 at 8:01 am)

George Duclos (1933-2020)

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