Commercial Marine 397


World-first floating LNG technology for North West 

Royal Dutch Shell (Shell), the global energy and petrochemical group, is to use new Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) technology to process gas discoveries in the Browse Basin, off the northwest coast of WA.

FLNG technology, which has not yet been used commercially, processes gas ‘in situ’ over offshore gas fields. Shell says this reduces both project costs and the environmental footprint of an LNG development. The FLNG solution means the facility can be re-deployed to another gas field once production at one gas field is complete, and its standardised “design one, build many” approach allows repeatability gains to be captured during design and construction phases. It is suitable for more distant offshore fields, remains on station during harsh metocean conditions such as cyclones, and can process a wide range of gas compositions.

The dimensions of Shell’s FLNG facility are approximately 480m by 75m, with the capacity to produce around 3.5 million tonnes per annum of LNG, as well as condensate and LPG. When fully ballasted, the FLNG facility displaces around 600,000 tonnes.

The Prelude FLNG Project is now in the Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) phase of development. FEED for Prelude is being undertaken as part of Shell’s contract with the Technip-Samsung Heavy Industries consortium for the design, construction and installation of multiple FLNG facilities.

Malcolm Brinded, Shell’s executive director – Upstream International, said: “Shell is excited to be progressing with FLNG technology, which has the potential to unlock some of Australia’s ‘stranded’ gas reserves that have previously been considered uneconomic to develop because of their small size or distance from shore. FLNG technology adds to Shell’s LNG leadership — we are already the largest LNG marketer amongst the international oil companies, and are technical advisor to many of the world’s LNG facilities.”

Jon Chadwick, Shell’s executive vice president – Australia, Upstream International, said: “I am delighted that we are planning for the first application of Shell’s FLNG technology to be in Australia. This Project will produce LNG, condensate and liquefied petroleum gas during its 20-plus years of operation and it will contribute to Australia’s economy through employment, tax revenue and business opportunities for Australians.”

The Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, has welcomed the announcement by Shell. “For Australia, the development of floating LNG is very important as there are many remote gas fields in our waters which will remain uneconomic in the absence of this technology” he said, adding, “A CSIRO report in 2008 estimated Australian stranded gas reserves to be around 140 trillion cubic feet and worth around $1 trillion.”

Volumes up, but no profit for TT-Line

The number of passengers and their vehicles carried across Bass Strait by TT-Line Company’s Spirit of Tasmania ferries in 2008/09 increased compared to the previous financial year, and freight traffic remained steady, but the company lost $2.4 million after tax.

Total revenue increased by 5.2 per cent to $175.6 million contributing to an underlying operational profit of $6.7 million. However, taxation issues associated with the annual revaluation of the ferries and bunker fuel hedge derivatives resulted in the after tax-loss.

CEO Charles Griplas said the $8.3 million tax expense was a non-cash item and did not impact on the company’s cash flow.
“The cash flow statement published in the Annual Report shows the company paid off $25 million of its debt in 2008/09 as planned, leaving the company with cash and cash equivalents of $38.7 million, $11.4 million less than last year’s figure,” he said.

Griplas said TT-Line would be debt-free by 2010/11.

“Debt reduction has been one of our obvious priorities. It is important that we continue to strengthen our financial position given the previously announced strategy to replace the Spirits around 2017,” he said.

In the course of the year, the two ferries carried 390,746 passengers (up 1.5 per cent, 182,595 passenger vehicles (up 3 per cent) and 85,288 units of freight (down 0.4 per cent).

Griplas noted that the vessels maintained a perfect record in respect to schedules in 2008/09, never missing a sailing and completing every voyage.

Tuna success acknowledged by Time

Influential international magazine Time has named the work of Australian aquaculture pioneer Clean Seas Tuna Limited and its founder Hagen Stehr AO at the top of its 50 Best Inventions of 2009.

The company’s propagation of aquaculture-bred southern bluefin tuna at its purpose-built hatchery at Arno Bay, South Australia came second on Time’s list of the 50 Best Inventions of 2009 behind “the best and smartest and coolest thing built in 2009” — NASA’s Ares 1 rocket — and ahead of the AIDS vaccine.

Commenting on Clean Seas’ breakthrough breeding program, Time magazine said, “by coaxing the notoriously fussy southern bluefin to breed in landlocked tanks, Clean Seas may finally have given the future of bluefin aquaculture legs (or at least a tail).”

Stehr said the Clean Seas team and its collaborators were delighted by international recognition of the company’s breakthrough and excited by its commercial potential and its potential to provide a sustainable source of quality seafood particularly at a time when wild tuna stocks are under threat from over-fishing.

“Our achievement is a world first, and a major stepping stone to presenting the world with a sustainable food resource for the future. It is with confidence that Clean Seas Tuna will shortly commence commercialising its achievements to grow and produce southern bluefin tuna,” Stehr said.

“The emergence of a reliable and significant source of high-quality propagated fish, grown independently of wild catch in the clean waters of the Spencer Gulf at the same time as Northern Hemisphere fish stocks are declining will make our seafood even more attractive in world markets,” he said.

Over the next few months, Clean Seas will commence a commercial propagation and grow-out program for southern bluefin tuna after becoming the first organisation in the world to close the life-cycle of SBT in April last year.

Maltese patrol boats launched

Aluminium shipbuilder Austal has launched all four of the 21.2m patrol boats it is building for the Armed Forces of Malta.

The first two were launched in October — some seven months after the contract was signed — with the remainder following shortly thereafter. All boats are being built in Western Australia.

Powered by a pair of MAN D2842 diesels the boats are designed for a top speed exceeding 26kts and will primarily be used for surveillance and border protection operations in the Mediterranean Sea.

The vessels also have a fire-fighting capability while a radio direction finder, capable of tracking emergency frequencies, allows the vessels to perform search and rescue operations. A stern launching ramp allows the safe deployment and retrieval of a rigid hull inflatable boat, and dive operations are also supported via low-to-the-water platforms located aft.

Offshore Unlimited building second cat

Another purpose-designed and built utility catamaran is to be added to the fleet owned and operated by Offshore Unlimited.

The Tasmanian company provides a comprehensive range of offshore services including offshore installation re-supply, seismic ship re-supply, dive and ROV support, crew transfer and chase boat services. It currently has vessels operating out of Dampier and Mackay.

The order for the design and construction of the second catamaran follows the success of Unlimited, a 24m utility catamaran designed by Incat Crowther for Offshore Unlimited and completed in February 2009.

To be named Limitless, the new vessel will be a 29m high-speed catamaran workboat capable of carrying 50 tonnes of deadweight. The aft deck, with a cargo capacity of 24 tonnes, is configurable for multiple uses. It includes a large moonpool for exploration services, securing points for two 20-foot containers, a Heila deck crane (capable of lifting 6.7 tonnes) and a removable hydraulic five-tonne A-Frame (including a reel winch).

As with Unlimited, Limitless will feature a towing hook enabling the vessel to undertake lightweight tug duties. It will have a bollard pull of 12 tonnes.

Powered by twin Caterpillar C32 ACERT engines each producing 1350hp, the vessel has a service speed of 25kts. With two 15,000lt fuel tanks Limitless will have a range of more than 2000nm at 22kts. Limitless will be in NSCV 2A survey to 600nm from the Australian coast.

The cabin on main deck houses the galley, lounge and crew mess area, along with two officer cabins. Wash facilities are also provided on this deck, one accommodating laundry facilities. Additional crew cabins are located in both the port and starboard hulls bringing the vessel total to 12 berths. A large pantry is provided in the port hull.

The upper deck wheelhouse features crew and passenger seating and well equipped workstations, while the central helm seat affords good all-round visibility. Two wing control stations are fitted forward on either side with a tender/rescue boat situated aft within easy reach of the deck crane.

The vessel will have a total capacity of 50 personnel, including the vessel’s crew. It will have an extended range, allowing the operator to reposition the vessel far more effectively.

Like its predecessor, the vessel is being built at Richardson Devine Marine in Hobart. Construction is well underway and delivery is expected within a few weeks.

SA ferry service suspended

South Australian ferry operator, Sea SA, has suspended Wallaroo-Lucky Bay ferry services until mid-2010, after the charter ferry it had planned to use while its new ferry Aurora is constructed was unexpectedly withdrawn from the market.

“This is a great loss, as the ferry has become such an integral part of the travel and tourism experience between the Yorke and Eyre Peninsulas, but we want to assure you that we will be back better than before in 2010,” company directors Stuart Ballantyne and Stephanie Dawson said in a statement.

Sea SA has invested some $6 million over the last five years in the Wallaroo and Lucky Bay terminal facilities, and has plans for more to come. This includes the multi-million dollar, purpose-built Aurora, which will be capable of transporting 85 cars and 300 passengers.

Since commencing operations in 2006,
Sea SA has
operated at Lucky Bay on an annual license, which will not be converted to a lease until the Government reaches a resolution with the Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA).

Ballantyne and Dawson said this “is a matter we will continue to work on until a satisfactory outcome for future progress is reached. Similarly, Sea SA will be seeking resolutions with Government on the issues of truck access through Wallaroo, which currently prevents us from making our service available to all markets, as well as the proposed coastal land resumption by the Department of Environment and Heritage.”

MAN Diesel ups power on fast-ferry engine

MAN Diesel has announced an uprated, Tier-II emissions compliant version of is 28/33D engine — the 20-cylinder version of which has powered all the recent large catamaran ferries built by Incat in Hobart.

The new 28/33D version is available in 12, 16 and 20-cylinder versions, with respective power outputs of 5460, 7280 and 9100kW. With a 10 per cent overload now possible for one hour every six hours, these outputs rise to 6000, 8000 and 10,000kW respectively, thereby making the 20-cylinder version the first 10MW engine at 1000rpm.

The new V28/33D engine has the highest power density in its class while maintaining full compliance with IMO-II and EPA Tier-II legislation. Its compact design is tailored for three main segments: multiple propulsion applications, including all types of fast-ferry, naval ships, superyachts; a Sequential Turbocharging (STC) edition; and, as gensets for offshore applications.

Additional design features include the new, in-house-developed, engine-mounted SaCoSone safety and control system, and the new TCA33 turbocharger, which has been specially tuned for the V28/33D engine as it is a light, high-efficiency turbocharger with a compact design.

The STC version offers optimal engine-turbocharger matching. For naval applications in particular, this gives the engine an extended torque envelope that offers economical operating modes and improved engine-acceleration characteristics. The MAN Diesel STC system consists of two identical standard turbochargers, one providing copious charge-air at low and medium-speed, with the second cutting in at higher speeds.

Crab ban lifted

Cockburn Sound south of Fremantle, WA reopened to commercial and recreational crab fishng from December 15 following a three-year closure. Crabbing in the Sound was banned in 2006 to allow overfished stocks to rebuild and ensure the long-term sustainability of the fishery.

WA Fisheries Minister, Norman Moore said the precautionary closure had proved successful, enabling the fishery to be reopened between December 15 and March 31.

“The length of the season will help the ongoing recovery of the blue swimmer crab population in Cockburn Sound.
Fishers need to understand that it was excessive fishing as well as several years of poor recruitment in the fishery that led to the closure,” said Moore.

Researchers say the adult stock of crabs has risen since the closure but the fishery needs close monitoring to ensure a balance between access to and sustainability of the fishery.

Commercial crab fishers licensed to operate in Cockburn Sound have to comply with increased size limits and reduced pot numbers. They cannot take crabs smaller than 140mm across the widest part of the shell (up from 130mm) and have had the number of pots they can use reduced by 20 per cent.

Sub-metre position accuracy worldwide with new DPS

Kongsberg Seatex, a specialist in position reference systems, has unveiled the latest additions to its DPS (Differential Position Sensor) product portfolio.

Two new products, DPS 110 and DPS 112, have been developed to utilise the new Global Satellite Based Augmentation System (Global SBAS) introduced by the navigation specialist Fugro SeaSTAR AS, the SeaSTAR SGG service.

This new service offers corrections to both GPS and GLONASS that enables sub-metre accuracy with worldwide reach.

Konsberg says that, unlike regional SBAS services and local DGPS services, SeaSTAR SGG utilises Fugro's own network of dual system reference stations to calculate 'orbit and clock' corrections. The service provides consistent sub-metre level accuracy positioning with global validity. The DPS 110 and DPS 112 are also capable of supplementing SeaSTAR SGG corrections with regional SBAS and local DGPS corrections.

The Kongsberg Seatex DPS product line is well-proven and in use by professional marine and offshore users worldwide. By complementing the DPS product line and introducing the SeaSTAR SGG service, Kongsberg Seatex and Fugro SeaSTAR extend the user segment to new vessel categories.

"Operators have to consider the balance of cost versus operational benefits in choosing a professional DGPS solution for workboats and platform support vessels," said Vidar Bjørkedal, VP sales and customer support, Kongsberg Seatex.

Managing director, Arne Norum of Fugro SeaSTAR said: "The new SeaSTAR SGG service is a competitively priced variant of our premium G2 service. Whereas G2 provides decimetre level accuracy, SGG gives sub-metre level accuracy. SGG does, however, offer the same benefits of a composite GPS/GLONASS satellite solution.

“For users where availability and reliability are paramount, but accuracy demands are a little less, we believe that this will be the ideal solution.

“In particular we envisage applications in smaller, less complex vessels. SGG can, of course, be used as an independent alternative service together with the decimetre level SeaSTAR XP DGPS service," said Norum.

New engines and gearboxes transform training vessel

A pair of new Yanmar diesels mated to Twin Disc QuickShift transmissions have contributed to a remarkable makeover for a training vessel based in the Victorian port of Geelong.

Delphinus is a 17m fibreglass vessel, which began life in 1970 as a fisheries patrol vessel. The boat was sold to a Queensland recreational boating enthusiast before being purchased by Vic Goy’s Marine Training Services.

Established in 1996, Marine Training Services offers commercial training for people looking for employment in the marine industry including Master 4 and 5, Coxswain and Marine Engine Driver 2 and 3 courses. Training takes place at various regions throughout Victoria including Geelong, Docklands, Patterson Lakes and Hastings. Services offered to students include assistance for students with disabilities, career counselling and study skills assistance.

Delphinus has been the company’s current training vessel since Goy brought it from Queensland in 1999. “The delivery run from the Whitsundays to Melbourne took about two weeks,” he recalled. “And that included the breakdowns.”

The vessel as purchased had the original engines fitted. These were old American two-stroke diesels that were, according to Goy, “pretty heavy on fuel, maybe 60 litres per engine per hour.”

Goy put Delphinus to work training skippers for various commercial qualifications. Then one engine died about four years ago and needed a re-build. When Goy realised that the second engine was also beginning to fail, he also found that parts for the re-build would be a problem so decided to investigate a repower.

“I decided that it was time to get some modern-day technology into the engineroom,” Goy said. “Of course the big problem was that nowadays most commercial diesel engines are inline six-cylinder models and I was replacing a V8. The overall length with a gearbox attached was a practical consideration.

“Some of my students were skippers who had experience with Yanmar and they were glowing in their endorsement. Then when I looked closer at the specific Yanmar engines I found they were lower at the front end than other engines, particularly with the heat exchanger fitted.

“I looked at all the brands but settled on the Yanmar 6CX. Probably the best advice that I got was from the professional fishermen who recommended Yanmar by name,” said Goy.

The Yanmar 6CXGTYE is used extensively in fishing, patrol craft and passenger ferry applications. The conservative rating is 294kW (400hp) at 2700rpm. On Delphinus the engines are matched to Twin Disc MGX-5065SC QuickShift transmissions with a 2.43:1 reduction ratio. These are an offset or shallow case design, which assists in keeping the engines low in the vessel. The original props have been retained.

“These transmissions have to be experienced to be fully appreciated,” Goy said. “When engaging gear there is virtually no driveline shock, it is so smooth.

“When leaving the dock, the transmissions engage progressively until fully engaged and then further movement of the control increases engine RPM allowing slow-speed control and manoeuvrability,” he said.

The complete QuickShift system is a marriage of these transmissions and the Twin Disc Power Commander EC300 electronic controls. This precise operator control is commanded through either one of the two Dual Leverhead stations, which control engine throttles and gear shifting while also syncing the engines to run at identical rpm.

With the new engines and transmissions on board, the performance of Delphinus has changed noticeably for the better. The vessel used to cruise at around 11kts but now runs at 12 to 14kts while using only half the fuel. Noise levels are also reduced.

“I’m a very happy Yanmar customer,” Goy stated. “These engines and Twin Disc transmissions have delivered everything that I had hoped for and more.

“Our training courses are running smoothly and on schedule and just as important, our fuel costs have plummeted. That’s a win for my business whichever way you look at it,” he said.