Commercial Marine 398


Sydney Ferries remain in Government control

NSW Premier Kristina Keneally has announced Sydney Ferries will continue to operate ferry services on Sydney harbour — and they will remain in public hands. A new service agreement will be signed with Sydney Ferries in the first quarter of 2010.

The decision followed conclusion of a market testing process in which Veolia Transport and Transdev TSL were invited to make offers for private operation of the services. That process was initiated in response to Brett Walker’s 2007 Special Commission of Inquiry into Sydney Ferries, which recommended that the Government “undertake to pay a price fixed by a service contract to a private enterprise corporation for the provision of ferry services” unless “bids from the market do not compare sufficiently favourably with the prospects offered by SFC [Sydney Ferries Corporation]”.

In announcing the decision just before Christmas Keneally said the NSW Government had made the “policy decision that Sydney Ferries should run ferry services as a NSW Government agency rather than a private operator.

“This is a tough decision, but it is the right one. Over the last few weeks, I have listened to the community and responded. We believe the decision to keep Sydney Ferries in public hands is in the best interests of Sydneysiders,” he said.

There was no mention of how the bids made by industry compared to the performance currently provided by Sydney Ferries, but the Minister for Transport and Roads, David Campbell, indicated that Sydney Ferries’ performance needs to improve.

He noted that the ferry market testing process began prior to the creation of the new NSW Transport and Infrastructure super agency and that much of the strategic, and planning functions would be relocated into the new super agency to deliver the best outcome for ferry passengers.

“Ferry passengers deserve better services and already this year, Sydney Ferries has begun to make solid improvements,” Campbell said.

“The Government took into account the improved performance standards achieved by Sydney Ferries over the last 12 months since it was de-corporatised. But there’s more to be done and it won’t be business as usual at Sydney Ferries — a significant restructure will be carried out so that further improvements can be delivered,” he said.

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) said the decision would prove to be to the overwhelming benefit of Sydney commuters and tourists.

“We believe that the ferries in public ownership safeguards quality services for commuters, but there is no question that the service needs to show incremental improvement. For our part the MUA is committed to increasing productivity,” said MUA National Secretary, Paddy Crumlin in December.

“David Campbell recognised that already this year the service had begun to make solid improvements and this is no fluke. The Sydney Ferries Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) negotiated earlier this year delivers major reform inline with the recommendations of the Walker Inquiry and took nine months of negotiations.

“Maritime workers are an integral factor in the ferries’ future operations and they delivered the agreement in good faith with no industrial action. The workplace changes have ushered in an era of best practice.

“We look forward to getting on with the job. We have already seen travellers respond favourably to an improved customer-focused approach from the workforce and it’s an area where further gains can be made.

“The Union looks forward to working with the Government and Sydney Ferries management to deliver improved service and better outcomes, and to undertake the significant restructure being contemplated by the Minister in 2010,” Crumlin said.

Norwegian ferry for Gorgon Project

A cruise ferry is leaving the cool Norwegian fjords to come to Australia’s northwest to support the construction of a new port for the Gorgon LNG project.

The Norwegian operator Hurtigruten and Boskalis Australia have signed a contract for an 18-month charter of MV Finnmarken (pictured), with an optional 18 months extension.

The ship will be providing marine-construction support-vessel services for Boskalis Australia on the Gorgon project in Western Australia. The contract commences in early 2010 and is worth $135 million for the initial 18-month period. This includes the charter of a supply ship for the support of the provision of the services.

Hurtigruten has established a wholly-owned subsidiary in Australia, Hurtigruten Pty Ltd, as the contract partner.

Finnmarken will be manned with Australian personnel. Last October Boskalis won an €500 million contract from Chevron Australia for the construction of a port for the Gorgon LNG project. Work is due to be completed by the end of 2011.

The 643-berth Finnmarken will be used to house personnel working on the project.

Orion to add second small cruise ship

Sydney-based Orion Expedition Cruises is to increase the size of its fleet with the addition of a second specialist expedition cruise ship to join the existing 106-passenger Orion.

The company will long-term charter Clelia II (pictured), a 100-passenger, all-suite luxury expedition cruise ship, and re-name it Orion II. The ship, configured to Orion’s requirements, is scheduled to commence expedition voyages under the Orion Expedition Cruises banner in May 2011.

Sarina Bratton, Orion’s Managing Director, is upbeat about the expansion of the business she started in 2004, citing a strong existing market — despite tough current worldwide economic conditions — and growing interest from international markets in expedition cruising in this part of the globe.

Orion II will be based in South East Asia offering a wide range of expeditions that will include Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, the Indonesian archipelago, Japan and Borneo.

Recently subject to a €13 million ($A21 million) refurbishment undertaken by the present operators, with emphasis on technical enhancements and upgraded environmental systems, the ship will also undergo additional cosmetic enhancements to bring her fully into the Orion style.

Clelia II was originally launched as Renaissance Four in late 1990 and relaunched in 2009 after extensive technical refurbishment, redecoration and other improvements. The all-suite, yacht-like cruise ship accommodates only 100 guests in 50 suites, each of which affords ocean views, measuring 20 to 26.5m², and appointed with a sitting area or separate living room, twin or queen-size beds, spacious closets, and air-conditioning.

Decorated with rich fabrics, wood, brass, rare antiquities and fine works of art, the ship’s public spaces include a library, two lounges, dining room, two sundecks, Jacuzzi, gym/spa, beauty salon, boutique and hospital. An elevator serves all passenger decks.

The ship is ice-strengthened enabling operations in the Antarctic and is equipped with a fleet of RIBs to enable easy shore access in remote locations.

Trinidad trio delivered

The first three of six fast-patrol boats for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG) has been delivered by designer and builder Austal.

TTS Scarlet Ibis, TTS Hibiscus, and TTS Hummingbird were shipped from Western Australia and handed over in the Caribbean nation towards the end of 2009. The remainder will be commissioned into service early this year.

The TTCG described the speed and manoeuvrability of the patrol boats as “impressive” following sea trials in which the 30m aluminium monohulls achieved speeds in excess of 40kts as well as a small tactical diameter and short crash stop distance.

Director of Trinidad’s Defence Transformation and Integration Secretariat, Commodore Garnet Best said the TTCG had been impressed with the performance.

“Our first impressions of the vessel were excellent, with the boat manoeuvring well and the speed right up over 40kts,” Best said.

“We were also impressed with the noise levels inside the vessel, given many similar vessels can be quite noisy. These vessels will be the first of their size in the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard with waterjets and as far as I have seen the technology is very good.

“These vessels have been very well designed to perform numerous roles including the interdiction of illegal drugs, customs and immigration border control, fire services and prisoner transport, protection of our marine environment as well as protection of our oil and gas resources. We are confident that the speed of the vessels will contribute to their effectiveness in the interdiction of illegal drugs,” said Best.

Study reveals industry safety patterns

The National Marine Safety Committee (NMSC) has for the first time published a national incident data analysis report for commercial vessels. The report delivers information on national incidents and trends, which it is hoped will assist the Australian maritime industry in its safety considerations.

The study found that 2760 commercial-vessel marine incidents occurred in Australia between 2005 and 2008, resulting in 47 fatalities (1.8 per cent) and 783 injuries (28.4 per cent) — including 173 serious injuries.

NMSC’s Research Manager, Dr John Bentley, considers the report an important step towards gaining a clearer picture of national safety issues for the commercial-vessel industry and a marker for seeking more detailed data.

“Included in the findings was the prevalence of the passenger vessel as the most common vessel type involved in marine incidents,” Bentley said.

“This result is not surprising at all as under-reporting of incidents is very common for other types of commercial vessels,” he said.

The results of the analysis also suggest that:
* Fishing vessels were more often involved in fatal incidents than other types of commercial vessels;
* Human factors were the most significant contributing factors to incidents;
* A significant number of incidents involving commercial vessels occurred between 6am and 6pm in clear weather conditions;
* The most common type of commercial-vessel incident was due to collision of vessels; and,
* The least common type of incident was by loss of stability.

Newcomer awarded Manly high-speed ferry contract

The largely unknown Seaflight Ferry Services is the successful tenderer for the new Manly high-speed ferry contract and will be commencing operations on Sydney Harbour in April 2010. The company takes over from Bass & Flinders Cruises, which had enjoyed considerable success with its Manly Fast Ferry service.

The decision was announced two days prior to Christmas by NSW Minister for Transport and Roads, David Campbell.

“Amongst a strong field of five local and international operators, Seaflight made the most competitive bid and was able to show that it will be ready to begin operations on April 1, 2010,” Campbell said.

Although it does not currently operate ferries, Seaflight is a company within the same group that runs Sydney Ship Repair and Engineering (SSRE). Based in Sydney Harbour, SSRE operates a range of marine activities including charters and vessel maintenance.

The Government and Seaflight have signed a five-year contract, with options for up to three years, that provides Seaflight with wharf access rights at Manly and Circular Quay during the morning and afternoon peaks.

Seaflight, which will operate as Sydney Fast Ferries, plans to commence operations with 30 services per day, with a journey time of 18 minutes. Two 300-passenger high-speed catamarans have been leased to provide these initial services. The company has also placed orders for two new custom-built high-speed catamarans with capacity for 350 passengers. These should be ready for service by the end of 2010. Once they are commissioned, Seaflight plans to reduce the journey time to 15 minutes and operate 36 services each day.

Campbell said that the approach used in the tender process was similar to the approach taken to establish the high-speed service following the discontinuation of JetCat services.

“This longer-term contract will enable Seaflight to invest with greater certainty in ongoing staff development, vessels and marketing,” Campbell said.

“The Manly high-speed ferry will continue to operate as a deregulated service, with the operator taking full responsibility for the service standards including the fare levels, ticketing arrangements and the vessels to be used to provide the service,” he said.

Incat Crowther workboat success continues

The diversity of Incat Crowther’s product range has been highlighted with recent deliveries in the Middle East and the United States. The Sydney-based firm is arguably best known for designing high-speed aluminium catamaran ferries, but the latest completions are all workboats. What’s more, two of them are steel-hulled monohulls.

Araz and Khudaferin were built by Topaz Shipbuilding at its shipyard in the United Arab Emirates. The 35m monohull crewboats are the first two of up to five vessels to be delivered to Caspian Marine Services to operate on the Caspian Sea. The third is already under construction.

The vessels are capable of carrying 62 passengers and 50 tonnes of deck cargo at a service speed of 18kts fully loaded. Propulsive power comes from three Caterpillar C32 ACERT diesels each producing 1450hp.

The high-tensile steel hulls are connected to aluminium superstructures using Triclad explosion-bonded composite strips.
The main cargo deck has an area of approximately 134m² and has been arranged to carry three standard containers. A deck crane provides self-loading capability for lightweight items.

The main cabin seats 54 passengers in a standard ferry-type arrangement and there are four twin-berth crew cabins below deck. The crew space also has wash and mess facilities, as well as a fully-equipped galley.

The upper deck houses the main control stations, which feature forward and aft control stations.

Incat Crowther drew upon their expertise with catamaran hullforms and aluminium construction when producing the design of the 27m workboat John A. B. Dillard Jr, which was recently delivered to the US Army Corps of Engineers for operation in San Francisco. Built by Kvichak Marine in Seattle, the vessel follows on from two similar catamarans launched in 2006. The vessel is used to clear obstacles and navigational hazards from San Francisco Bay and its tributaries.

The catamaran has a large working deck aft, featuring access to aft platforms. The working deck features all the equipment required by the operator, all serviced by an Effer deck crane.

In typical workboat fashion the main deck house is located forward. It includes toilet and shower facilities, access to the hulls and a large mess cabin, comprising galley and tables and chairs. Generous sidedecks allow access to the foredeck.

Upstairs is the wheelhouse equipped with three helm seats, a lounge and chart table. Below decks are the tank compartments, enginerooms and thruster spaces. The vessel is fitted with two Wesmar bowthrusters for manoeuvrability.

Incat Crowther says one of the key design additions is the plating belt around the waterline. This strip of half-inch plate protects the vessel from floating debris. Another operational feature is the sonar unit mounted on the main deck, allowing detection of submerged debris.

Powered by a pair of 1300hp Caterpillar C32 ACERTs John A. B. Dillard Jr has a cruising speed of 26kts.

Tahitian cat seeks new home

It doesn’t come complete with the famous blue waters of Tahiti but the cruise catamaran Haumana has plenty of onboard features to attract potential buyers — be they commercial or private.

After many years of successful service, Tahiti Haumana Cruises has placed the 36m by 13.8m aluminium catamaran on the market. Built by Precision Marine in Western Australia, the vessel has been constantly maintained, and regularly refurbished, to maintain the high standards demanded by both boutique cruise passengers and French flag. This included a full refurbishment in 2007.

Haumana is in survey for a maximum of 40 people and has 18 cabins all of approximately 15m². Twelve of these cabins — nominally for guests — are located one level up from main deck (Deck 2). Fitted out to combine comfort, intimacy and an authentic Polynesian atmosphere, each of these cabins has views through panoramic windows. All cabins feature queen-size beds, individual climate control, and private en suite bathrooms. The hotel-style amenities also include television, audio-visual system, a safe deposit box and mini-bar. To cater for families two cabins have an extra sofa bed that can be used for a child under 12 years-old under the current survey. Another cabin is currently set up as a massage centre.

The aft section of the main deck (Deck 1) is devoted to the 40-seat restaurant and the immediately adjacent galley and steward’s area. Farther forward are the other six cabins (nominally for 14 crew) and crew mess, while aft is an open deck that provides access to the deck above or down to the hoistable platform from which guests can swim or use the various watersports equipment carried onboard. Those wanting to enjoy the water onboard can relax in the spa on the forward sundeck.

With the exception of the bridge, the upper deck (Deck 3) is a pure relaxation zone with an outdoor lounge bar and the main lounge, which with its picture windows takes full advantage of its elevation. The spacious lounge is also equipped with a large flatscreen TV and a DVD. Tahiti Haumana Cruises have also set up this area so that it can cater for corporate and other special-interest groups who use it for lectures or movie broadcasting for seminars or working sessions.

As far as function is concerned, the propulsion package is a pair of 1000hp Detroit/GM 12V 92 diesels spinning fixed-pitch propellers. This delivers a cruise speed of 12kts. Electrical needs are catered for by three 150kVa Cummins 6CT gensets and freshwater tankage is supplemented by a pair of reverse osmosis watermakers capable of producing 18 tonnes per day. The Chiller air-conditioning system features two separate compressors, condensers and evaporators.

Haumana is currently lying in Papeete, Tahiti and is offered for sale by her owner for €2.5 million.

Green engines for whalewatcher

Volvo Penta says meticulous tests to identify the most environmentally sound engine alternative preceded the launch of a new whalewatching boat in Kaikoura, New Zealand last November.

Whale Watch Kaikoura’s latest vessel is an 18m catamaran equipped with two 750hp Volvo Penta engines coupled to Hamilton HJ403 waterjets that feature Hamilton’s Blue Arrow steering and control system. It is the first installation of its type in a New Zealand passenger ferry. Wawahia is from the drawing board of Nic De Waal’s Teknicraft and was built in New Zealand by Q-West.

According to Volvo Penta, its diesel engines help to minimise the effect the boat has on the marine environment. At the same time they allow the foil-assisted catamaran to carry 48 passengers at around 35kts.

The engines were delivered by Volpower NZ Ltd, Volvo Penta’s importer in NZ. Volpower notes that Whale Watch Kaikoura is an Enviro-Gold member of the Qualmark NZ environmental programme and this is a “perfect fit” with Volvo Penta’s Green Commitment policy.

The D16 engines and Hamilton Jet combination is the first to hit the water in NZ in a passenger-carrying vessel and appears to be an extremely successful combination with a top speed of more than 35kts, which allows for much reduced throttle openings for sustainable, economic cruising speeds.

Ausmarine expo returns to WA

After an absence of six years, the Ausmarine Exhibition and Conference will return to Western Australia in November 2010.

“Many of our Australian and overseas customers have been asking us when we would revive Ausmarine,” event organiser, Kishore Navani explained.

“They were well aware that the Australian maritime market had started to change both dramatically and positively. At previous Ausmarines, fishing was an important component but that industry has suffered severely from the depredations of the green movement and Government,” Navani said.

“Fortunately, however, developments in offshore oil and gas, mining, ports, tourism and other coastal development have far more than made up for the decline in fishing,” he said.

The organiser, Baird Events, said early discussions with major players in the Australian and, particularly, the West Australian maritime industry indicate a bigger, better and much more balanced event.

“We expect a really widespread response from designers and builders of vessels, and the suppliers of equipment and services to them,” Navani said.

“We are confident that Ausmarine 2010 will be useful and attractive to vessel owners and operators of all kinds from the smallest of work and fishing boats to the largest tankers and bulkers. Ferries, tugs, OSVs, construction vessels, dredgers, patrol craft, rescue and pilot boats, cruise vessels, dive boats and much more will all be catered for,” he said.

MTU 4000 impresses in workboats

MTU says its long-stroke Series 4000 engines from the Ironmen range are specially optimised to meet the needs of workboats and a leading Western Australian operator is clearly impressed.

Bhagwan Marine has nominated MTU as the engine of choice for its entire fleet. Managing director, Loui Kannikoski said the new MTU Ironmen Series was chosen because it met the demands of their business.

"We wanted reliability and longevity, which is what MTU is renowned for, and we've put the heaviest rating that we could on those engines," Kannikoski said.

"The decision to upgrade to the Ironmen Series 4000 was made even easier based on the fuel and maintenance savings to be had. MTU Detroit Diesel Australia is focussed on engine technology and offer 24/7 backup assistance, no matter where you are," he said.

Launched in March 2009 Lauri J is the latest addition to Bhagwan Marine's crewboat fleet of 25 contracted to the oil and gas industry. It is powered by twin MTU 12V 4000 M60R engines that are specifically designed to be extremely robust and reliable, easy to operate and provide the lowest fuel consumption.

Bhagwan Marine has undertaken a vast array of projects in the oil and gas industry in the last dozen or so years. These have included dive support, field work, buoy maintenance, remote operated vehicles, drilling, grab sampling and water testing.

"These projects call for top-of-the-line electronics," said Kannikoski. "This is why MTU is the perfect fit — they are at the forefront in electronics."

The vessels have a lifespan of up to 30 years, and Kannikoski upgrades his engines every 10 years to keep up with the latest improvements in engine technology.

"We are focused on client needs and requirements and are committed to offering the very best in purpose-built vessels, incorporating the latest technologies and safety features," Kannikoski said. "The MTU Series 2000 and Series 4000 reliably meet our demands."

Kannikoski now runs a suite of MTU Series 2000 and Series 4000 in his fleet. Lauri J runs on the Series 4000 workboat engines, which cover a power spectrum of 700kW to 2240kW. The especially high torque makes powerful acceleration and reliable manoeuvring possible.

"She travelled from Geraldton to Exmouth at 14kts and averaged 165lt/h. This has left us all amazed at how economical she is," said Kannikoski.

Lauri J has exceeded Bhagwan Marine's expectations so much that they are going to commission a sister ship. The engine selection for Lauri J's sister will be the same, but she will be five metres longer.

Photos: Sydney Ferry; Norwegian ferry MV Finnmarken will now service the Gorgon Project in Western Australia; Orion Expedition Cruises will long-term charter Clelia II and rename her Orion II; One of six Austal-built fast-patrol boats for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard; Incat Crowther workboat, the 27m John A.B. Dillard Jr; Incat Crowther crewboat, the 35m Khudaferin; Tahitian cruise catamaran Haumana; Haumana cabin; Haumana restaurant; Volvo whalewatcher, the Wawahia; The MTU 8V 4000 is part of a series of workboat engines delivering between 700 and 2240kW