Commercial Marine 400


Naval ship repair sector reform

The Commonwealth Government has announced reforms to Australia's naval ship-repair sector that it says will help deliver better results for the Navy and more certainty for the defence industry.

Under the reforms, the Defence Materiel Organisation will reform the Navy's Major Fleet Unit Repair and Maintenance program. The principal reform is the establishment of long-term performance-based contracts for repair and maintenance activities in lieu of the current arrangement that is based on awarding a contract under a panel arrangement for each and every maintenance activity.

This will lead to the batching of requirements and affects the maintenance and repair of the Major Fleet Units - the eight ANZAC class frigates, the four Adelaide class frigates, the two Amphibious Landing Ships and the Heavy Landing Ship.

It is also intended that these new maintenance concepts will be extended to new ship classes such as the Air Warfare Destroyers and the Landing Helicopter Dock Ships when they are introduced.

“These reforms being announced… will lead to greater certainty in the naval ship-repair sector allowing for increased investment and better performance. This is good for jobs, good for the taxpayer and good for the Navy," said Greg Combet, Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science.

Western Australia's new floating dock a world-first

What is being described as the most technically advanced floating dock and transfer system in the world has been officially launched at the Australian Marine Complex (AMC).

The new floating dock is part of a four-year $170 million upgrade to the AMC, which also includes self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs), the eastern wharf and a transfer wharf.

Named Yargan, the dock measures 99m by 53m at present, but its design allows for a second stage to be built that will adjoin the dock and provide an additional 132m of docking capacity. The second stage will be attachable as required and operate seamlessly as one complete 232m unit.

The dock was built by AMC-resident Strategic Marine, which carried out construction at its facilities in Henderson, WA, and Vietnam. Overall, more than 70 per cent of the floating dock was built within WA including fabrication of the 1000-tonne steel sidewalls and the development and integration of all ‘smart’ components.

The WA Government expects the floating dock will add more than $2 billion to the State’s economy over 25 years through naval contracts as well as up to $100 million a year for resources-related projects.

The 99m by 53m dock can lift vessels displacing up to 12,000 tonnes out of the water for service and maintenance and facilitate the water-to-land transfer of vessels up to 3500 tonnes.

WA Lands Minister Brendon Grylls said the dock’s capabilities were vital for supporting the Royal Australian Navy Collins Class submarine fleet, which would be serviced at the Common User Facility until at least 2032.

“This new $60 million floating dock is a world-first and we are very proud to be launching it,” Grylls said. “No other dock in the world can move in more than one direction at a time and very few docks have the capability to transfer and offload vessels,” he said.

The State’s Commerce Minister, Troy Buswell said the new infrastructure would significantly enhance the common-use capabilities of the AMC and link WA industries with the development and operation of major resources, petroleum and defence projects.

The WA Government is currently looking at a range of options regarding the second stage of the dock.

New research vessel gets a name

Investigator has been chosen as the name for the Australian Government’s new $120 million deepwater research vessel. The name was chosen after a public competition which received 1458 entries.

Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, said: “Matthew Flinders’ circumnavigation of Australia onboard the original Investigator over 200 years ago was a remarkable achievement.

“It is time we followed in Matthew Flinders’ wake and embarked on a meaningful journey of discovery to unlock the secrets of our vast marine territory. The Investigator will be just the tool our scientists need to make this possible,” he said.

A call for proposals for the design, construction and potential provision of through-life maintenance of the vessel closed in January.

Carr also took the opportunity to welcome the appointment of experienced marine engineer Graham Stacey as Project Director for the Marine National Facility Future Research Vessel.

Stacey is the Sole Principal Consultant of Graham Stacey Associates, a successful project management company specialising in ship construction and conversion. Stacey’s experience ranges from contract management, procurement and scheduling, through to construction, client relations and safety. He recently took part in multi-million dollar projects in the major newbuilding shipyards of Korea, Japan and Singapore, and has previously held positions with Teekay Shipping (Australia) and BHP Transport Limited.

“With his extensive marine engineering and contracting experience I am confident that Mr Stacey will drive this project towards the expected completion date in 2012,” Carr said.

“The new vessel is an exciting development for Australian marine science and I am pleased to have the opportunity to be part of it,” Stacey said. “The vessel will be capable of operating continuously for 55 days at sea and will support a broad range of sophisticated scientific activities by multi-disciplinary teams.”

Trimaran launched

Austal has launched and commenced sea trials of its 102m high-speed trimaran vehicle-passenger ferry, but is yet to sell the ship which has been built as a stock vessel.

The ferry was launched in December and underwent final fitout at Austal’s Henderson, WA, shipyard prior to the commencement of sea trials in January. In March, Austal released the first results of those trials, indicating that performance had exceeded expectations by achieving a speed of 39kts at 90 per cent power while loaded with 340 tonnes deadweight. The ferry is designed to carry up to 1165 passengers and 254 cars and is powered by three 9100kW MTU diesels.

Speaking following the launch, Austal Director — Sales and Australian Operations, Andrew Bellamy, said the vessel had already generated considerable interest in the ferry industry and that he anticipated that this would increase following its launch.

“It’s not often that a vessel this technologically advanced enters the water. Many operators around the world are excited about what the trimaran can bring to their service — particularly in terms of passenger comfort, payload and fuel efficiency,” Bellamy said.

Austal has indicated that it expects the ship to be sold before the end of the current financial year.

Size, no Limit

First there was No Limit, then there was Unlimited and now the Offshore Unlimited fleet has been augmented by its largest vessel yet — Limitless.

The 29m aluminium utility catamaran is the fiftieth vessel built by Richardson Devine Marine (RDM) in Hobart, and the latest in a long list of collaborations between RDM and Sydney-based naval architects Incat Crowther. The vessel follows up on the partnership’s successful Unlimited, a 24m utility catamaran.

While there is a large degree of continuity in the designer-builder-owner relationship, there is definite development when it comes to the vessel.

Incat Crowther notes that Limitless features a new evolution of its hullform, a fact easily recognisable from the near vertical bows. The designers say the new shape has proven itself during sea trials, with Limitless achieving a top speed of 30.5kts. Incat Crowther says this longer, more capable vessel is able to travel 3kts faster with only 100hp extra.

Propulsive power is provided by a pair of Caterpillar C32 ACERT diesels, each rated to 1080kW at 2300rpm. Limitless is capable of carrying 60 tonnes of deadweight including 30,000lt of fuel. The 84m² aft deck, with a cargo capacity of 24 tonnes, is configurable for multiple uses. It has a large moonpool for exploration services, securing points for two 20ft containers, a Heila deck crane (capable of lifting 6.5 tonnes) and a removable hydraulic 5-tonne SWL A-Frame (including a reel winch). The vessel also features a towing hook and delivers a bollard pull of 15 tonnes.

In the main deck cabin and hull spaces, Limitless features accommodation for 12, including galley, lounge, laundry and pantry facilities. The catamaran is in NSCV 2A/1B survey for up to 32 passengers and 18 crew and the upper-deck wheelhouse feature crew and passenger seating and work stations, 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.

Incat Crowther says that the new hullform also brings the advantage of increased range and better damping in a head sea, allowing the operator to reposition the vessel more effectively.

Offshore Unlimited is a Tasmanian company providing vessels in Australian waters with operations out of Dampier and Mackay. At least for the time being Limitless has taken its place alongside Unlimited and is deployed in Bass Strait.

Incat Crowther expands

While busy with local projects such as Limitless, Incat Crowther is also expanding internationally, with the recent establishment of a new US office.

The new office results from the integration of an existing firm, Alliance Marine Design. Its team of naval architects has a wealth of experience in the design of monohull vessels, including passenger vessels, crew boats, fast supply boats, and other vessels related to the oil and gas industry.

The company hopes that, in addition to an enhanced product offering, the new office will enable Incat Crowther to provide technical support in the American time zone “whilst maintaining the rigorous process and service that has been the cornerstone of the organisation”.

Kongsberg wins RAN simulator contract

Norwegian company Kongsberg Maritime Simulation & Training has been awarded a contract worth around $7.25 million to supply the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) with ship bridge simulation systems to upgrade the Navy's training centre, located at HMAS Watson in Sydney.

The upgraded ship bridge simulator system will comprise two full-mission simulators, four part-task simulators, 10 desktop systems, instructor, and debrief stations and extensive visual systems. Delivered in two phases, Kongsberg Maritime will upgrade RAN's existing Kongsberg simulators and deliver new simulation systems to complement the Navy's growing simulation equipment.

"The Royal Australian Navy has a long and successful relationship with Kongsberg, and the upgrade of our simulators with state-of-the-art Kongsberg bridge simulators will provide us with the facility to continuously enhance our training programs and competencies," said Commander Glenn Robinson, HMAS Watson.

The delivery will provide the RAN with high-fidelity visual effects of ships, ship behaviour and the maritime environment. The RAN will be able to accurately replicate the full range of maritime operations likely to be experienced while on the bridge of a warship. This will include the ability to test knowledge, skills and competencies of trainees in scenarios ranging from simple tasks, such as passage planning, ocean passage and coastal navigation, to more complex tasks including pilotage, berthing and un-berthing, precise navigation and close-quarter manoeuvering when conducting warfare-type exercises.

"The RAN is an extensive user of Bridge Simulator functionality and capabilities, pushing the boundaries on its availability requirements and operational scenario expectations,” said Robinson.

“Kongsberg’s bridge simulator was analysed prior to selection and was assessed as capable of fulfilling the RAN's usage requirements for the current training programs and the flexibility of providing for future operational growth," said Rod McMahon, Director Minor Capital Projects (Navy), Defence Material Organisation.

Mermaid Marine secures Woodside standby OSV contract

Mermaid Marine Australia (MMA) has been awarded a two-year contract, plus a further one-year option, by Woodside Energy for the provision of standby services for Woodside’s offshore platforms, as well as a range of general services as required.

Mermaid Achiever will fulfil the contract for the initial six months and will then be substituted by Mermaid Searcher. Mermaid Searcher is a 54m multi-purpose vessel commissioned by MMA and delivered in 2008.

MMA Managing Director, Jeff Weber said: “MMA is delighted to have won this significant production support contract with Woodside. Woodside is one of our major clients and this award further strengthens our long-term contracts in the North West Shelf and reinforces MMA’s position as a service provider of choice.

“In recent months we have secured term contracts on five of our vessels ranging from 12 months through to five years in duration. This Woodside contract is a welcome addition to our longer term portfolio and supports our recent fleet expansion,” he said.

New MAN arrangements

The MAN Group has reassigned its global sales activities with MAN Nutzfahrzeuge transferring part of its business involving high-speed engines to the group’s sister company, MAN Diesel.

These activities are now integrated into MAN Diesel’s new High Speed Business Unit, which offers diesel and gas engines in a performance range from 70 to 1400kW. The unit is based in Nuremberg, Germany, where the engines continue to be manufactured as previously by MAN Nutzfahrzeuge.

“High-speed engines fit into our product portfolio extremely well. On the one hand, we’re able to logically supplement our product range, while on the other we’re able to move into a new maritime segment that promises profitable growth for the future,” said Dr. Stephan Timmermann, the MAN Diesel Executive Board member who is now responsible for the High Speed business.

In 2008, sales stood at around €217 million. MAN Diesel is looking to double that figure by 2015.

Appointment reflects growing vessel service business

WA-based shipbuilder Austal has appointed Chris Pemberton to the position of General Manager-Austal Service. The appointment comes during a period of significant growth for Austal Service, which is now an established global provider of in-service support.

According to Pemberton, Austal Service delivers tailored vessel-support packages aimed at maximising operational performance of commercial, defence/government and private vessels. In addition to warranty support of all new Austal vessels, it offers long-term maintenance contracts, refit and repair, spare parts sales, consulting, ship management and training to the entire maritime community.

In Australia these services are provided from the Henderson, WA headquarters; its shipyard near Hobart; and a dedicated service hub in Darwin. The organisation also has operations in Hong Kong, Oman, Egypt, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Pemberton previously held senior positions within Austal’s Sales and Marketing team and brings to the role more than 15 years experience in the aluminium-vessel industry.

Strategic provides Gorgon with turnkey solutions

Strategic Marine’s Australian Refit and Repair Department has recently undertaken a contract with PB Seatow to install stern rollers into two of its existing tugs. Both vessels are destined for Western Australia’s North West shelf as part of the highly publicised Gorgon Development Project.

The Japanese-built tugs are approximately 35m in length, boasting 4300hp and a bollard pull of 57 tonnes. The vessels will primarily be used for barge-handling duties.

The project was extremely important to Strategic Marine, which says it aims to provide a complete turnkey management solution to WA ship operators. When asked how significant the project was, Refit and Repair Manager, Anthony Bellottie commented: “It was an important first step for the team. We were able to provide PB Seatow with a range of services, whether it was fabrication, engineering, design, logistics support or general administration.

“The opportunity provided me with a clear understanding that clients are really looking for a one-stop shop, and with our shipbuilding experience I believe that we are well placed to do so. It was really great to work with a reputable ship owner like PB Seatow on our first Gorgon project,” he said.

PB Seatow, a subsidiary to Pacific Basin Shipping, is contracted to service Chevron’s Gorgon Development Projects through its partnership with OMS Australia. This contract will see PB Seatow providing a range of vessels to WA’s coast over the coming years.

“The project proved a challenging task, we were required to comply with Gorgon’s stringent HSE (Health, Safety & Environment) regulations,” explained Bellottie. “The experience gained in these areas will pay dividends for future projects.”

The Refit and Repair department at Strategic Marine has made significant progress recently, having now serviced a range of clients including PB Seatow, Westsea, Marine and Civil, Samson Maritime, and Total AMS.

Volvo Penta IPS finds workboat application

Volvo Penta’s IPS system, now well-established in the recreational boat market with more than 10,000 units, is now finding application in the commercial-vessel sector. A European shipyard is among the first to incorporate the system in a workboat, having specified it for a new 16m fast pilot boat design.

The aluminium boat will be equipped with twin IPS1050 units, which are currently the largest version of the IPS. These will be matched with Volvo Penta’s D13 diesel engine — a combination that has only recently been released to the market.

Baltic Workboats will design a completely new hullform to get the best performance from the IPS system. The new boats will be launched during 2011 and are expected to produce speeds well over 30kts using the twin 588kW packages.

“It is pleasing to see that we already now have such a strong acceptance for our largest IPS system. The advantages for the operators, especially when it comes to fuel savings, are so obvious that I think we can expect a rapid increase of the IPS market shares within commercial shipping,” said Gerard Törneman, head of Volvo Penta Marine Commercial product planning.

In addition to the new IPS1050, Volvo Penta’s expansion of the IPS program will see an IPS1200 released this year, also coupled to the 13lt-engine but expanding the delivered power range to 1200hp.

Photos: Sector reform could change the scope of work for facilities such as the Captain Cook graving dock operated by Thales in Sydney; Austal’s 102m high-speed trimaran ferry undergoing final fitout at Austal’s Henderson, WA, shipyard; The 102m ferry in sea trials. Now all Austal needs is a buyer; The 29m aluminium utility catamaran Limitless is the fiftieth vessel built by Richardson Devine Marine (RDM) in Hobart; Limitless features a new evolution of its hullform, a fact easily recognisable from the near vertical bows; The view from the virtual bridge created by Norwegian company Kongsberg Maritime Simulation & Training; MAN marine diesel engine; Chris Pemberton, new Austal appointment: The IPS1200 is the biggest pod-drive produced by Volvo Penta and due for release this year.