Commercial Marine 403

Commercial Marine 403

New whale watcher underway

Although details of the contract have only recently been released, construction of the latest design from Paul Birgan’s Sea Speed Design is already well underway.

The 18.2m whale-watching boat is destined for operation out of Port Macquarie, NSW, and is being built by Marine Engineering Consultants on the Gold Coast.

The 7m wide aluminium catamaran will be in NSCV survey for 150 passengers (Class 1 D) or 100 passengers in 1C survey, and will be powered by a pair of Scania D12 60m diesels. Their combined 1050hp is expected to give a loaded speed of 24.5kts.

Birgan says the design’s features include ample whale-watching spaces, a wheelchair-friendly lower deck, excellent seakeeping, stable viewing platform and fuel efficient hulls.

Other recent Sea Speed projects include:
* A 12m, 44-passenger coral viewer for Queensland. The design was supplied in kit form and built at Gladstone by Blaze Boatbuilders and enables passengers to view underwater reefs without getting wet.
* Two 33m catamaran ferries for China, the second of which was delivered early this year.

Delayed Kiwi OPVs handed over
Although much delayed, the Royal New Zealand Navy’s two new offshore patrol vessels have now been delivered from the BAE Systems shipyard in Williamstown, Victoria.

The first, HMNZS Otago was handed over in February, with the second, HMNZS Wellington handed over in May.

Chief of Navy, Rear-Admiral Tony Parr said it was no secret the Navy had waited longer than planned to get the ships.

“The Navy is now focused on getting these ships into service to do the jobs they were designed for,” Parr said. “We’re confident the issues around the ships’ weight, which have contributed to delays in acceptance, can be managed so they can successfully carry out their missions. We wouldn’t have accepted the ships otherwise.”

Commenting on the deliveries, NZ Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said: “Getting delivery of the OPVs has been one of our critical Defence priorities in Government. Through a successful mediation process we have resolved contract issues to a point where these ships will do the job they are designed for, and do it well.

“They bring a major new capability to the Navy. They can perform the full range of maritime military capability from security missions and peacekeeping to border patrol and humanitarian and disaster relief, especially in the South Pacific," he said.

The OPVs will work closely with government agencies including the Ministry of Fisheries, Police, Maritime New Zealand and the Department of Conservation around the New Zealand coast, in the Pacific and Southern Ocean. The primary tasks of the new ships include:
* Maritime counter-terrorism;
* Surveillance and Reconnaissance;
* Surface contact detection, identification, interception and boarding;
* Apprehension and escort of vessels; and,
* Maritime Search And Rescue (SAR).

They have the ability to conduct helicopter operations using a Seasprite SH2G helicopter, boarding operations using the ships’ rigid inflatable boats, or military support operations with embarked forces.

Malta cat splashes
WA shipbuilder Austal has launched a 107m high-speed catamaran for Maltese operator Virtu Ferries.

Intended to address increased heavy-cargo traffic between Malta and Italy, Jean de la Valette has the capacity to carry 800 passengers and 156 cars at approximately 39kts. It is scheduled for delivery in August.

Virtu Fast Ferries Ltd managing director Francis Portelli said the company was impressed with the speed of construction and quality of workmanship.

“The level of communication that we have experienced with Austal throughout the build process so far has also been outstanding,” Portelli said.

Austal was awarded the contract in April 2009 following a competitive international tender process. The company is also nearing completion of a 102m trimaran ferry (which is available for purchase) and is also constructing its largest ever catamaran — a 113m ferry to be delivered to Denmark next year.

MIO gets Samson, new boats and new contracts
Singapore-based, Australian-listed-company Miclyn Express Offshore (MIO) has completed the 50 per cent acquisition of Fremantle-based offshore vessel operator Samson Maritime and followed it up with a series of new contracts.

The acquisition provides MIO with immediate access to the anticipated growth in Samson’s business as well as a platform for injecting its own vessels into charter opportunities in Australia, including the significant activity anticipated in the North West Shelf oil and gas projects.

Total consideration for the acquisition was $23 million, including $17.5 million in cash and $5.5 million in MIO script. Of the cash, $7.8 million was used to acquire new shares in Samson, which provides funds to reduce gearing and thereby increase Samson’s growth capacity. The remaining cash and shares were for the acquisition of existing Samson shares from the founders and now co-owners Ben Ward and Jeremy Williams.

MIO CEO Diederik de Boer said: “We are delighted to realise our vision of a shared fleet with Samson, and to create a platform whereby other assets in our substantial fleet can be positioned for the exceptionally strong growth we anticipate in our segment in Australia.

“Jeremy Williams and Ben Ward have built an excellent business in Australia, and we look forward to growing that in partnership with them,” he said.

Samson co-owner Ben Ward stated: “The acquisition is the result of a strong relationship between Miclyn Express Offshore and Samson over the past two years, and with renewed balance sheet strength and access to a broader fleet, Samson is well positioned to execute its Australian growth strategy”.

At the time of the acquisition Samson had secured four new charter contracts worth $11 million. These contracts involve two MIO vessels (Miclyn Legend and Miclyn Express 3) and two Samson vessels (Fine Time and Top Cat).

Miclyn Legend and Fine Time will be utilised in the development of Barrow Island to support the Gorgon gas project, while Miclyn Express 3 and Top Cat will be utilised in the port expansion project at Dalrymple Bay, Queensland.

In June, MIO announced the purchase of six further crewboats against long-term charter contracts for operations in Thailand, UAE and Saudi Arabia. Two Samson-owned crewboats, the 40m sisters Samson Supporter and Samson Supplier, were also repositioned from Australia to Saudi Arabia to operate on 18-month firm contracts with charter extension options in place.

New fast rescue craft heading to Tassie
Noreq, the Norwegian supplier of lifeboats, rescue boats and davits, has secured an Australian order for a new waterjet Fast Rescue Craft (FRC).

The order was placed by AMC Search, the commercial arm of the Australian Maritime College. The company says that demand for FRC training has been steadily increasing over recent years, and the new boat, with davit, is being acquired to ensure AMC’s FRC courses provide the “contemporary and high-quality learning experience expected by industry”.

Certified by Bureau Veritas as compliant with SOLAS and LSA Code, the 6.5m boat can carry up to 13 people and has a maximum speed of 30kts.

The davit will be installed on AMC’s Beauty Point wharf and the new waterjet boat will be used in conjunction with AMC Search’s other FRC, a 5m craft with twin outboard motors, in delivering FRC Operator courses compliant with STCW Table A-V1/2.2.

Last November, Noreq signed an agency agreement with AMI Marine International to represent Noreq and NoreqFender in Australia.

New cat for the Keppel
Freedom Fast Cats is the latest Queensland tourism operator to put a new purpose-designed and built ferry into service. Manufactured by Aluminium Marine/Reefmaster Boats, the 29m Freedom Monarch operates out of Rosslyn Bay and services the Keppel Islands.

The ferry’s design comes from Incat Crowther, which said the aluminium catamaran delivers its owner low fuel consumption, a reliable and robust craft, high passenger comfort and innovative features such as its beach landing capability.

When using shore-side facilities, Freedom Fast Cats can load passengers through side boarding gates at both ends of the main deck as well as the aft end of the mid deck. When servicing the islands, the crew can use the foredeck-mounted ramp, which allows passengers to be transferred to and from shore at locations without infrastructure. The ramp is rotated manually and deploys with hydraulic assistance.

Onboard, passengers have the choice of two interior decks and a sun deck.

The main-deck passenger cabin is a large, light and airy space featuring seating for 182 passengers in a mix of forward-facing and booth configurations. At the cabin’s aft end are a kiosk and a walkaround servery, while up forward there is a large luggage area. This means passengers can stow and pick up their bags in close proximity to the forward doors that lead to the bow ramp. On the mid deck are 30 external seats and 75 internal seats.

Located forward is the wheelhouse, featuring excellent visibility over the bow, which aids beach landings and makes for safe loading over the bow. It also features external bridge wing stations for extra operational safety and flexibility during close-quarter berthing.

The sun deck is fitted with low benches that allow passenger access to the rails to take in the views.

Freedom Monarch is powered by twin 670kW Yanmar 6AYM – GTE main engines and is propelled by fixed-pitch five-bladed propellers to give a speed of 25kts. Incat Crowther says its design leaves ample space around the main engines for maintenance and ventilation in a hot climate. Two Cummins gensets are fitted.

Principal particulars of the 29m catamaran are a waterline length of 26.8m, beam of 8.5m, depth of 3.6m and maximum draft of 1.65m. Maximum fuel capacity is 6800lt, with 1000lt for fresh water and 2000lt for sullage. Maximum deadweight is 37 tonnes.

Freedom Monarch is in NSCV 1D/1C survey and has been designed to operate with eight crew.

More offshore charters
Farstad Shipping announced in June that it has been awarded a 12-month charter contract for the anchor-handling tug-supply vessel Lady Caroline.

The 2003-built, 13,200hp UT 712 design has been secured by Woodside in a contract that formally began in May. The contract includes two one-year options.

Woodside has also extended the contract for the AHTS Far Strait (2006, UT 712L, 15,900hp) for a period of 12 months that commenced in April. It also involves two 12-month options.

Farstad and Woodside had entered into a series of other charter contracts earlier this year. These included 12-month deals for the PSV Lady Grace (2002, UT 755), the AHTS Far Stream (2006, UT 712L, 15,900hp), and the PSV Far Spirit (2007, VS 470 MKII).

The vessels are engaged in Woodside's ongoing drilling program in Australian waters.

New $30 million Perth facility for MTU
MTU Detroit Diesel Australia’s (MTUDDA) new Perth branch and Regional Head Office was officially opened in May. The 31,000m² development brings innovation and expertise in diesel and gas engines and power systems together in a purpose-built facility worth more than $30 million.

MTUDDA chairman and CEO, Doug Seneshen said the new building is strategically located in the heart of the West to help deliver the best support network in Australia.

“We've experienced significant growth in mining, oil and gas, power generation, marine, defence and on-highway markets in WA and this new building represents our commitment to providing unparalleled service and support to our customers here,” said Seneshen.

“Our investment in the latest technologies and modern amenities means we can offer our customers more than ever before, and creates a solid foundation for our next phase of growth in WA,” he said.

A key feature of the new Perth branch is the large-engine remanufacturing centre, used to rebuild engines that are nearing the end of their service lives, at a significantly lower cost than the price of purchasing a new one.

“In the past, some of the larger engines used by our mining, marine and defence customers have been sent to other facilities for remanufacturing,” Seneshen said. “Our new facility gives us the capability to do everything from Western Australia, which means faster turnaround times and reduced costs for our customers.”

A comprehensive training facility, with double the capability of the previous branch, also forms part of the new building. It is used to provide ongoing training for customers, staff and apprentices, as well as product and competency-based training for Navy electricians and diesel fitters.

Dockmaster Course in Cairns
Cairns, Qld, was the location for a comprehensive seven-day Dockmaster course conducted by Launceston-based AMC Search.

Participants in the course included personnel from Tropical Reef Shipyard, Norship Marine, Perkins Shipping, BAE Systems and the Cairns Slipway. They were able to reinforce the theory sessions of the course at the Norship Marine shipyard.

Dockmaster training is provided through AMC
Search with the option of a two-day course covering safe docking and undocking of vessels in and out of dry docks — such as graving docks, floating docks, slipways and synchrolifts, or a comprehensive seven-day course that covers all aspects of Dockmaster training.

AMC Search says courses are delivered on demand, usually tailored to client-specific needs, and ideally delivered at client docks.
However, if clients and trainees prefer, the courses can also be run at AMC in Tasmania.

Photos: Profile design of the 18.2m whale-watching boat destined for Port Macquarie; HMNZS Wellington at her acceptance ceremony. (Photo © Royal New Zealand Navy); Ready to hit the waves, the 107m high-speed ferry Jean de la Valette will operate between Malta and Italy; NOREQ FRC 650 and davit; The Yanmar-powered Freedom Monarch cat cruises at 25kts (Photo © Aluminium Marine); Beach landing is an unusual, but necessary capability for Freedom Monarch. (Photo © Aluminium Marine); MTU Detroit Diesel Australia’s new Perth branch and regional head office; Dockmaster-course theory sessions were reinforced with practical demonstrations, such as this Royal Australian Navy Armidale Class Patrol Boat being lifted from the water at Norship Marine’s shipyard.