Commercial Marine 405

Commercial Marine 405

New export contracts for ABA and RDM

Shipbuilders in Queensland and Tasmania have both recently secured new export contracts for aluminium catamarans. Brisbane’s Aluminium Boats Australia (ABA) has broken into the Asian market with an order for a crew transfer vessel, while Hobart-based Richardson Devine Marine (RDM) will build a passenger ferry for operation in the Seychelles.

The ABA catamaran is designed for crew transfer operations in Papua New Guinea. With capacity for 52 passengers plus two crew the 19m craft will operate at a service speed of 22kts with a full-load deadweight of 6.95 tonnes. Propulsive power will be supplied by a pair of Caterpillar C18s spinning fixed-pitch props via ZF gearboxes.

ABA International Sales Manager, Justin Merrigan commented: “The entire ABA team is delighted to win this important order from China. Important because it marks our first foray into Asia with a highly professional customer, with whom we have great hopes for a long and fruitful working relationship.”

The vessel’s hull form has been designed by Sydney-based One2three Naval Architects to provide high efficiency in order to minimise fuel consumption and through-life costs as much as possible.

Another Sydney-based firm, Incat Crowther, is designing the 26m catamaran ferry that will be built for Seychelles operator Inter Island Boats by RDM. Cat Cocos III will be the third vessel Incat Crowther has designed for the operator.

Following a comprehensive design consultation, the vessel size and capacity was settled at 26m, carrying 216 passengers. The sleek vessel is styled to match the Cat Cocos fleet, while being more efficient to build and reducing operating costs compared to earlier vessels.

The main passenger deck seats 163 in mostly forward-facing seats, with tables located in booth arrangements at seats near to the bar at the aft end. There is a forward door with access to the foredeck, which features bench seats for passengers. There are three toilets aft, as well as a large luggage room with counter access to the sidedecks, immediately adjacent to a crew gate for speedy loading. An external stair aft leads to the upper deck, where there are 39 outdoor seats. In the upper deck cabin are 14 first-class seats and a mini-bar.

The vessel is to be powered by two MTU 12V2000 M70 diesels, each producing 1055hp. As with the ABA vessel, ZF gearboxes and fixed-pitch propellers complete the drivetrains. A top speed of 30kts is expected, while loaded service-speed will be 28kts.

Clough signs deals for two vessels
Perth-based Engineering and Construction company Clough has announced two new contracts that involve its vessels Normand Clough and Java Constructor.

Clough Helix JV has contracted Normand Clough for a well decommissioning project in the South China Sea. The vessel was expected to mobilise after completion of work in Singapore. That work included the vessel being fitted out with the Helix Well Ops Vessel Deployment System (VDS), Subsea Intervention Lubricator and two Clough deepwater remotely operated vehicles.

On completion of the new contract, which is scheduled to last approximately three months, the 12-man saturation diving system on Normand Clough will also be fully commissioned.

Clough’s CEO John Smith said: “We are delighted to be awarded this work, only three months after the launch of the Clough Helix Joint Venture, it is an encouraging start. It is also pleasing to see Clough return to China having been involved in the original construction of the facilities.”

The company has also announced a contract with PT NuTech Dinamika Semesta of Indonesia that will see Java Constructor support the installation of six new pipelines of approximately 3.5km in length each, three new hydraulic control umbilical, and associated tie-ins and risers from the wellhead to Udang Alpha Platform (Udang A Platform). The offshore installation campaign was scheduled to start during August.

Western rock lobster fishery goes to quota system
WA’s Fisheries Minister Norman Moore has confirmed the West Coast Rock Lobster Fishery will operate under a quota system when the new season begins in mid-November.

Moore said the Department of Fisheries had worked closely with the WA Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) to thrash out the details of implementing a quota system in time for the 2010-11 season. This followed approaches from the industry to establish a quota-based system.

“The quota system will reduce the need for the State Government to micro-manage the rock lobster fishery within a season and help improve the economic return for commercial fishers,” Moore said.

The Minister’s announcement was welcomed by the Boards of the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) and Western Rock Lobster Council (WRLC).

WAFIC Chairman Kim Colero and his WRLC counterpart John Cole said the decision represented a significant milestone in the history of fisheries management in WA and would deliver major reform in the lobster industry over time. They said these benefits would include:
* Development of a market oriented culture;
* Providing more secure and clearer access rights boosting confidence and encouraging greater investment stability in the fishery;
* Granting fishermen greater control over the operation of their businesses with less reliance on government intervention; and,
* Improving workplace safety for skippers and crew.

“This initiative responds to the clear need to reform management arrangement in the fishery to realign incentives towards market demand and cost minimisation as well as encouraging greater cooperation between licence holders,” they said.

Colero said that WAFIC had designed principles to underpin IQM systems in fisheries generally as well as suggested rules for the lobster fishery. These provided the basis for consultation with the industry and provided the basis for the Department of Fisheries recommended rules to the Minister that should apply in the first year of the new quota system.

There will be minimal change to the existing rules of this first season, but one important change is that the next season will be extended by two months, to run from November 15 this year to August 31 in 2011 for all zones.

Moore said further season extensions are expected in future, so that fishing can conclude during the ‘whites’ run in January each year.

“These changes give fishers more flexibility in deciding when to take their catch, within their individual allocation for the season,” said Moore. “In the longer term the existing rules will relax so fishers can gain even more flexibility under the new quota system.”

Colero and Cole said both WAFIC and the WRLC “will be working with the industry to ensure that the new quota arrangements are practically applied and are monitored and refined so that over time the full benefits of the quota model can be realised.”

The total allowable catch (TAC) for the 2010-11 commercial fishing season will remain the same as last season (5500 tonnes). In C Zone the TAC will be 2687 tonnes. For B Zone a TAC of 1196 tonnes will apply up to March 14 and a further 672 tonnes for the remainder of the season. The A Zone fishery near the Abrolhos Islands will have a TAC of 945 tonnes when commercial rock lobster fishing opens there from March 14.

“Quotas for individual operators will be based on entitlement to use pots held by those fishers and the relevant share of the total allowable catch set for the various zones, where the fishers are licensed to operate,” Moore said.

The Minister said the pot-usage rate would be set at 0.5 per unit, which enabled a fisher with 100 units of entitlement to use 50 pots.

“Initially, a paper-based monitoring system will be used to keep track of the season’s harvest, with fishers and processors reporting on the catch taken,” said Moore.

“WA fishers are working through a very difficult period, where record low recruitment in the West Coast Rock Lobster Fishery is limiting the total allowable catch.

“We need to work closely with stakeholders to ensure the long-term sustainability and economic viability of the fishery.

“I am confident the move to quota will assist the industry to optimise the economic value of its available catch, during the low-recruitment period and when the fishery bounces back,” he said.

Local team delivers new fisheries patrol boat for WA
Western Australian’s Department of Fisheries didn’t need to venture far to find the expertise to design and build its latest patrol vessel, commissioning Geraldton-based Western Boat Builders to supply a new boat designed by Southerly Designs of Port Denison.

The two companies have a long and successful history of collaboration, having produced many similar aluminium monohulls for both monitoring and conducting fishing as well as numerous other commercial and government uses.

The latest is the long-range patrol boat PV Houtman, which was officially commissioned by WA Fisheries Minister Norman Moore in its homeport of Geraldton during May. It is named after Frederik de Houtman, the Dutch explorer who discovered the Abrolhos Islands in late 1619.

Moore said the $3.36 million boat replaces the 18-year-old PV McLaughlan and will be used to monitor fish catches as well as performing other important duties.

“Like its predecessor, PV Houtman will operate along the West Coast and the Gascoyne bioregions, while still delivering monitoring and compliance services at the Abrolhos Islands and for the rock lobster industry,” Moore said. “It will also be a valuable asset and help other State Government agencies deal with search-and-rescue demands, whale entanglements, oil-spill responses and other operations.”

Southerly’s design is an all-aluminium monohull measuring 20.75m overall, on a 6.2m beam and with a full-load draft of 1.8m. The layout features a large sheltered work deck aft above the machinery space, with the wheelhouse forward of amidships topped by a flybridge station.

Within the hull is sleeping accommodation for six forward, which can be divided into two three-person spaces. Aft of this is an auxiliary space containing, among other items, freezer stowage and the boat’s laundry. Aft of this is the engineroom housing twin Caterpillar C18 diesels. These are each rated to produce 1001hp and spin Mikado props via ZF 655A gearboxes. This propulsion package produces a top speed of 27kts, and enables PV Houtman to patrol at an economical 22kts. The engines exhaust aft through waterline level fenders on each side.

Below the waterline are twin keels providing additional protection to the props, as well as allowing the vessel to sit on the seafloor in tidal areas. Southerly Designs also designed larger-than-standard rudders to enhance low-speed manoeuvrability — an important feature for a vessel that can be expected to spend considerable time approaching other vessels, checking fishing gear and navigating through tight, shallow channels.

With 10,000lt of diesel to fuel the main engines and Caterpillar C2.2 generator, the patrol boat has a range of 1000nm retaining a 10 per cent fuel reserve. A Citor watermaker supplements 600lt of potable water tankage ensuring endurance to match this range.

In the wheelhouse, the helm position is to starboard, with another workstation located aft on the same side. The galley and dining area are to port behind three forward-facing individual crew seats. The electronics package supplied by Geraldton Marine Electronics includes Furuno radar, depthsounder and autopilot; Sailor/KVH 500 FleetBroadband for data and voice satellite communications; as well as radios from Icom, Simoco and Uniden. There are also Furuno and Standard Horizon plotters, a Leica GPS, Thrane+Thrane Vessel Monitoring System and the MoBi-Lert crew monitoring system.

A key part of the vessel’s functionality is provided by the 4.8m RIB carried on the aft deck. Designed by Naiad and built by Kirby Marine to USL/NSCV requirements, this is launched and retrieved over the transom using a slipway-style arrangement, including a hinged cradle that deploys into the water for launch and recovery, and secures the transom opening when stowed.

Other equipment includes a pair of RFD Pacific six-person liferafts and winches from both Muir and Maritime Engineering.

Kiwi firm to build NSW harbour cleaner
New Zealand boatbuilder Q-West has won a NSW Government tender to build a new aluminium harbour cleaning vessel.

The 16.34m long, 7m wide catamaran has been designed by One2Three naval architects and will be powered by a pair of Caterpillar C12 diesels driving five-blade propellers via Twin Disc Quickshift gearboxes. Speeds of 18kts are expected to be possible fully loaded, rising to 20kts in the lightship condition.

One2Three says the vessel has been designed as an open-deck work platform primarily to provide on-water and beach-cleaning services in Sydney Harbour. Features of the design include a spacious working deck complete with a moonpool though which a cage is lowered in order to capture flotsam.

The vessel will also be fitted with a deck crane, while a bow ramp will provide beach access for rubbish removal.

Operational safety and efficiency are enhanced by the 360-degree views of the vessel available from the cockpit. The vessel will be in USL Code 2C and 2D survey for operation with up to eight people onboard.

Q-West expects to deliver the vessel in June 2011.

Marine Rescue NSW funding secured
Boat owners have voted overwhelmingly in favour of providing ongoing support to volunteer organisation, Marine Rescue NSW. Marine Rescue NSW is a volunteer organisation with more than 2300 members trained to respond to calls for assistance by boaters in trouble.

NSW Minister for Ports and Waterways, Paul McLeay has announced the boating community had committed to a financial contribution of $7.50 from boating licences and registrations.

“I’m pleased to see the boating community getting behind the initiative. We had 2150 responses to the discussion paper proposal with 79 per cent of responses supporting the contribution,” said McLeay. “Each individual contribution from boating licences and registrations adds up to $5 million a year extra, which will all go directly to the volunteer organisation.”

This, combined with $1.4 million in State Government funding, will provide will provide Marine Rescue NSW with total funding of $6.4 million a year.

McLeay said NSW Maritime is committed to ensuring that 100 per cent of the Marine Rescue NSW contribution is provided directly to the volunteer organisation, and there will be annual accountability for all funds spent.

Marine Rescue NSW units will also need to fund 50 per cent of their operational and capital funding through local fundraising. The Marine Rescue NSW funding contribution will start from September 2010, and is set at $7.50 for both boat licences and registrations, or $3 for concession holders.

Guadeloupe operator returns to Austal
Guadeloupe-based ferry operator L’Express des Iles has selected Austal to design and construct two 47m high-speed catamaran ferries. The order consists of one vehicle-passenger ferry and one passenger ferry, and is the company’s third contract with Austal since 1997.

One ferry will be able to carry 364 passengers and 10 cars, while the other will have capacity for 437 passengers. Both are also designed to carry cargo and will have a maximum speed of over 32kts.

L’Express des Iles chairman, Roland Bellemare said the company’s experience with earlier Austal ferries had been the main factor when selecting the supplier for the new vessels. “The build quality and performance of our previous Austal deliveries has been outstanding. This, along with the high level of customer support we have received over more than a decade, meant Austal was the logical choice,” he said.

Austal chief operating officer, Andrew Bellamy said the contract added to the company’s history of repeat customer business. “Maintaining and supporting existing customer relationships is a core focus of Austal. We are very pleased that a leading commercial operator such as L’Express des Iles has again returned to Austal for new-build ferries,” he said.

The new vessels will each be powered by two MTU 16V4000 M71 diesels driving Kamewa 71 SIII waterjets. They will be built at Austal’s Western Australian facility and are scheduled for delivery in mid-2011.

US Navy interest in Mobilarm
US Navy submariners have begun trialling and evaluating a new VHF Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) developed by Australian company Mobilarm.

This follows a Sole Source contract awarded to the company by the United States Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). The contract with Mobilarm is for the provision of a modified version of the company's innovative VHF Personal Locator Beacon, the Mobilarm V100, for testing and associated engineering services. The initial contract is valued at up to $US400,000, with significant growth opportunities upon evaluation success.

The contract provides for a new submariner version of the Mobilarm VHF PLB to be evaluated and considered as a safety-enhancing addition to survival suits, to enable locating and tracking of evacuated submariners.

"This is a very exciting global defence opportunity for Mobilarm and our first defence contract. It enables Mobilarm's marine safety products and associated engineering services to be comprehensively evaluated by NAVSEA for use with submarine survival suits," said Mobilarm CEO Lindsay Lyon.

In announcing the contract NAVSEA stated: "Mobilarm Limited is the only known company that currently possesses this device, which meets the Navy's technical and schedule requirements to support test and evaluation. No other source has the technical capability to perform the work described herein in the timeframe required to meet the Navy's operational needs."

Successful US Navy trials of the VHF PLB could also lead to the product being recommended as a standard for submarine escape systems across all NATO submarine defence forces.

Photos, renderings: The ABA newbuild will operate in PNG for its Chinese owner; RDM’s cat will carry 216 passengers at 28kts; A WA lobster boat. New quota system beings in November; WA Fisheries sought a local builder to construct its new patrol boat PV Houtman; L’Express des Iles currently operates the Austal-built ferries Gold Express (foreground) and Silver Express; US Navy subs evaluate PLBs from Australian company Mobilarm.