Commercial Marine 410

New WA Fisheries patrol boat

A new patrol RIB has extended fisheries compliance capacity off the coast of Mandurah, south of Perth. It is the latest in a series of Naiad-designed RIBs built in WA by Kirby Marine for use by Western Australian Fisheries.

The 11.3m long, 4.1m wide aluminium-hulled patrol boat is powered by a pair of 300hp Yamaha outboards, giving a maximum speed of 45kts. It will typically cruise at a more sedate 25 to 30kts.

The vessel is in USL 2C survey, enabling it to operate up to 30nm off the coast which, combined with an operational range of some 400nm (350nm at 25kts), makes it a significant patrol asset. Although designed for day use, the layout incorporates modest sleeping accommodation and a toilet compartment. Able to carry six people, it will typically operate with two crew, whose ride is made more comfortable through the fitting of KAB suspension seats.

Taylor Marine supplied a comprehensive electronics package including Furuno radar and sounder. The aft deck houses a commercial-grade pot winch, which is put to good use removing illegal or stray lobster pots. It is electrically driven by a Muir winch.

WA Fisheries Minister, Norman Moore said the name of the $520,000 PV Armatus came from the scientific name for breaksea cod, one of the many popular demersal fish species targeted by recent management strategies aimed at reducing overfishing.

PV Armatus, and the fisheries and marine officers who work from her, will play an important role in protecting breaksea cod and other vulnerable demersal species,” said Moore. “PV Armatus will perform ongoing compliance activities related to the commercial and recreational fishing sectors off the Peel Region coast.”

The Minister said the 11.3m Naiad is bigger than the boat it replaces and well-suited to its role in terms of both seaworthiness and crew safety.

“Boarding other vessels at sea from the PV Armatus will be easier and safer,” he said. “The patrol boat will be used in joint operations with other agencies such as the local Water Police and the Department of Transport — so it will not only assist with Fisheries compliance but also marine safety and other tasks.”

Moore said PV Armatus was a major asset for the Peel region, which could see use in sea search-and-rescue operations; whale entanglements; shark hazard responses; and other marine emergencies.

“However, the primary role of the PV Armatus will be to ensure Fisheries compliance officers can keep up with the fast-growing population of the Peel Region, where many fish from boats off this part of the coast on a regular basis,” he said.

MMA raises $35 million to fund growth
Mermaid Marine Australia (MMA) has successfully completed a placement to institutional investors to raise gross proceeds of $35 million.

MMA’s chairman, Tony Howarth commented: “We are very pleased with the strong level of support shown for the placement. Due to exceptionally strong demand the offer was increased above the previously announced $30 million.”

MMA’s managing director, Jeff Weber said: “MMA is at an exciting stage in its development and we are currently assessing a number of growth opportunities in both the Australian and international oil and gas markets.

“This successful raising will provide the company with the balance-sheet flexibility to execute our long-term strategy and pursue opportunities in the exploration and drilling market sectors.

“I believe the timing is right and am confident that the company will effectively deploy the funds to continue to deliver strong shareholder returns,” he said.

New Mair projects in SE Asia
Gavin Mair’s Marine Kits Australia has been working on two interesting projects in SE Asia in recent months, providing designs and construction kits for a small passenger ferry and a high-speed patrol boat.

The 20.8m monohull ferry for Gilicat Cruises is derived from Mair’s proven lobster fishing boats.

“We have taken our well-proven hull that was originally designed for commercial rock lobster fishing (Sahara), then vessel number two Master Class and modified it to be a tough, all-conditions passenger shuttle for operation in Bali, Indonesia,” Mair explained.

“The ferry route sees strong tides against strong winds, high chop and large holes... let's say regular sea state 6+ on the off days,” he said.

Structural design of the vessel is approved to DNV, with DNV approval during construction at the yard in Indonesia. The vessel was due to commence operation in early 2011.

The ferry has a designed working displacement of 40 tonnes and with 1764kW from a pair of Caterpillar 3412E diesels it is expected to achieve more than 28kts at full load and cruise at 22kts.

Mair also sees application for the design as a workboat. “Given that the hull is bred from working vessels, we have designed this one so that by removing the aft canopy and aft deck seating, we instantly have a crew transfer vessel that is capable of large cargo loads, whilst maintaining respectable speeds around 20kts,” he commented.

The other project is a 19m patrol boat for Malaysia that uses Mair’s Air Rider hullform, twin V12 MAN diesels and Doen waterjets to deliver a top speed in excess of 35kts.

“Dubbed the AWB (All Weather Boat), our Air Rider was the clear winner after closing of tenders from the Malaysian government,” Mair explained. “It truly has to be capable of operating up to sea state 7.”

Miclyn Express delivers strong growth
Miclyn Express Offshore (MEO) achieved strong earnings growth in its first year as a publicly listed company. Revenues ($US116.5 million) and EBITDA ($US59.2 million) for financial year increased by 19 and 20 per cent on the prior year respectively.

MEO chairman, Neil Hamilton said: “The statutory EBITDA forecast in the prospectus… has been met for FY10 and the company is able to confirm that it remains confident that it will also meet the statutory forecast for calendar year 2010. The business has performed largely in line with expectations and market conditions remain stable and sound.

“During the year, the company continued to execute its fundamental strategy of growing and renewing its fleet and securing long-term contracts.

“The strong margins and cash generated by the business will continue to fund the company’s organic growth in the years ahead. We continue to see attractive returns on our investments,” he said.

MEO chief executive officer, Diederik de Boer said: “Vessel utilisation during FY10 was satisfactory, except in the challenging segment in which our Tug and Barge fleet operates, the smallest segment in our fleet.

“Lagging pick-up of offshore construction activities and increased supply brought on line, negatively affected this segment in the first half of the year, but we saw a pick up in activity in the second half.

“Whilst overall utilisation was slightly below expectations at 71 per cent, we are achieving better than anticipated earnings quality as we implement our asset strategy and increasingly move towards more specialised vessels that achieve better margins and attract contracts of longer duration. We anticipate fleet utilisation to trend further upwards in the upcoming financial year,” he said.

Factors contributing to earnings growth included:
* Full year contribution of seven new offshore support vessels (OSV) added in FY09
* Four new OSVs added to the fleet in FY10, including Constructor I in the second half
* Three months of revenue attributable to the 50 per cent acquisition of Samson Maritime
* Relocation of Samson Supporter and Samson Supplier from Australia to Saudi Arabia to take advantage of higher yielding and long-term charter opportunities

MEO’s OSV fleet had a particularly strong year in FY10 achieving an overall utilisation of 86 per cent. Revenues were up 86 per cent on prior year, with a gross margin of 71 per cent. MEO continues to expand its OSV fleet with another three vessels under construction in its Batam shipyard that are scheduled to join the fleet in FY11.

MEO’s crew/utility vessel fleet continued to deliver a stable, highly visible revenue stream in FY10 and achieved strong utilisation at 83 per cent. Revenues were up six per cent on prior year, with a gross margin of 51 per cent. Fleet renewal activity will ramp-up with six new vessels already purchased and scheduled to commence work in FY11.

de Boer remains optimistic on outlook for MEO: “Beyond calendar year 2010, we anticipate continued strong top-line growth for the existing fleet plus scheduled newbuilds. We are seeing a strong pipeline of commercial opportunities, which supports the utilisation expectations underpinning our forecasts.”

Jean de la Valette delivered to Malta
Mediterranean-based operator Virtu Ferries has taken delivery of the 107m vehicle-passenger catamaran, Jean de la Valete. The vessel marks a significant milestone for Austal being the largest catamaran built by the company in Australia and its 24th commercial delivery to the Mediterranean region.

The vessel operates between Malta and Italy at operational speeds of up to 40kts. Virtu Ferries also operates a 68m Austal catamaran that was delivered in 2006.

“This vessel is a perfect example of the customisation and first-class craftsmanship that Austal is renowned for,” said Austal’s chief operating officer, Andrew Bellamy. “Our design and production teams have done a superb job and have enabled us to deliver a vessel that not only meets the requirements and needs of the customer, but exceeds them in terms of quality.”

Virtu Fast Ferries Ltd managing director, Francis Portelli said the company had a longstanding relationship with Austal and found the quality of the build outstanding.

“Austal has delivered a great vessel in every way, and we are excited to bring Jean de la Valette into service. It has been a pleasure working with Austal throughout the build process and we are very proud to take ownership of such a high-quality vessel,” he said.

The vessel was built to address the large increases in passenger and vehicle traffic, including heavy-freight vehicle traffic, between Malta and Italy and features a vehicle-deck carrying capacity of 156 cars or 45 cars and 342 truck lane metres. This carrying capacity will enable Virtu Ferries to efficiently service the needs of private passengers with cars and campers, commercial tourist operators and freight companies.

Vehicle loading and unloading is achieved via ramps installed on both the stern and port-side. The vessel is also to be certified for the bulk carriage of dangerous cargo such as LPG, diesel and petrol.

Seating for the ferry’s 800 passengers is spread over two decks, each offering a passenger-friendly seating density of two or three seats per row, as well as a dedicated upper deck lounge area overlooking the vessel’s bow. A central staircase leads to a first-class seating area featuring natural overhead lighting, a separate kiosk and two VIP lounges. Outdoor seating is also available for more than 110 passengers.

At the request of Virtu Ferries, the vessel also has a dedicated lounge for commercial vehicle drivers providing them with a restful environment.

The vessel was built in accordance with the requirements and under the survey of Det Norske Veritas, conforming to the International Maritime Organisation HSC Code and Malta Flag State and Italian Port State Regulations. The vessel is registered under the Maltese Flag.

Propulsion power is provided by a quartet of MTU 20V 8000 M71L diesels, which each drive a Kamewa 125 SIII waterjet.

The integrated bridge package includes a suite of Kelvin Hughes bridge equipment. This includes MantaDigital radar and ECDIS and features both conventional magnetron and the high-performance solid state SharpEye S-band radar sensors. The equipment was supplied by Kelvin Hughes’ Australian representative, AMI Marine International.

AMI managing director, Jim Fraser noted that: “All HSC fast-ferries that are now being built in Australia feature Kelvin Hughes' radars; an accolade that speaks for itself.

“We have a longstanding relationship with Austal and have also recently won an order to supply SharpEye solid-state S-band radars for two fast-ferry catamarans being built by the yard for Caribbean operator L’Express des Iles,” he said.

Spike Hughes, Kelvin Hughes' commercial equipment director commented: “This is the latest in a series of successes that have been built on our relationship both with Austal and our Australian agent AMI.

“SharpEye solid-state radar is an ideal solution for use on these high-performance vessels and this combined with wide-screen MantaDigital display technology and Enhanced Target Detection gives the ultimate solution in terms of performance and reliability, and reinforces Kelvin Hughes premier position amongst radar manufacturers,” he said.

TSmarine launches Salt Subsea support operations
The TSmarine Australia Group has appointed 30-year oil and gas industry veteran Michael Earlam to lead the group’s new Scotland-based subsidiary SALT Subsea Ltd.

SALT Subsea, a wholly owned subsidiary of the TSmarine Australia Group, will initially support the long-term AX-S contract with Expro Ltd.

TSmarine Australia chief executive officer John Edwards said Michael Earlam brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the North Sea operation.

“Michael is the logical choice to establish and develop the SALT Subsea business,” Edwards said.

“His most recent appointment was as global chartering manager at a leading global installation contractor in Aberdeen, which means he has deep knowledge of the industry, its challenges and opportunities.

“Michael has also managed strategic global vessel charters for core offshore markets and previously was the marine and general manager for an international logistics and supply chain management company.

“His experience will be invaluable during the mobilisation and operation of the Havila Phoenix supporting Expro and their AX-S deepwater rigless intervention spread and in developing other opportunities for SALT Subsea in the North Sea region,” he said.

The TSmarine Australia Group operates a fleet of four modern DP2 construction and intervention vessels globally with Havila Phoenix having the AX-S deepwater intervention spread mobilised onboard. The vessel has a large 1100m² aft deck, 250-tonne AHC crane and two deepwater Schilling UHD work-class ROVs onboard.

New lease on life for Tangalooma cat
Aluminium Boats Australia (ABA) has completed a life-extending refit to a veteran high-speed ferry nearing its 30th year of service on Australia’s east coast.

The 20m Tangalooma Flyer is one of well-known Tasmanian builder Incat’s early passenger catamarans, Hull 005. It is probably unique in that it continues to operate for the same owner and on the same service, for which it was built — the 75-minute passage from Brisbane across Moreton Bay to the Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort on Moreton Island.

Since entering service in 1981 the catamaran has completed more than one million nautical miles crossing Moreton Bay and has carried in excess of five million passengers and almost 250,000 tonnes of resort supplies and luggage.

Speaking of the Tanglooma Flyer on her return to service, Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort director Jeff Osborne commented: “The old girl has been given a new lease of life. It is the first time in 30 years that she has received a pair of new engines, gearboxes (new ratio), couplings, shafts, bearings and props all at the same time.

“The Flyer hasn’t run so smooth for a couple of decades now and she hasn’t hit over 28kts for a long time either. All-in-all she is running well and on her first day back on a scheduled run she operated at around 21 to 22kts at 70 per cent engine load with 160 guests and 10m³ of cargo/luggage onboard.

“From a machinery point of view, we have now gone full circle; starting out as built with two-stroke Detroit 8VT92 and now we are back to the Detroit (MTU) again with the series 60s. In between, we wore out six V10 MANs,” he said.

The Tangalooma Flyer previously completed a four-month $900,000 hull and accommodation refit in November 2005.

Freefall lifeboat training facility opens
Australia’s first freefall lifeboat training facility has been opened at IFAP’s Offshore and Maritime Training Centre in Western Australia.

The facility aims to provide the offshore and maritime industries with greater access to industry-required training. It is located adjacent to Fremantle Port with direct access into Rous Head Harbour. Previously, ships crews and personnel working on offshore oil and gas facilities that have freefall lifeboats, have had to travel overseas for mandatory training.

Perth-based Survival Craft Inspectorate (SCI) joined forces with IFAP, a leading provider of safety training and consulting services, to see this concept come to fruition. Under the agreement with IFAP, SCI has provided two lifeboats (freefall and a conventional ship’s lifeboat), two davits and a launching structure; and will oversee the maintenance and certification of these vessels.

IFAP is housing the facility as an extension to its existing Centre as well as developing and delivering a range of courses to meet industry needs with assistance from SCI. A similar freefall lifeboat system was recently installed and commissioned by SCI in the UK.

IFAP operations manager, Mike Gillespie highlighted that the freefall training courses will complement the large range of training courses already available at IFAP. These include conventional lifeboat training (TEMPSC), fast-rescue craft operation (FRC) and offshore BOSIET, FOET, TBOSIET, TFOET survival training courses.

Robot revolutionises net cleaning
The commissioning of the first Yanmar Submersible Net Cleaning Robot is set to alter the way fish farms manage their net cleaning and maintenance operations. Clean Seas Tuna of Port Lincoln is the first Australian company to put the new Yanmar product into service.

Clean Seas Tuna uses large nets suspended from 40m diameter collars. Nets need to be maintained in as close to pristine condition as possible for the health of the fish stock. Nets that remain in the water for even a relatively short period of time become blocked with weed fouling. Further, as the nets become laden with fouling, water flow through the net is restricted resulting in reduced oxygen levels within the cage, affecting fish health and growth rates.

Before the robot was brought into use the cleaning process required hauling and removal of the fouled net. The fouled net would then be shipped to shore and transported to Clean Seas Tuna’s net wash and maintenance facility at Arno Bay. Now, the net-cleaning process is achieved by lowering the robot into the sea cage and commencing operation.

Onboard the mothership, the Yanmar power pack provides all necessary electrical power and the all-important high-pressure and high-flow pump. High-pressure water is supplied to the submersed robot via 100m of high-pressure hose to the submerged robot at 1600psi. This highly pressurised jet stream is directed at the net via two ceramic nozzles to remove any form of fouling.

With the aid of the robot’s front and rear cameras a single operator uses a pair of joysticks and two LCD monitors in the mothership’s wheelhouse to view and manage the robot’s operation.

According to Marcus Stehr, executive director of marine operations at Clean Seas Tuna, the Yanmar Submersible Net Cleaning Robot is delivering meaningful and measurable results.

“We are using the net-cleaning robot five days a week and cleaning one net every day,” said Stehr.

“This is new technology and we are becoming more efficient with the unit each time we use it. So far, we have established that the Yanmar unit is easy to use and that we have substantially decreased the frequency of our net changing process.

“We are yet to completely exploit the full capacity of the Yanmar unit, but so far we are greatly impressed by the capability of this robot,” he said.

When operating, all of the water from the high-pressure pump is used to ensure powerful cleaning. The recoil from the water is used to turn the propeller and keep the robot pressed against the net.

The robot is marketed exclusively in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific by Power Equipment.

Photos: The stunning PV Armatus Naiad-designed RIB can dash to 45kts; WA Fisheries Minister Norman Moore named the boat Armatus; The Air Rider hullform has been fully tank tested; The Bali ferry is based on a lobster boat hull; The Austal-built 107m ferry Jean de la Valette will service the Italy to Malta run; A central staircase leads to First Class on the Jean de la Valette; The Jean de la Valette’s bridge has Kelvin Hughes radars; Still going strong, the 1981 launched Tangalooma Flyer is one of Incat’s early passenger catamarans; A pair of new MTU Detroit Series 60 diesels breathe life back into the Moreton Bay stalwart Tangalooma Flyer; Yanmar’s Submersible Net Cleaning Robot; With the Yanmar robot, tuna nets can now be cleaned in situ.