World’s largest cruise line to base ship in Sydney

The world’s largest cruise line, Carnival Cruise Lines, has announced that it will base one of its cruise ships fulltime in Australia.

The 88,500-tonne Carnival Spirit will be the largest cruise ship ever to sail year-round from Australia, when she arrives in Sydney in October 2012 to operate a schedule of eight- to 12-day voyages to the Pacific Islands.

The move represents the first time Carnival Cruise Lines has ever ventured into Australian waters and reflects growing confidence in cruising in the region.

Carrying 2667 passengers, Carnival Spirit will be the first ship to be based in Sydney that is too tall to sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Rising nearly 53m above the waterline, the ship is more than 3m taller than the specified clearance height for ships passing under the Bridge. As a result, it will be based at the only cruise facility east of the Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay’s Overseas Passenger Terminal.

Founded in 1972 and based in Miami, Carnival Cruise Lines is expected to carry more than four million passengers this year — the most in the global cruise industry.

Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, which represents Carnival Cruise Lines’ Australian deployment locally, said the cruise line’s move into Australia was testament to both the recent growth and the ongoing potential of the local cruise industry.

“Cruising is booming in this country because it offers passengers a great value holiday that includes accommodation, top-quality food and loads of entertainment that appeal to all age groups,” said Sherry.

Gerry Cahill, Carnival Cruise Lines’ president and CEO said the cruise line was looking forward to introducing its unique style of cruising to the Australian market.

“Carnival has become the most popular cruise choice among North Americans by offering an experience that is casual, friendly and fun, with a wide variety of activities for guests of all ages, including a huge array of options on our expansive outdoor decks,” said Cahill.

Sherry said the ship’s deployment will mean there are seven Carnival Corporation & plc ships cruising fulltime from Australia by the end of 2012, ensuring the industry was well on its way to reaching its target of one million passengers by 2020, if not sooner. Other Carnival Corporation & plc brands operating fulltime in Australia include P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises.

“It is amazing growth considering there were just two ships based in Australia year-round in 2007,” Sherry said. “This really underscores Sydney’s position on the world cruise map and our resolve to keep growing the market with multiple brands that appeal to customers.”

Biggest Austal cat gets wet
The final stages of construction of Austal’s largest catamaran to date were celebrated in late January with a traditional ‘coin ceremony’ preceding its launch.

Placing a coin at the foot of the mast of a newly constructed ship is an ancient maritime tradition that is believed to bring good luck to the vessel and its crew.

Senior captain Soren Schow travelled from Denmark with a two-penny coin from the year 1660. This coin holds significance as it is from the same era as the ship’s namesake, Danish historical icon Leonora Christina. An Australian two-dollar coin was placed alongside the Danish coin.

“We look forward to welcoming Bornholmer Færgen’s newest ferry, Leonora Christina to Denmark, and are confident that this ship will exceed expectations,” said Schow.

The 113m ferry was designed and built in Austal’s Henderson shipyard. Once completed, it will be able to hold up to 1400 passengers and 357 cars and travel at speeds of up to 40kts. It will operate alongside an 86m Austal catamaran between southern Sweden and the Danish island of Bornholm.

ABA delivers first export vessel
Aluminium Boats Australia’s (ABA) latest vessel has been delivered to its owner, having successfully completed its delivery voyage from Brisbane to Madang Port, Papua New Guinea in 11 days.

Carrie is a crew-transfer catamaran for the PNG mine operations of the China Metallurgical Group Corporation-sponsored Ramu NiCo. With capacity for 52 passengers plus two crew, the 19m vessel operates at a service speed of 22kts with a full-load deadweight of 6.95 tonnes.

ABA marketing and international sales manager, Justin Merrigan commented, “The Carrie marks an important order from China, being ABA’s first foray into Asia with a highly professional customer with whom we have great hopes for a long and fruitful working relationship.”

The vessel is designed as a catamaran platform for ferry operations on limited coastal waters within 30nm of a safe haven. Its hullform was designed by Sydney-based One2three Naval Architects to provide Ramu NiCo with the aim of excellent efficiency in order to minimise fuel consumption and through-life costs as much as possible.

Passengers board the vessel on the port and starboard sides aft and enter into an open-plan lounge. Large windows provide generous views for the passengers and ample natural light. The main cabin seating consists of aluminium bench seats in rows of two and four. A kiosk/bar is located aft of the main bulkhead and the two toilets onboard are accessed from the aft external deck.

The half-height raised wheelhouse is accessed through the forward end of the passenger cabin and provides for excellent visibility. External wheelhouse doors port and starboard lead to wing stations for berthing. Two helm chairs are fitted, one centrally located at the main operation console and one on the port side. A chart table is fitted to starboard. A small three-seat lounge is provided aft on the wheelhouse’s port side and there is a small galley to starboard aft.

Carrie is powered by two Caterpillar C18 ACERT diesels, each rated to produce 447kW (608hp) at 1800rpm. Gearboxes are ZF and the propellers are five-bladed units from Veem.

Each hull incorporates a 1000lt fuel tank. Independent polyethylene tanks are provided for freshwater and sullage.

Carrie is now operating between Madang Port and Port Basamuk, a distance of 30nm.

Workboat contract awarded by Leighton Contractors
Strategic Marine continues to enhance its profile within the offshore support services industry, winning a contract to build four new workboats for Leighton-Saipem Consortium for use by the Chevron operated Gorgon Project.

The vessels will be built at the company’s Henderson, WA, shipyard and used to transport workers to and from construction barges operating at Barrow Island as part of the LNG jetty and marine structure contract for the Gorgon Project.

Strategic Marine chief marketing officer, Terry O’Connor said the vessels would be the first delivered under the new contract with Leighton-Saipem Consortium.

“This is a major coup for Western Australia and Strategic Marine and further reinforces our position as a leading provider of purpose-built workboats for use both here and in overseas waters,” said O’Connor.

“Leighton-Saipem Consortium is a major employer in the offshore services industry and we are particularly pleased to be working with them on such an important Western Australian

“Forging strong long-term partnerships with key stakeholders such as the Leighton-Saipem Consortium is very much in line with our goal to be an active player in the WA energy and resource sectors,” he said.

The new workboats will each carry 12 passengers and will be delivered this year.

Woody's rescue winner
A recent delivery from Brisbane-based aluminium boatbuilder Woody Marine adds to its track record in the construction and delivery of marine search-and-rescue vessels.

Sapphire III is a purpose-built 10m RIB commissioned for the Marine Rescue NSW-Merimbula Unit. The Unit’s brief was for a rapid-response rescue vessel capable of operating in all weather and sea conditions. It was only after significant research around Australia and overseas that it settled on Woody Marine for the new boat.

Factors influencing the decision included the company’s extensive background in supporting various search-and-rescue organisations in Australia and the availability of its in-house naval architect to support the entire build process. Woody Marine says this enables it to develop a unique vessel specifically designed and equipped to best suit the needs of the customer. For Sapphire III, areas such as weight distribution, ergonomics and performance expectation were specifically addressed in the design phase of the project.

Unit commander Barry Harrison regularly travelled to Brisbane to oversee the construction of Sapphire III. Commenting on the outcome, he said: “It has been a pleasure to work with the design team at Woody Marine on this project, we are extremely pleased with the finished vessel, it’s an amazing machine.”

Sapphire III is powered by two Yamaha F250B four-stroke outboards with counter rotating props. These engines push the hull to a maximum speed of 44kts, optimal cruising speed is between 22 and 30kts. Woody Marine says it is capable of being pushed very hard when needed, while at the same time capable of remaining on the plane at a relatively slow speed.

A natural advantage of the RIB’s inflatable collar in search-and-rescue operations is the protection it provides when coming alongside a vessel in distress or people in the water.

Onboard, the layout is entirely functional and reflects careful joint planning by the teams at Woody Marine and Marine Rescue Merimbula. The wheelhouse is positioned forward on the deck to ensure the cabin area is maximised, with forward raked windscreen and generous side windows that ensure maximum visibility, while also providing a spacious cabin and great sun and glare protection in the hot summer climate.

The vessel fitout includes KAB suspension seating, an onboard marine toilet along with ample storage for all safety equipment. The cabin and forward stations are fully lined and insulated, and the vessel features LED lighting. The RIB also features the latest Furuno electronics with two 10in and one 7in navigation screens together with a complete communication system. The vessel is also fitted with FLIR thermal imaging technology together with a full complement of first aid gear, including a heart defibrillator and oxygen equipment.

An incredible amount of thought and design went into every aspect of this vessel, and Harrison said the finish and detail is excellent, too. He feels it has the best finish he has ever seen on a volunteer rescue vessel in Australia and said it was a credit to the team from Woody Marine. “Piping and electrical runs are very well thought out and we have great access to all areas of the boat,” he said.

Sapphire III is built to meet the requirements of NSW Class 2C for operations up to 30nm offshore. With an onboard fuel-tank capacity of 530lt and a cruise consumption rate of 63lt/h for both engines, Sapphire III can stay at sea for almost 8½ hours before refuelling.

Woody’s Stephen Plummer said: “We’re very happy with the boat that we delivered to Marine Rescue Merimbula. We are always mindful that a lot of very hard work and fund raising at the local level goes into these kinds of projects, so we endeavour to go the extra yard to produce a great boat, one which the local community can be very proud of.

“Over the years, we have built a vast number of RIBs for search-and-rescue organisations, each one subtly different to suit the needs of our customer. Our boats are in service from Victoria in the south, to the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north and range in size from 4.8m to 12m,” he said.

Brits buy Maritime Engineers
UK company James Fisher and Sons has purchased Fremantle-based Maritime Engineers Pty Ltd. The £UK1.4 million acquisition was made via James Fisher subsidiary, JF Australia Holding.

Maritime Engineers, previously a family-owned company, is an independent marine engineering consultancy and inspection company. With 10 qualified marine engineers and naval architects, its consultancy work covers a wide range of clients active in the marine sector in the region.

Clients include commercial and naval ships, companies working in the offshore energy market, banks and insurance companies. James Fisher expects the company to expand its business elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region.

Maritime Engineers had turnover of £UK1.1 million in the year to June 30, 2010, with net profit before tax of £UK0.27 million. Net assets on the date of completion were £UK0.35 million.

Tim Harris, chairman of James Fisher and Sons plc said: “We have set our sights on expanding our marine service companies in Australia and Asia Pacific. This small acquisition fits neatly into these plans and follows our recent acquisitions of ACM and RigCool.”

P&O enters cable-installation market
Melbourne-headquartered P&O Maritime Services has entered the power cable-installation market with its vessel CS European Supporter.

The company has signed a long-term agreement with UK-headquartered subsea cable specialists, Offshore Marine Management (OMM), for the provision of a suite of capabilities to be marketed with the entrant cable-installation vessel.

European Supporter was formerly operating under the auspices of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service as the Oceanic Viking, and being used for patrols in both the Southern Ocean and Australia’s northern waters.

The ship entered the European and international power cable market in March 2011 after undergoing a major conversion from a submarine fibre-optic vessel to a state-of-the-art power cable installation and trenching vessel.

The agreement means that P&O Maritime Services will operate the vessel and OMM will provide a full cable spread to the industry — cable equipment, trenching, operations and maintenance, remedial and survey.

The 106m DPII vessel will be equipped with modern cable-installation equipment, work-class ROV, ROV trencher and survey spread. All ancillary cable equipment and cable lay deck operations are enclosed, allowing for a 24-hour all-weather working area. A further extensive open working deck is atop, which will be utilised for mattressing operations.

The vessel will boast DPII capability along with cable coiling arms within her three tanks. She will have capacity for 5000 tonnes of power cable, 60-tonne SWL active heave compensated crane, 20-tonne linear cable engine (20 wheel pair) and a 35-tonne A-frame among other engineered additions and equipment solutions to expand the vessel's capabilities portfolio.

Andrew King, managing director of P&O Maritime Services said his company, as part of its strategy to deliver high-quality long-term cost-effective solutions to the renewables market, is delighted to partner a company of OMM's pedigree.

"We are committed to growing our presence in Europe and in this renewables market," King said. "The European Supporter will offer a unique opportunity to key players in the sector to drive efficiencies and reduce costs, whilst still ensuring that the highest safety and operating standards are maintained."

Rob Grimmond, managing director of OMM said that the ability to offer project specific solutions with a vessel that is converted to do that job is a very exciting opportunity for both P&O Maritime Services and OMM.

"The strength of P&O Maritime Services and the experience gained by OMM will forge a strong partnership to supply the industry — both clients and cable installation companies — with a total cable installation solution,” said Grimmond.

Scientists recover record-breaking undersea traveller
The longest unmanned, remotely-controlled voyage yet undertaken in Australian waters has been completed.
A Seaglider spent 149 days exploring the Coral Sea before being recovered by Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) researchers near Jewell Reef, northeast of Lizard Island, Qld.

During its five months travelling one of the planet’s least explored ocean regions, the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) Seaglider made 768 dives to depths of up to a kilometre and travelled 1607nm (2977km).
While at sea, it measured a host of key ocean variables such as temperature, salinity, plankton productivity, water turbidity and dissolved oxygen.

The voyage was managed and controlled from the opposite side of the continent by scientists working at the University of Western Australia’s National Facility for Ocean Gliders.

Seagliders are autonomous vehicles designed to profile the water column by changing their buoyancy and are able to descend and ascend in a sawtooth pattern. Pitch and roll is controllable by movable internal ballast (the battery pack) and in conjunction with wings that allows them to steer while profiling across strong currents.
Seagliders fix their positions via GPS when they surface and communicate with the onshore laboratory via Iridium satellite, relaying collected data and receiving any new commands from the scientists.

DP training comes to Perth
AMC Search is now providing training related to dynamic positioning (DP) operations in Western Australia following the opening of a new training facility. The facility features an extensive simulator suite developed by Kongsberg Maritime.

The inaugural DP Operators course received positive feedback from trainees and was followed by a second Perth course, DP Operators Advanced (Simulator). In addition to DP Operator courses the AMC DP Unit offers the following courses, in both Launceston and Perth:
* DP Technical – Engineers and Electricians (four days)
* DP Awareness – Shore-based (two days)
* DP Familiarisation – Offshore Project Crew (two days)

The DP Technical – Engineers and Electricians course content is inline with the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) Guidance for technical crews. AMC Search is a training organisation member of the IMCA Marine Division.

“Prior to opening our first DP Operator Training Facility in Tasmania in 2009, which is also based on Kongsberg Maritime DP simulators, Australian trainees would have to travel to Europe or the US for DP courses, so we are delighted to be expanding our capacity for DP training already,” commented John Foster, AMC search chief executive officer.

“The new facility strengthens our ability to support the demand for skilled DP operators by providing high-quality training using serving DP officers as instructors and sophisticated simulators able to exactly mimic the operation and maintenance of complex DP systems,” he said.

The simulator installation at the new facility includes the K-POS Basic DP Trainer for classroom arrangement, complete with four DP Models and the K-POS Advanced DP Trainer with Instructor Station and dual redundant DP control system complete with four DP models.

The Basic and Advanced Trainers can be used to practice DP operations on four DP models: Generic Supply Vessel, Generic Drill Ship, Generic Semi Submersible, and Generic Tanker.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to continue our close working relationship with AMC by supplying the simulators for its second DP training facility in Australia,” said Mark Stuart Treen, sales and marketing manager for simulation, Kongsberg Maritime.

“The new facility is a fantastic demonstration of AMC’s commitment to offshore training and it joins several cutting-edge offshore simulators we have delivered recently, including extensive full-mission systems for offshore operations, anchor handling and DP training for Maersk and for EMAS Offshore,” he said.

Surging commodity prices drive up coating costs
International Paint has initiated product price rises in response to spiralling global raw material costs.

“During 2010, the cost of raw materials critical to the manufacture of both our marine and protective coatings product ranges increased significantly”, said Paul Westcott, marine and protective coatings commercial director.

“We have attempted to minimise the impact on our customers for as long as possible by leveraging our buying power and driving internal cost-saving measures. Unfortunately, the increase in costs shows no sign of abatement and therefore, regrettably, we now have little choice but to initiate a programme of product price rises,” he said.

International Paint says a number of raw materials key to the manufacture of both marine and protective coatings products have been affected by the inflationary drivers including epoxy resins, titanium dioxide, solvents, copper and other metals.

“We are acutely aware that all industries are under tremendous cost pressure,” Westcott said. “We are committed to work with our customers to help them find the most cost-effective solution for their coating needs, however, in the current climate of incessant raw-material price rises International Paint has little choice but to reluctantly pass some of these increases onto our customers.”

Photos: The cruise ship Carnival Spirit is big, so big that she won’t fit under the Sydney Harbour Bridge; Austal launches its biggest catamaran to date, the 113m Leonora Christina for Danish company Bornholmer Færgen; Carrie is a crew-transfer cat for PNG mine operations; Sapphire III undergoes sea trials on Qld’s Moreton Bay; A happy bunch, (L-R) Heinz Mueller
(deputy commissioner Marine Rescue NSW), Barry Harrison (unit commander), Stephen Plummer (Woody Marine), Glenn Finniss (commissioner Marine Rescue NSW); P&O’s cable-layer the European Supporter was formerly the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service vessel Oceanic Viking; IMOS Sea Glider being deployed in April by staff of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (photo by Daniel Wisdom, Australian Institute of Marine Science); AMC’s John Foster in the new facility; The simulator enables students to practice on four ship types.