Noumea operator orders Austal Ferry

Tourism operator, Mary D Enterprises, has selected Austal to design and construct a 35m high-speed monohull passenger ferry, heralding the second Austal-built vessel for the Noumea-based company.

The ferry is principally intended for operation between Noumea and Amadee Island, but will also service other locations on New Caledonia’s south and west coasts. The new vessel will be joining the Austal-built Mary D Dolphin, which has transported more than 300,000 passengers on the Amadee Island route since its delivery in 1998. The new ferry will carry 138 passengers on two decks. This is approximately two-thirds of the capacity of the 30m Mary D Dolphin.

Austal says the new vessel will be one of only a small number of monohull ferries that are fully compliant with the International Maritime Organisation High Speed Craft (HSC) Code 2000. This is a significant step for Mary D Enterprises in modernising its fleet and in maintaining compliance with French regulations that now require adoption of the full HSC Code on all high-speed craft flying the French Flag.

Sylvie Helmy, general manager of Mary D Enterprises, said Austal’s experience was instrumental in the company’s choice of shipbuilder.

“We have always had great service and know the level of knowledge Austal has acquired over the years, so the choice was easy,” said Helmy.

“Austal has proven experience not only in shipbuilding in general but also in building vessels to French Flag requirements, which can be challenging at times,” she said.

Austal CEO, 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 Mary D Enterprises has again selected Austal to design and construct its next vessel.

“A significant factor in the selection of a shipbuilder is the knowledge that the client is signing with an experienced and proven designer and builder of high-speed craft,” says Bellamy. “As such, we look forward to working with Mary D Enterprises once again to create a customised vessel that best meets their requirements.”

The ferry will be powered by three MTU 12V 2000 M72 engines coupled to Hamilton HM521 waterjets giving a speed of 34kts. It will be built at Austal’s Western Australian facility and is scheduled for delivery this November. It will be built to Lloyd’s Register class.

Sea SA confirms unexpected building delay
South Australian operator Sea SA has confirmed that construction progress on its new Australian-designed ferry Aurora has slowed. The company says this is due to difficulties experienced by the Indonesian shipyard, which is a subsidiary of Dubai-controlled Dry Docks World.

Sea SA managing director, Stephanie Dawson, confirmed the building company had faced a major restructure as it adjusted to a tighter economic climate, and completion of the new Spencer Gulf ferry had been stalled as a result.

“We have of course been disappointed, but we have been assured that the project will be completed and to the highest standard. However, at this point, the shipbuilders have not been able to confirm a completion date. We remain hopeful of completion mid-year,” said Dawson.

The Wallaroo to Lucky Bay car and passenger ferry service launched in December 2006. The service halted at the end of 2009 when Sea SA sold its existing ferry, Sea Spirit 1.

The new vessel will carry 85 cars and 300 passengers across the Spencer Gulf, reducing drive-time between the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas by two-and-a-half hours.

According to Sea SA, Aurora has been designed to latest international regulations and will deliver greater cost-effectiveness than her predecessor in meeting the needs of the increasing vehicle market.

The new ferry’s design comes from Queensland company Sea Transport Solutions and features a motion-control system to improve ride and a forward visor to keep vehicle deck areas totally dry and protected from wind and salt spray. Onboard, the ferry will have an air-conditioned cafe, comfortable lounge-style seating, widescreen movie lounge, toddlers' play enclosure, disabled access and wireless internet connectivity.

Work cat shoots straight to Weipa
Hull 052 from Hobart-based Richardson Devine Marine successfully completed harbour sea trials and passed survey shortly after being launched last November. With final touches made and owner requests completed, she set off early in January for a rather extended sea trial: delivery from Hobart to Weipa.

Strait Shooter is the third catamaran utility workboat built by RDM in the past two years. Custom designed and built for Gulf of Carpenteria operator, Carpentaria Contracting, the vessel is based at Weipa and engaged in a broad range of offshore activities including survey, salvage, towing and service to off-lying islands.

With length overall of 28m and beam of 8.5m, Strait Shooter is an evolution of Limitless, launched in 2009, which has reportedly been a great success for its operator. Strait Shooter can carry up to 50 passengers in 1B survey (12 in 2A) and up to 20 tonnes of cargo on its 80m² aft work deck. Maximum deadweight is 50 tonnes, with tankage including 30,000lt for fuel and 1500lt for both freshwater and sullage.

According to Incat Crowther, designer of both vessels, Strait Shooter builds on the design features of Limitless, and adds some more features specifically developed for Carpentaria Contracting.

The greatest change has been to implement a large propeller tunnel to reduce the draft. Commenting on this aspect of the design, Incat Crowther’s managing director, Brett Crowther said: “Aggressive propeller tunnels can be hugely detrimental if executed poorly, however, Incat Crowther’s team of naval architects have developed a propeller tunnel shape, which significantly reduced the draft of the vessel without effecting its speed or efficiency.”

Another design refinement is the addition of stairs at the forward end of the upper deck, enabling quick and safe access from the wheelhouse to the foredeck for mooring activities.

Fendering has also been increased, with tyres forward as well as extended diagonal rubber fenders on the hull. An extra run of rubber fendering has been added to the aft end of the upper deck to give it extra protection when loading items onto the cargo deck.

The rear of the upper deck has been extended aft and integrated with the air trunks, providing control areas for the vessel and crane, each with an excellent view over the cargo deck. A large stern-roller has been fitted to the transom, while structure and rails have also been added for a hydraulic submersible transom platform.

Notable items of deck hardware include a five-tonne A-frame, a 6.5-tonne deck-mounted Heila HLM 20-4S articulated crane, and a two-tonne deck capstan.

As with Limitless, Strait Shooter is fitted with a pair of 1081kW Caterpillar C32 ACERT main engines, and achieved a speed of more than 30kts on trials — significantly higher than the 25kts lightship-speed predicted prior to the commencement of trials. The aluminium catamaran can achieve a service speed of 27kts.

The propulsion package, which is completed by Twin Disc MGX6599SC gearboxes and five-blade propellers, is also able to produce 15 tonnes of static bollard pull. The generators are also Cat units — a pair of 86kW C404s.

New CEO for Austal
Andrew Bellamy has assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer of Austal Limited and has been appointed to the Board of the WA-based shipbuilder. He replaces Bob Browning who resigned a number of months ago.

Bellamy (pictured) joined Austal in 2008, initially in the capacity of Head of Global Sales and Marketing. In this role he had responsibility for the sales and marketing function across all of Austal’s international businesses, including the strategically significant US operations. In 2010, he was appointed Chief Operating Officer of Austal’s Australian businesses and has overseen the growth and expansion of the company’s international network of locations at a time of significant turbulence in global markets.

Austal Limited chairman, John Rothwell said the Austal Board was delighted to confirm Bellamy’s appointment. “We are confident that his mix of skills and experience are ideally suited to lead the Group through this next exciting chapter in our Company’s evolution,” he said.

Bellamy commented that he looked forward to the additional opportunities and challenges the role will provide.

“During my time at Austal, the company has enhanced its reputation as a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative aluminium vessels, particularly in the defence sector, managing to secure significant long-term defence contracts, resulting in work in hand worth $1.2 billion,” said Bellamy. “I am proud to continue my involvement in this dynamic company, and look forward to further developing Austal’s capabilities, product offerings and potential.”

Otto says Go on Australian market
Otto Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore-based Otto Marine, has strengthened its position in the Australian market through the acquisition of a 49 per cent interest in Go Marine Group. Otto Marine has the option to purchase the remaining equity within the next 12 months.

With its headquarters in Perth, Go Marine is an Australian-incorporated company providing offshore and inshore marine services to the oil and gas industry. Its core competencies include: ship management; marine/construction crewing; marine consultancy; rig moving; and the supply of anchor handlers, barges, platform supply vessels and tugs to the oil and gas industry.

To facilitate the deal, Otto has entered into a $15 million convertible-loan agreement with Go Marine. These funds will be used for the working-capital purposes of Go Marine and certain of its subsidiaries. Under the terms of the option agreement, the remaining 51 per cent of the company can be acquired for $5 million.

Go Marine Group’s managing director, Garrick Stanley said the current management team would remain in place and be locked into the company “to ensure we continue to maintain and improve our service delivery to all our current and future clients”.

Otto Marine Limited is a leading offshore marine company that is engaged in specialised shipbuilding, repair and conversion of offshore vessels for primarily deep-sea applications. In addition, it charters out its own fleet of anchor-handling tugs and offshore supply vessels, mainly for deep-sea applications. It is also the majority shareholder in seismic operator, Reflect Geophysical.

“Otto Marine has been a long-term Joint Venture partner of the Go Marine Group, and together we see this as an exciting development,” said Stanley said.

“Otto Marine will provide the financial backing and support to continue the building of Go Marine as a full-service marine company, with a fleet of ships our clients in the offshore and gas industry desire.

“This share acquisition by Otto Marine gives the Go Marine Group the backing of the Otto Marine’s shipbuilding and dockyard capability, as well as the full support of Otto Marine’s technical team for delivery on our clients’ projects,” he said.

 Change of tack for Pacific Patrol Boat contract
Having announced last October that it had selected DMS Maritime as the preferred tenderer for the refit and support of the Pacific Patrol Boats, the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) has since revealed that it has commenced parallel negotiations for another tenderer.

The decision was made following an independent internal review conducted as a result of a tenderer complaint regarding the initial tender process. As a result DMO commenced a parallel negotiation process with Birdon Marine, and DMS Maritime.

The tender is for support for 19 Pacific Patrol Boats that were built and gifted to Pacific Island countries, and are sponsored and funded by the Defence Cooperation Program. These vessels are used by the Pacific Island countries to patrol their Exclusive Economic Zones, conduct search and rescue operations, and disaster relief.

In the interim, the Pacific Patrol Boats remain supported by the current contractor, BAE Systems.

Wärtsilä introduces new waterjet series
Wärtsilä says its new midsize range of waterjet solutions is particularly aimed at the high-speed ferry, high-speed patrol craft, and custom motoryacht segments, with shaft powers up to 4500kW.

This new midsize series enhances Wärtsilä's range of stainless steel jets to include all sizes from 510mm to 3250mm. According to Wärtsilä, this means it is the only supplier serving both midsize and the lower range of large waterjet applications with a single product.

Although aluminium is a widely used and accepted material for jet fabrication, the Wärtsilä solution utilises abrasion-resistant stainless steel to conserve the carefully designed shape of the stator blades in order to retain high levels of fuel efficiency. The impeller and shaft are also constructed from stainless steel. These features, it says, not only deliver continuous high-performance, but also notably reduce short-term maintenance requirements.

“This enhanced midsize waterjet series makes Wärtsilä extremely competitive for a vast array of high-speed vessel applications,” said Aaron Bresnahan, vice president, Special Vessels Segment, Wärtsilä Ship Power. “The ease of installation, the reliability and the overall attention to detail that these waterjets incorporate, puts them at the forefront of developments in this field.”

The new series comes in a fast and easy plug-and-play installation module that, the company says, offers owners and shipyards lower installation costs and simplified build schedules. The packaged delivery has inlet-duct shapes optimised for different hullforms, thus freeing the yard from the responsibilities of inlet-duct construction. The integral inlet-duct designs were thoroughly researched by Wärtsilä's Computational Fluid Dynamics Department to achieve the optimal hydrodynamic properties.

Another key element of the Wärtsilä solution is that the hydraulic system has no oil-retaining elements protruding outside of the vessel's transom. This not only eases maintenance, but is important from an environmental point of view.

Busy start for SBF
SBF Marine Services in Henderson, Western Australia had a busy start to the year, with a number of boats arriving for a range of work.

Among the commercial vessels making use of the travelift and other facilities was Go Marine’s Go Amplitude. The aluminium monohull arrived at the SBF Marine Services yard on January 31 and was lifted onto the hardstand the next day so that a few minor repairs could be undertaken.

The boat
is on charter by Go Marine Group and being upgraded to strict safety guidelines. It will operate at the new Gorgon Gas plant on Barrow Island.

Go Amplitude, built by SBF Shipbuilders in 2010, is able to perform a number of roles and also has the ability to carry passengers to and from the island.

Arriving at the yard on the same day, was the catamaran K2O. It was lifted straight from the water for water blasting and then transferred to the SBF Marine Services shed for a week for minor yearly maintenance. This included a touch-up topsides paint job and antifouling.

Coming by road at the start of the year was the 11m purpose-built charterboat Sea Spirit. The boat was water blasted then re-antifouled, as well as receiving some minor engine work.

Later in the month, the 31m cruise boat Lady M was lifted, water blasted and put into the shed for annual maintenance. The custom-built boat, which operates in the northwest of WA, had a few minor repairs and antifoul done to prepare it for another cruise season.

Images & photos: CAD drawings of Austal's 35m high-speed passenger ferry, the second for Noumea company Mary D Enterprises; The Tasmanian-built workboat Strait Shooter will be based at Weipa on the Gulf of Carpentaria; Andrew Bellamy is now CEO of Austal Limited; Go Marine's SBF-built Go Puriya; Lata is one of the 19 Pacific Patrol Boats at the centre of the contract; CAD drawing of a Warsila waterjet; SBF’s travelift lift’s Go Amplitude from the water.