Commercial Marine 416

Brisbane builder wins Gladstone LNG ferry contract

A South East Queensland boatbuilder has won a multi-million-dollar contract to construct passenger ferries for transporting workers developing liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities in Gladstone.

Hemmant-based Aluminum Boats Australia (ABA) will build three passenger ferries valued at $21 million. They will be used to transport LNG workers between the port city and Curtis Island.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said the decision by Gladstone LNG (GLNG) to award the major contract to ABA was a major shot in the arm for the boatbuilding sector and an important next step in the evolution of the LNG industry.

“The marine industry was hit hard by the Global Financial Crisis and this new contract will open new avenues for Aluminum Boats Australia,” said Bligh.

“The fact that GLNG has ordered the ferries is also a sign of the broader economic benefits the LNG industry has to the wider Queensland economy.

“ABA currently employs 80 staff and will require up to an additional 70 to meet the demands of GLNG clients,” she said.

ABA started operations in 1999 — first manufacturing a 10m fishing vessel — and the company has gradually grown in both the size and complexity of vessels manufactured.

One bought, one chartered, one stuck in dock
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) will get a new amphibious ship after the Federal Government’s £UK65 million bid for the United Kingdom’s Bay Class ship Largs Bay was accepted by the UK Government.

The 16,000-tonne landing ship was launched in 2003 and commissioned in 2006. It is 176m long and has a beam of 26m. Its flight deck has room for two large helicopters and can also carry around 150 light trucks and 350 troops. It was purchased to ensure Australia’s amphibious capability following the unplanned decommissioning of HMAS Manoora. It became surplus to UK requirements as a result of the UK Government’s 2010 Defence Strategic Review.

The first two payments of £UK22 million each were paid in early May, after harbour and sea trials were conducted in mid-April and confirmed the ship’s condition. The final sales agreement was signed by the two Governments in early June, after which the final payment was made.

Teekay Shipping Australia inspected the
ship prior to the submission of Australia’s bid and found that: “The
ship presents very well, and from a technical point of view, there are no major defects.” This view was confirmed following the sea trials.

The ship will now undergo essential refit and maintenance work in the UK as part of the its normal five-year recertification cycle. It is expected to join the RAN in Australia at the end of this year.

Consideration is being given to what modifications are necessary for Australian use of the ship.

Meanwhile, another of the RAN’s amphibious fleet, HMAS Tobruk, was docked in Sydney on May 11 for scheduled maintenance to further assure the safety and reliability of the ship and to return it to 48 hours readiness notice.

During this process, Defence identified that additional maintenance was necessary to keep the ship in service. This includes work on the hull, the vehicle ramps, the propeller shaft and the overboard discharge piping system for stormwater. As a result the docking has been extended, with completion anticipated for the end of August instead of mid-July as originally anticipated.

In order to ensure Australia has an amphibious capability while the work is undertaken, the Government had chartered the long-range support ship Aurora Australis from P&O Maritime Services between May 8 to June 30, 2011 at a cost of $3.375 million. This has since been extended until the end of August.

Aurora Australis is a 94m icebreaker that can carry 700 tonnes of cargo, transport 116 passengers, embark watercraft and support helicopter operations. It normally supports Antarctic bases.

HMAS Tobruk is also scheduled for routine maintenance for around a six-week period in September and October 2011 to prepare the ship ahead of cyclone season. Planning is underway to ensure Australia has an amphibious capability during this period. Options under consideration include ongoing co-operation with New Zealand over the use of HMNZS Canterbury, Aurora Australis and a range of commercial options which are understood to include high-speed multihulls.

1). Largs Bay will undergo work before heading south.

2). The icebreaking supply vessel Aurora Australis is an interim solution.

 Acquisitions reshape Queensland ferry industry
Recent merger and takeover activity is changing the face of ferry operations in Queensland’s north and south. In the State’s south, the merger of two well-known operators providing service to Stradbroke Island has been announced, while Townsville-based Sunferries has been acquired by an interstate firm.

Transit Systems and Stradbroke Ferries plan to merge the former’s Queensland ferry operations with the latter’s business. Stradbroke Ferries will become a wholly-owned subsidiary in the Transit Systems group of companies alongside existing Queensland subsidiaries, Big Red Cat and Bay Islands Transit.

Transit Systems is a leading provider of public transport services across several Australian states. Swan Transit in Western Australia is the largest operator of Perth metropolitan bus services with a fleet of 453 buses and approximately 800 employees. Torrens Transit is the largest operator of Adelaide metropolitan bus services with a fleet of 622 buses and more than 1000 employees. In Queensland, Bay Islands Transit operates passenger ferries to the Southern Moreton Bay Islands and the Big Red Cat to North Stradbroke Island. Combined, the Transit Systems group transports approximately 65 million passengers and 90,000 vehicles annually.

The merger follows a very tough period of economic activity when tourism in Queensland and travel to North Stradbroke Island are sharply down on previous years. Additionally, the early shutdown of sand mining on North Stradbroke Island, as recently announced by the Queensland Government, further challenges the viability of two vehicle-ferry services running to the island in the future.

“We are pleased to have been presented with the opportunity to merge the two North Stradbroke ferry businesses,” said Transit Systems CEO, Clint Feuerherdt.

“The transaction will result in smarter utilisation of capacity on the route, without any material change in frequency of services available to customers. This will mean that the ferry service to ‘Straddie’ will be sustainable well into the future in the face of some dramatic changes to the island economy,” he said.

David Thomson, CEO of Stradbroke Ferries added: “Merging the two ferry businesses is the best way to ensure that a high-quality ferry service to the island is maintained, which will help all island businesses to remain viable.

“Customers can look forward to hourly departures available from both the mainland and the island, although both Big Red Cat and Stradbroke Ferries brands will be maintained,” he said.

Thomson also highlighted, “In addition, with operator consolidation at Toondah Harbour in Cleveland, the long awaited redevelopment of the Harbour and surrounds, as well as the arrival point on Straddie could be accelerated.”

Stradbroke Ferries was established in 1963, when it commenced operating a barge service to Stradbroke Island from Redland Bay. The company now operates two barges and one passenger ferry to North Stradbroke Island from Cleveland. It also operates four barges to the Southern Moreton Bay Islands from Redland Bay and the Moggill Ferry. These operations are included in the transaction, however, no change to these businesses or services is expected.

Vessel rationalisation and reinvestment is anticipated. This may mean some changes to vessel combinations and, over time, the replacement of older vessels.

South Australia-based tourism and transport operator, SeaLink Travel Group, has acquired the Sunferries Group, which operates passenger ferry services from Townsville to the tourist location of Magnetic Island and provides a service to the indigenous community of Palm Island. It carries around 800,000 passengers a year.

The acquisition includes three catamaran passenger ferries, trademarks, licences, plant and equipment, and a travel agency.

SeaLink said the acquisition will add about $12.5 million to its annual turnover, lifting it to about $80 million. The acquisition will mean SeaLink’s ferry services, which include the service to Kangaroo Island in South Australia and another operation in New Zealand, will now carry about 1.8 million passengers per year in SA.

SeaLink chairman, Giuliano Ursini said the purchase is being funded through a combination of cash and equity, with Sunferries MD, Terry Dodd, joining the SeaLink Board.

Ursini says there is tremendous tourism growth potential in the Townsville region and the acquisition will provide the strength required to take advantage of these opportunities.

“The purchase of Sunferries is a major step forward for SeaLink and an ideal strategic fit to SeaLink Travel Group’s growing tourism operations,” said Ursini.

“Sunferries has established itself as a tourism leader in Townsville since its formation in 1997 and enjoys excellent relationships with inbound tour operators, wholesalers, the Government and tourism authorities.

“This acquisition heralds the most exciting growth period in SeaLink’s 22-year history and helps set the future course for our company.

“Sunferries will provide us with additional strength in ferry operations, while providing us with the opportunity to expand our tourism offering for international and Australian tourists,” he said.

Dodd said SeaLink’s extensive background in transport and ferry services and recognised strength in tourism offered “a perfect fit”.

“It provides the strength required to ensure the ongoing growth of our services and tourism in the Townsville area,” said Dodd. “SeaLink understands tourism and ferries and provides us with the best possible partner for the business into the future.”

3). For Sunferries, Townsville’s yellow cats are now South Australian owned.

4). For Big Red Cat, Transit Systems is seeking to expand it beyond its branded service.

New boats for Marine Rescue NSW
Marine Rescue NSW’s fleet upgrade program is gathering pace, with a number of new vessels entering service in recent months and more on the way.

Steber International has been contracted to produce an initial batch of four new rescue vessels, the first of which was delivered to Batemans Bay on the NSW South Coast. It is intended to be part of a strategically located safety net of offshore vessels covering the State’s coastline.

Then Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Glenn Finniss handed a Commissioning Certificate for the Steber 38 BM30 to Batemans Bay Deputy Unit Commander Mick Syrek at the
official commissioning on May 1. Its completion represents the result of more than 5000 working hours at Steber’s Taree facility involving shipwrights, electricians, upholsterers, marine engineers, cabinetmakers, fibreglass laminators and apprentices.

Although it is the second Steber commissioned into the Marine Rescue fleet in recent years — Marine Rescue Broken Bay has had a Steber 28 in service — since 2009, BM30 is the first purpose-built major offshore rescue vessel commissioned by Marine Rescue NSW.

Launched on February 22, it represents the start of a statewide vessel replacement programme to supersede an ageing fleet with purpose designed and built rescue vessels.

Marine Rescue NSW has embarked on a demanding replacement program for an ageing fleet of more than 70 craft to provide the State’s recreational boating community with a fleet of modern, Australian-built rescue vessels and ensure volunteers have the right equipment for rescue work.

While additional funding from the NSW Government, and contributions from the boat licences and registrations of the state’s boating community, has made it possible to acquire the vessel, Marine Rescue NSW says it still needs to raise close to $7 million a year to match these funds to achieve the total budget of $14 million needed to run the service.

BM30 is a 11.6m Steber 38 monohull built to stringent survey specifications. While the limit of operations for Marine Rescue NSW is 15nm offshore, the Steber 38 is accredited for work 30nm offshore.

The award-winning hull design is noted for its seagoing qualities and excellent handling features, such as level planing, excellent cornering, dry soft riding and good all-round vision.

As a commercial boat supplied to Marine Rescue NSW, the fitout is very specific yet utilitarian, though there are some creature comforts for the crew.

The cockpit is functional and can be sealed from the elements to keep water and wind outside under the most adverse of sea conditions. A feature is the sizeable towing post sitting squarely amidships between two flush-mounted engine hatches. Below each of these is a Yanmar 6LY3-STP engine with the enginemaker’s own KMH61A marine transmissions.

Stebercraft’s main machinery installation is designed to facilitate easy maintenance and long life. To help Marine NSW achieve this, Steber arranged for Batemans Bay crews to oversee installation of the motors of the second Steber 38 being built. This gave the volunteers a thorough understanding of the mechanics and procedures involved to maintain their boat in first class condition.

The 6LY3-STP engine is a turbocharged, direct injection, intercooled, 24-valve, in-line six-cylinder diesel. It produces 440hp (324kW) at 3300rpm and weighs 718kg complete with the transmission.

Matched with 23in x 26.5in props, this translated into a top speed for the Steber 38 of 32.6kts at 3357rpm. Throttling back to a more realistic cruise speed of 21.6kts, the Yanmars each consumed 40.5lt/h.

In addition to Raymarine navigation equipment and Icom radios, BM30 is equipped with technology such as Automatic Identification System (AIS) from Furuno, Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR) night vision and VHF direction-finding equipment.

The boat also carries advanced first aid equipment, including Australian Defibrillators cardiac defibrillator and oxygen therapy.

According to Finniss, the Steber 38 was selected as much for its proven capability as much as it is also the vessel selected by many other public organisations.

“The Steber and Yanmar brand is well proven, with organisations such as NSW Maritime, NSW Water Police, NSW Fisheries Patrol, Australian Customs and the ADF,” said Finniss.

“That gives us great comfort. But beyond that the Steber 38 is a well-proven commercial design with very strong references. It is a proven and capable platform for offshore heavy-weather duties.

“Having put BM30 through her sea trials, we are very happy with our choice and look forward to receiving the remaining three Yanmar-powered Steber 38s,” he said.

The second of these, and Marine Rescue NSW's third all-new rescue vessel, was launched at Taree in early May. The $720,000 boat will be based in Shaws Creek at Greenwell Point. It replaces Marine Rescue Shoalhaven’s 31-year-old rescue boat A M McGilvray, which was purchased from the Royal Australian Navy in 1995.

Slotting in between the two Steber monohulls, was Marine Rescue Port Kembla's new Kevlacat PK20. The catamaran was thus the second all-new vessel for Marine Rescue NSW to enter service.

It arrived in its new home at Port Kembla on May 3, having earlier undergone tests and trials in Sydney. The boat is a 3000 series Kevlacat powered by Suzuki four-stroke outboards and has been designed and built to rescue-accreditation specifications.

5). The Steber 38 BM30 is the first of many new boats.

6). The Stebers have 880hp from a pair of Yanmars.

WA and China to share fisheries expertise
Western Australia and China have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate the exchange of fisheries expertise.

The MOU was signed in Shanghai by a delegation of representatives from WA’s Department of Fisheries, Murdoch University and Challenger Institute of Technology (Fremantle) and the China Society of Fisheries.

Supervising Scientist Dr Brett Molony, who led the delegation on behalf of the Department, said the agreement underpins exchanges of information on artificial reefs, stock monitoring and assessment, approaches for policy development for fishery management and compliance systems.

“Under this agreement, we will access China’s vast experience in the design and evaluation of purpose-built artificial reefs,” said Dr Molony. “They will also benefit from our expertise in the policy development, management, monitoring and compliance components of fisheries management.”

Ferry orders flow to Sydney
It seems barely a week goes by that Sydney naval architects Incat Crowther don’t announce a new contract. Of late, the success has come in their traditionial speciality — passenger catamarans.

Contracts have been signed with Russian builder Pacifico Marine for two ferry projects. The two companies have formed a relationship that sees the design company assist Pacifico Marine to service the Russian market with proven designs. The relationship has already found success with the contracts for these two boats, and both companies are hard at work to secure further orders.

The vessels are being constructed for operation during next year’s APEC summit in Vladivostok. It is envisaged that the locally constructed vessels, operated by Vladmorpass Co. Ltd, will not only provide comfortable and efficient transport for the APEC summit members, but will also showcase the region’s maritime industry.

The first of the two vessels will be a 27m aluminium catamaran, which will carry 223 passengers. This ferry has been delivered to Pacifico Marine as an aluminium kit, which not only includes aluminium structure, but also major components such as windows and doors.

The second vessel will be a 223-passenger, 28m composite catamaran. For this Incat Crowther provided a complete composite engineering service in addition to its full drafting and naval architectural design service. The design package for this vessel farther demonstrates Incat Crowther’s the strength and versatility.

Each vessel will be powered by a pair of MTU 10V200 M72 main engines driving though propellers, and will have service speeds of 25kts.

The company is also providing the design of a 24m catamaran to be built by Baltic Workboats in Estonia. The vessel is a follow up to the Incat Crowther-designed 24m research catamaran under construction at the yard, and will be operated in the Gulf of Riga, Estonia.

In addition to 60 passengers, two vehicles will be carried on the aft deck, with deck capacity allowing vehicles up to 6.5m in length, and axle loads up to 2.4t. The ferries will be loaded via the stern-mounted ramp. There is also a deck crane for loading cargo. The vessel will be powered by a pair of Volvo D16MH R2 main engines, each producing 751hp. It will have a service speed of 22kts.

Closer to home, Quicksilver Bali has contracted a 42m wave-piercing catamaran. The Indonesian operator currently runs day tours and dinner cruises out of Bali, using the Incat Crowther-designed Quicksilver 6.

Under construction in Indonesia, the tour-boat will be built to Lloyd’s Register and carry 450 passengers in two saloons and on three outdoor decks. In addition to passengers it will carry up to 50 crew, many of whom work at the operator’s pontoon at Nusa Penida Island.

The catamaran will be powered by four Caterpillar C32 ACERT C engines, each producing 1080kW. Propulsion is carried to Kamewa 50A3 waterjets via ZF3050/D gearboxes and cardan shafts. The vessel will have a service speed of 26kts and a top speed of 30kts. Extensive long-range fuel tanks will be fitted, giving the boat a delivery range of 800nm.

7). One of two Incat Crowther designed cats ordered for Russia.

8). The Estonian cat also carries two cars.

9). At 42m, the Quicksilver wavepiercer is the largest of the lot.

 Antifoul fit for a Queen
Cunard, the famous cruise brand operated by Carnival UK, has confirmed significant savings on its flagship liner Queen Mary 2 since it changed antifouling.

The change from a silyl-based TBT-free self-polishing copolymer antifouling to International Paint’s fluoropolymer foul release coating Intersleek 900 was made in November 2008. Based on its own detailed studies, Cunard has confirmed that ship efficiency has improved by more than 10 per cent since the application of the Intersleek 900 system to the vertical sides.

Ronnie Kier, the ship’s chief engineer, explained how this was calculated.

“Prior to the drydocking, in order to achieve the necessary speeds to meet our demanding schedule, we would need to utilise all four 14.5MW diesel generators and supplement that with our 8MW gas turbine running on gas oil,” said Kier.

“After the drydocking, we only required the four diesel generators, which gave us a direct saving of approximately 36 tonnes of gas oil per day or around $30,000 per day at today’s prices. What is more important to us is that those initial efficiency improvements have been effectively maintained over the 30 months since application,” he said.

The lower fuel consumption represents a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 50,000 tonnes — equivalent to taking 16,000 cars off the road for 12 months.

Carnival Corporation is committed to reducing the environmental impact of vessel operations through “practices which set a high standard for excellence and responsibility”. The decision to switch to Intersleek 900 was part of a strategic initiative to reduce fuel usage and associated emissions while still maintaining operational schedules. The fact that Intersleek is biocide-free was also part of the decision.

Carnival first applied Intersleek in 1999 and 50 vessels in the group are coated with Intersleek products. Going forward, the intention is to convert the remainder of the fleet to biocide-free schemes.

10). Intersleek gives Cunard liners, such as the Queen Mary 2, more slippery and enviro-friendly hulls.

Rapid Access now available for steel ships
Hobart-based CBG Systems has announced that its lightweight Rapid Access composite structural fire-protection system, which has been used on aluminium vessels for many years, is now available for steel ships.

Rapid Access Stainless provides an A-60 class division for steel and aluminium deckheads and bulkheads, and is supplied as a panel system, with an insulated stainless steel supporting structure. Nominal maximum dimensions per panel are 1200mm by 900mm, and the system weighs in at 8.5kg per square metre.

CBG says the system is ideal for structural fire protection of vehicle decks, enginerooms, hangars, storage rooms, duty-free shop areas and any other A-class space. It says the average installation time is 3.5 man hours per square metre, but that panels can be replaced in under five minutes.

The system meets IMO requirements.

Thrane & Thrane alarm panel for non-SOLAS FleetBroadband distress calls
Thrane & Thrane has launched its Sailor 3771 Alarm Panel FleetBroadband, which it says is the first system to take advantage of non-SOLAS voice distress calling via FleetBroadband. It was launched alongside Inmarsat’s unveiling of the new service.

The new alarm panel (pictured) and voice distress calling have been developed to enhance safety communication aboard both non-SOLAS commercial and recreational vessels, through efficient use of the FleetBroadband service.

The new Voice Distress (Non-SOLAS) calling service provides full priority access for both ship-shore and shore-ship communication in emergency situations, together with pre-emption for distress priority call initiated by activation of the ‘red button’.

Essentially, the service is able to interrupt any non-urgent calls once the distress button has been activated and give full priority to subsequent emergency communications and so improve safety onboard.

A voice distress call from the FleetBroadband system using the new service will be connected to an operator at an MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre). RCC Australia is the nominated MRCC in the local Inmarsat-4 satellite region. It assesses the call and directs details to a suitable rescue co-ordination centre closer to the scene of the incident.

“Inmarsat has, throughout its existence, strived to provide the broadest and most efficient means of enabling the seafarer to make contact with the appropriate authorities in times of distress or trouble,” explains Peter Blackhurst, head of Maritime Safety Services, Inmarsat.

“The new voice distress service will enhance safety for any vessel where the option is fitted to its FleetBroadband terminals. We are also working towards bringing the system to the IMO in order to establish it as a full part of GMDSS in the future,” he said.

11). The Thrane & Thrane SAILOR 3771 Alarm Panel FleetBroadband has been designed for integration with Thrane & Thrane’s popular SAILOR 150, 250 and 500 FleetBroadband terminals. Set-up requires just a single Ethernet cable to connect it.