Commercial Marine


Shipping industry reforms announced

The Federal Government has announced a package of reforms to the Australian shipping industry that it says are the most comprehensive ever undertaken. Designed to make the Australian shipping industry more internationally competitive, and to reform and revitalise coastal shipping in Australia to create an environment that’s attractive to investors, the reforms include a zero tax rate for Australian ship operators.

Key elements of the package include:
* Tax reforms to remove barriers to investment in Australian shipping and to foster the global competitiveness;
* A simplified three-tier licensing framework for participation in the coastal trade;
* Establishment of an Australian International Shipping Register;
* Establishment of a Maritime Workforce Development Forum to progress key maritime skills and training priorities.

Companies will also be given a financial incentive to replace ships earlier, with the depreciation rate reduced from 20 to 10 years to encourage renewal of the fleet. The reforms also include a tax break for companies employing Australian seafarers on international voyages.

The policy was welcomed by the Australian Shipowners Association (ASA), which said it was the culmination of several years’ work by the Government and the Australian shipping industry.

“The policy provides the necessary elements to allow shipowners to base their operations in Australia and add value to our economy by doing so,” said ASA executive director Teresa Hatch.

The ASA said the tax measures announced are among the most competitive in the world and “will provide essential flexibility for investment decisions by ship owners”.

“The creation of an international second register will allow Australian companies to own and operate ships in international trades on a competitive basis,” said Hatch.

“The importance of this measure cannot be overstated. We have the fifth largest shipping task in the world and yet less than 0.5 per cent is carried by Australian ships. Combined with the wage equalisation measure for Australian seafarers working overseas, this new measure will provide every opportunity to turn that statistic around.

“The training measures… are important to ensure that the strategic maritime skills this nation needs are secured into the future. These are the skills we rely on to protect our environment and our economic viability by ensuring safe and efficient port operations.

“The changes to the coastal trading license regime should result in a greater level of transparency and provide certainty for businesses involved in coastal trades,” she said.

Hatch cautioned the detail that sits behind these measures would be critical and said the ASA looked forward to seeing the draft legislation. “In the meantime, the industry is aware what we need to deliver a productivity and efficiency compact with the maritime unions,” she adds. “The negotiations have been ongoing for months and we will continue to meet to deliver what we know is required of us.”

1). The ASA says the reforms could address the decline in Australian owned shipping.

Sydney Ferries race down to three
Three firms and consortiums have been shortlisted for the tender process to become the new operator of Sydney Ferries.

The three parties were selected from a field of five local and international operators based on their responses to an Expressions of Interest stage.

Those making the cut were:
* Harbour City Ferries – a venture combining Transfield Services Australia and Veolia Transdev Australasia;
* Serco Australia; and,
* Transit Systems and Forgacs Engineering.

Each has existing maritime and transportation operations in Australia. Veolia Transdev operates Brisbane’s CityCat services; Serco is part-owner of navy support services operator DMS Maritime; and Transit Systems has three separate ferry operations in Queensland.

Eliminated from contention were HarbourConnect (comprising John Holland, Souter Investments and Manly Fast Ferry) and SeaLink Travel Group.

Tender documents were released to the shortlisted parties in October and they have until early 2012 to submit their offers. Responses will be evaluated against criteria including safety, operational and maintenance capability as well as cost to Government. The successful operator is expected to be in place by the end of next year.

Under the franchise model, the NSW Government will retain ownership of Sydney Ferries’ existing vessels and the Balmain Shipyard and will retain full control over fares and service levels.

2). Veolia Transdev operates 28 ferries on behalf of the Brisbane CityCouncil.

3). Transity Systems has three ferry operations.

4). DMS Maritime, part-owned by Serco, operates an extensive workboat fleet.

EFIC supports Incat LNG ferry deal
Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC), the Australian Government’s export credit agency, has provided a multi-million-dollar construction finance facility, half of which is guaranteed by the ANZ Bank, to support Incat Tasmania’s shipbuilding contract with South American company, Buquebus.

Incat is using the facility to finance the construction of the ferry, which will be the world’s first high-speed catamaran capable of operating on either LNG or diesel. Incat sought support from EFIC and ANZ for additional capital to construct the ship.

“Recognising the innovative product, the contract size and the benefits of having this world-first vessel constructed locally in Hobart, Tasmania, EFIC worked with Incat’s bank, ANZ, to provide a construction finance facility that will enable Incat to deliver on the contract,” said EFIC’s executive director, Origination and Portfolio Management, Peter Field.

“This ship represents a significant step in the global move for natural gas powered ships to replace those operated with less environmentally friendly fuels, and we are very pleased to have the support of EFIC and ANZ,” said Incat’s chairman Robert Clifford. “This is the eighth Incat vessel built for Buquebus and the sixth such vessel supported by EFIC.”

The 99m high-speed ferry will have capacity for 1000 passengers and 158 cars and is due for delivery in October 2012.

5). This 99m ferry is the eighth built by Incat for Buquebus and the first high-speed catamaran that can run on both LNG and diesel.

More charters to bandaid RAN amphibious capability
The Federal Government has announced further ship charters to address the shortfall in the Royal Australian Navy’s amphibious ship capability resulting from the early withdrawal of HMAS Manoora and HMASKanimbla.

In September it was announced that the RAN would lease an additional amphibious ship, Windermere (pictured), to enhance the Navy’s ability to respond to humanitarian and natural disasters during the forthcoming cyclone season. It has been chartered from October
14 to January 31, 2012 through P&O Maritime Services at a cost of $9.4 million. It is capable of supporting around 100 passengers and can carry 1000 tonnes of cargo. There is an option to extend the charter to the end of February 2012.

Defence has previously chartered the P&O vessel Aurora Australis from May to August 12 and negotiated the availability of the Australian Customs Vessel Ocean Protector to cover the period from August 12 until October 14.

The latest charter followed on from the decision, announced a few weeks earlier, to decommission HMAS Kanimbla. The ship has not been operating since September 2010 due to seaworthiness concerns.

The decision to decommission was made after it was estimated that $35 million would need to be spent on the ship to bring it back into service. At best this would have seen the ship back in operation by mid-2012 – 18 months before it was scheduled to be decommissioned. The decision to decommission its sistership HMASManoora early was made in February after it was also found to be beyond economical repair.

6). Helping others, the RAN will lease the amphibious ship Windermere to assist with humanitarian and natural disasters efforts.

Quicksilver sells Reef Prince
North Queensland tourism operator Quicksilver Group has sold the Great Adventures vessel Reef Prince.

The 35m aluminium catamaran was purchased as a new vessel in 1995 and had been a key part of Great Adventures fleet ever since. With capacity for 350 passengers, and capable of operating at 30kts, it travelled to the Great Barrier Reef and Green Island more than 4800 times in its 16 years with the company.

Commenting on the sale, Quicksilver Group managing director Tony Baker said: “ The sale of Reef Prince will allow us to look at a new vessel that will be more fuel efficient, environmentally friendly with newer technologies and better suited to a changing tourism market in regards to size, flexibility and capabilities. We look forward to introducing a new vessel into our Cairns fleet in the near future.”

Ed Burrows, who has been a skipper at Great Adventures for 20 years, steered her on her final journey back to Cairns from Green Island for the 1481st and final occasion as master of Reef Prince.

7). After 16 years, Reef Prince has been retired from the Cairns to Green Island service.

Dampier pilot boat impresses
Riverside Pilotage provided some very succinct feedback to the builder of its new pilot boat, Woody Marine Fabrications, after the 17m monohull completed its initial sea trials: “Awesome!”

The biggest pilot boat built so far by the Brisbane-based builder had carried out its test and evaluation trials on Moreton Bay, Queensland.

“Our client has followed the construction of this boat closely and when the vessel finally hit the water, they were outwardly glowing,” said Stephen Plummer, CEO of Woody Marine Fabrication.

“In particular, they said that the performance and finish was well beyond their expectations.

“And they also commented at how quiet the boat was when underway. We are finding that occupational health and safety issues rate very highly with just about every boat that we build at WMF. In this it is gratifying to know that the effort to silence the engineroom has been so effective,” he said.

Part of the Riverside Marine group, which also includes ferry operator Fantasea Adventure Cruising and tug operator RiverWijs, Riverside Pilotage is an experienced pilot boat operator with operations in the Port of Dampier in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Pilotage is compulsory for vessels more than 150 tonnes unless the Master has an exemption. The new vessel is now part of the fleet that supports the North West Shelf Joint Venture servicing gas ships at the Withnell Bay LNG Terminal as well as vessels at the Dampier Cargo Wharf and Bulk Liquid Berth facilities.

To get from Queensland to northwest Western Australia, the new boat went up the east coast to Mackay under its own steam before being lifted out of the water for a 4800km road trip across the country. The comments from the head engineer onboard for the voyage to Mackay were very complimentary: “The boat handled extremely well in rough weather, we arrived ahead of time and with a better fuel burn than expected”.

This boat’s design comes from UK-based Camarc, which is recognised as one of Europe’s leading small-boat design offices and which specialises in multi-chine high-speed monohulls. The Riverside vessel shares the same parent design as three other aluminium pilot boats currently in-build or recently delivered for other clients in the United Kingdom, Brazil and Australia, the last being Newcastle Port’s new pilot boat being built by Birdon Marine under a $2.5 million contract. The company was also commissioned to design a new 16m fibreglass pilot boat for Sydney Ports late last year.

The Riverside pilot boat has an overall length of 16.8m, a beam of 5.8m and a design loaded displacement of 27 tonnes. The boat is configured to operate with a crew of three with the capability of carrying up to five pilots.

During the build process, the team at WMF were very mindful of controlling both overall weight and the vessel’s centre of gravity. Plummer is himself a naval architect, and with that skill in-house various modifications to the design were made. For example, the galley was relocated from the main wheelhouse to below in the accommodation area, providing more space and openness in the wheelhouse while still focusing on weight balance.

When the pilot boat came to be launched it weighed in 2.5 tonnes lighter than designed. This was achieved by the modifications implemented during construction and the revised specification of some equipment.

Not surprisingly, given the reduced lightship displacement, speed on trials exceeded the design predictions. With dual Caterpillar C18 V8 diesels, each producing 715hp, and conventional shaftdrive, the boat delivered a top speed of 26kts at 2100 rpm compared to the 25kts prediction. Design cruise speed is 18kts.

With a fuel capacity of 3000lt, the vessel has a range of 400nm at 20.5kts with 10 per cent reserve. Trim is controlled by a Humphree trim tab system, which is said to provide fuel savings of up to 11 per cent by enabling trim optimisation throughout the vessel’s speed range.

Due to Dampier’s remoteness, simplicity, durability and serviceability were paramount when it came to the boat’s main systems. The importance of being able to operate 24/7 was regularly emphasised by Riverside as any downtime would incur the expense of chartering an alternative vessel. An example of the solutions implemented to avoid this is 100 per cent redundancy in electrical power generation achieved through the use of twin 16kVA Zenith gensets.

Dampier’s climate can be quite harsh with temperatures reaching up to 45°C, so the boat’s wheelhouse is fully insulated from cabin sides and roof. The lower accommodation has hull insulation spanning from below the waterline, hull side, under the sidedecks and in the cabin roof. All other crew service areas were insulated under the main deck and combined with three 16,000 BTU self-contained Cruisair air-conditioning units.

The wraparound console in the wheelhouse features two 15in Furuno Navnet screens, networked with Furuno 4kW radar and GPS, class B AIS, and chart overlay.

8). The new 17m pilot boat is the biggest built so far by Brisbane’s Woody Marine Fabrications.

Port Botany project handed over
One of the most ambitious port expansion projects in Australia’s history is a step closer to completion.

NSW Ports Minister Duncan Gay handed over the site of Sydney Ports Corporation’s Port Botany Expansion project third container terminal to Hutchison Port Holdings for operator works in August. The first berths are expected to be operational in early 2013.

“Port Botany is this state’s premier container port and the $1 billion Port Botany Container Terminal Expansion will double the handling capacity at the current port to meet the projected long-term trade growth for Sydney and NSW,” said Gay. “It is one of the most extensive and innovative port infrastructure projects to be undertaken in Australia in the last 30 years.”

Commenting on the handover, Raymond Law, managing director, Australasia and North Asia of HPH said: “We are pleased to receive the site from the Sydney Ports Corporation. HPH will equip the terminal with the latest technology and modern facilities in preparation for the opening in 2013.”

The Port Botany Expansion project has established five new shipping berths along a new 1.85km wharf and created dedicated road and rail access to the port.

The chairman of Sydney Ports Corporation, Bryan Smith said the third terminal would increase competition in the sector with the two existing stevedores at Port Botany.

Damen replaces popular tug design
Despite the success of the ASD Tug 3111 design, a number of which operate in Australia, Dutch-headquartered shipbuilder Damen is now replacing it with its newly developed ASD Tug 3212 design.

Damen says the move “recognises the high level of sophistication reached by the ASD Tug 3111 and the need to introduce a new design that incorporates all of the best features of that vessel in a new powerful tug for the future with even greater potential.”

“The Damen ASD Tug 3111 will be a hard act to follow. Of the 20 tugs of that type now in service, 10 were built in the last five years by the Damen Changde shipyard where great care and attention to detail resulted in vessels finished to a very high standard for discerning clients such as SMIT, Scafi, Rio Tinto and Half Tide Marine,” said Coen Boudesteijn, product director for Tugs & Workboats at Damen.

“Even tugs that have been in service for several years remain in excellent condition thanks to the sturdy construction and high standard of the two-part epoxy paint systems applied by Damen under strictly controlled conditions.

“When the first new ASD Tug 3212 is introduced next year, it will become apparent that improvements can still be made to an ASD concept that has proved to be highly successful. Although the design is completely new, Damen has retained everything that is good and proved to be highly successful in the ASD Tug 3111,” he said.

During the design process Damen worked closely with its clients’ technical staff to ensure that both the performance and production quality will satisfy the needs of the market for ship-handling tugs well into in the future.

“During planning and construction a great deal of attention has been paid to features that will lead to efficient and environmentally sound production and future maintenance,” Boudesteijn said.

“Many rounded corners have been incorporated in the steelwork and where possible, fully enclosed structures are used in areas such as the bulwarks. The engineroom has been fitted out with the greatest possible care with regard to the layout of main and auxiliary equipment; and the routing of pipework and electrical wiring. Much thought has also been given to the accessibility of valves and other components, with safety and ease of maintenance in mind,” he said.

Among the foremost objectives of the design team was to improve the towing characteristics in exposed locations with waves of up to 2.5m high. Assisting large tankers and container ships in those conditions was difficult for the ASD 3111. The new vessel will have a higher bow with a more flared and slender shape and a completely revised hullform with bilge keels that has undergone tank testing.

A new type of heavier two-stage super-absorbent bow fender has been developed to deal with the enormous forces generated by waves when pushing at sea. Also completely new are the cast stainless steel towing bitts and 200 tons offshore rendering/recovery winches developed by Damen Marine Components/Maaskant and designed to withstand a constant tractive force of up to 80 tonnes while working in a swell.

More powerful Caterpillar 3516C TA/D engines and new Rolls-Royce propulsion units with larger controllable propellers will increase performance to achieve a bollard pull of 75 tonnes and free running speed of 14kts.

A completely new Praxis MEGA operating and control system will utilise a series of ‘multifunctional’ touchscreens located on a newly designed control console in the wheelhouse and in the engine control room. The LCD screens, intended for use in any lighting conditions, will enable monitoring and control of the engine, propulsion, and auxiliary systems. Additional touchscreens will be used to display and control the winch and hydraulic systems.

Accommodation aboard the new ASD Tug 3212 will be fully adapted to meet the new Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC 200) requirements, with all cabins above the waterline.

Unlike the earlier vessels, the new ASD Tug 3212 will no longer be built in the Damen Changde shipyard. Production will be allocated to the Damen Galati Shipyard in Romania and the Haiphong yard in Vietnam.

9). Hard act to follow, the new ASD Tug 3212 replaces the successful 3111 design.

BAE changes skipper
BAE Systems Australia has a new Chief Executive. David Allott has replaced Jim McDowell who is now Chief Executive of the UK defence contractor’s Saudi Arabian business.

Allott was previously managing director of the company’s UK-based Global Combat Systems business, which has 5500 employees in four countries and is involved in design, manufacturing, integration and support solutions for military weapons, vehicles and munitions.

McDowell led BAE Systems Australia for more than a decade. In that time the company expanded from 2500 employees and revenue of $400 million to more than 6000 staff and annual revenue approaching $1.8 billion today. That included the 2008 acquisition of Tenix Defence, which brought it into the naval shipbuilding and ship repair industry through the acquisition of shipyards in Victoria and Western Australia.

10). Workers at BAE’s Australian shipyards have a new boss.

RFD wins big Personal Locator Beacon contract
In a tender believed to represent one of the biggest single orders of personal locator beacons (PLB), RFD Australia has been awarded the contract to supply the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) with 406MHz, GPS-enabled PLBs.

The Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) contract will see RFD supply bulk quantities of the Kannad Marine SafeLink SOLO PLB to aid search-and-rescue in the event of a man overboard situation. RAN personnel will wear the PLB as part of their personal equipment when boarding vessels, on patrol or in other circumstances where man overboard is possible.

The SafeLink SOLO PLBs are equipped with a 50-channel GPS, transmitting on the dedicated 406MHz digital distress frequency and have a built in 121.5MHz homing beacon. It is waterproof and buoyant when used in its floatation pouch and provides a direct contact with search-and-rescue services at any time regardless of location.

“We’re delighted that RFD Australia has won such a prestigious tender,” said Ross Wilkinson, Sales Director at McMurdo Kannad Marine.

“Kannad Marine’s SafeLink SOLO PLB is the most compact personal location beacon available. Knowing that the Royal Australian Navy will be using the SafeLink SOLO PLB is a fantastic endorsement for the Kannad Marine brand.”

11). RFD will supply the RAN with Kannad Marine SafeLink SOLO PLBs to aid search-and-rescue in the event of a man overboard situation.

Orders being taken for ‘non-class’ Sailor VHF
Part of the new Thrane & Thrane Sailor 6000 GMDSS Series, the Sailor 6248 VHF is based on the same platform as the Sailor 6222 VHF DSC Class A and is designed to meet the requirements of professional mariners operating in a wide variety of vessels from workboats through to merchant ships. It is waterproof to IPx6 and IPx8 rating, which makes it possible to install it in open boats without any modifications.

Thrane & Thrane says it features high build-quality and durability as well as a number of new and unique features within its class. These include the ability to replay the previous conversation. It comes with all relevant channel tables as standard.

The radio’s user interface includes a graphical display and the option of red backlight to protect night vision. It can be integrated with other Sailor equipment using the ThraneLINK network protocol, which offers benefits in servicing or upgrading. It also features a LAN port for direct connection to an engineer’s laptop for maintenance.

A built-in 6W loudspeaker provides clear audio, and the system can be integrated with a wide range of accessories including extra handsets and hand microphones; a control speaker microphone; and separate loudspeakers that can be positioned anywhere on the vessel.

“Sailor is a highly regarded name in marine radio so when we design a new system it has to live up to the expectations of the industry,” said Casper Jensen, VP Maritime Business Unit, Thrane & Thrane.

“We’re confident that the Sailor 6248 VHF will be just as popular and durable as the previous generation non-class Sailor VHF it replaces, which has become the de facto industry standard in several maritime sectors,” he said.

11). The new Sailor 6248 VHF is designed to meet requirements of professional mariners operating in a wide variety of vessels from workboats through to merchant ships.