More locals target European wind

The European market for vessels to service offshore wind turbines is generating more local interest, with Australia’s Strategic Marine and New Zealand company Energy Vessels Offshore (EVO) throwing their hats in the ring.

Their moves follow WA-based Austal, which had already declared its interest in mid-2010, and secured its first order for three 21m catamarans a year later.

Strategic Marine and UK-based vessel-design company BMT Nigel Gee have have signed a Teaming Agreement that will provide the shipbuilder with access to BMT Nigel Gee's many designs, in particular vessels for the offshore wind industry and the passenger-ferry market.

Strategic Marine says it will be able to leverage BMT Nigel Gee's design expertise — in combination with its own ability to manufacture high-quality vessels in Asia — to provide highly competitive solutions to operators around the world, in particular Europe, a target market for the business.

Strategic Marine chief marketing officer Terry O'Connor said: “This agreement gives us immediate access to many proven designs and allows us to expand our already large portfolio of vessels.

“Having attained significant success in the offshore oil and gas sector, we can use our experience to work with BMT Nigel Gee developing world-leading solutions for operators around the world,” he said.

O'Connor said Strategic Marine conducted an extensive market-research project in 2010, identifying several new target markets including offshore wind-support vessels and passenger ferries.

“Our agreement with BMT Nigel Gee sets us on a path of meeting our objective to be a world leader in these markets,” said O'Connor.

“We already have a reputation as a world leader in aluminium crewboat construction and BMT is one of the world's largest independent design consultancies. The competitive advantage we offer is the ability to manufacture these vessels very cost effectively at our yards in Singapore and Vietnam, while maintaining quality through high levels of Australian input and content management expertise,” he said.

BMT technical director, Edward Dudson said:
“This relationship, we believe, will provide a very attractive proposition for the renewable-energy sector given the increasingly strong demand for new vessels here in Europe. Strategic Marine has large facilities in Asia and as a consequence, is able to provide very quick deliveries.

“While our initial focus is on the offshore wind and passenger-ferry markets, we will also be working together with Strategic Marine to identify other opportunities,” he added.

Across the Tasman, EVO has launched its range of service vessels specifically designed to transport service crews to and from offshore wind turbines. The vessels range in size from 18m to 24m and come in semi-displacement and high-speed versions. EVO says it will construct them in New Zealand “to take advantage of the low NZ dollar and the exceptional build-quality achievable locally”.

Lars Bjorklund, EVO’s sales director, reports that brokers have been appointed to represent EVO in Europe.

“We are targeting European sales at this point in time to help meet the shortage of suitable service vessels that will occur over the next few years,” says Bjorklund.

“Our products are innovative and technically advanced. Our flagship is based on a foil-assisted catamaran platform, utilising state-of-the-art propulsion which avoids the use of waterjets and the operational problems experienced by their use,” he said.

Bjorklund hints at further features. “The process of carrying and landing technicians on offshore wind turbines in a range of weather conditions has been given particular attention,” he says.

“We have applied solutions that provide for the comfort of passengers in transit at high speed, even in seas with significant wave heights, and then when it comes time to land them on the turbine our vessels exhibit superior stability at rest combined with the most advanced crew transfer systems available,” Bjorklund explained.

EVO was established by two prominent NZ marine businesses — Diverse Projects Limited and Oceania Marine Limited, and operates from a shipyard in Port Whangarei. The shipyard has a long history of commercial vessel construction.

Another Sea Transport Cat for Venezuela
Queensland-based Sea Transport Solutions has been awarded
a new vessel design for Venezuelan ferry operator Gran Cacique.

The new 70m ropax catamaran will carry 100 cars and 600 passengers at
powered with MTU diesels.
The new ferry will supplement the existing Sea Transport 64m ropax vessel presently operating on the Santa Margarita route. That ship previously operated in South Australia.

NSW firms agree on UOVs
Renewable-energy marine technology company SolarSailor and shipbuilder Forgacs Engineering have announced an agreement to market, prototype, and build world-first wind and solar powered unmanned ocean vessels (UOVs).

The licence agreement between the two companies combines SolarSailor’s patented UOV technology with Forgacs’ track record in major Navy and commercial shipbuilding. The vessel is a “game-changer” for the $2 billion worldwide UOV market, according to Dr Robert Dane, CEO Solar Sailor and the technology’s inventor.

“Other types of UOVs currently in use deploy at sea for hours or days only, and use strictly finite amounts of onboard stored fossil-fuel or solar generated electric power for propulsion,” said Dr Dane.

“The SolarSailor UOV offers unlimited time-at-sea with the primary propulsion being wind (with the SolarSail) for the vessel’s movement, and renewable-electricity generated at sea from propeller regeneration. Photovoltaic cells on the SolarSail power all electronics such as steering, lighting, movement sensors and satellite communications.

“And abundant reserve electrical power is stored in lithium-ion battery packs low down in the hull, which also act as ballast to balance the vessel.

“This opens a whole new suite of capabilities and markets in highly-sensitive security or weather-risk areas, in military operations and coastal border protection with unauthorised maritime arrivals, oceanography and meteorology, and marine safety at sea,” he said.

The vessel requires no fossil fuels to operate and gives off zero-emissions. Photovoltaic solar cells cover the stowable aerofoil-type wingsail and much of the deck. The propeller is driven by an electric motor (without engine noise) and is used in low-wind conditions for manoeuvring, collision avoidance, and stealth missions.
These unique vessels offer a quantum change in maritime operations with worldwide implications according to Tony Lobb, director of Forgacs.

“Navies and coastguards worldwide can enjoy limitless at-sea operation and vessel-monitoring from onshore, without risk to crew safety, and with large, variable payload capacities at low capital cost, and low running costs without the need for onboard crew or renewing fossil fuels,” said Lobb. “This proven Solar Sailor technology is already powering six vessels in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Australia.”

More facilities for Townsville marine industry
Queensland’s Premier Anna Bligh has officially opened the $110 million first stage of the Townsville Marine Precinct at the mouth of the Ross River.

Bligh said the delivery of another major infrastructure project for Townsville was an important milestone in the continued transformation of the city.

“There is now a dedicated home and a safer and cleaner environment for the city's commercial fishing fleet, marine fabrication and repair industries, marine research facilities and other marine operators,” said Bligh.

"This 18-hectare project has been a major engineering feat, with workers using 450,000 tonnes of rock from five quarries, and driving 238 piles and 1800 stabilising stone columns over 14 months of construction.

"The project is a credit to all who worked on it," she said.

The opening marks the completion of contracted works by Port of Townsville Limited and Laing O'Rourke Australia Pty Ltd under an alliance contract and the staged occupation of the sites by local businesses is now underway.

Rosshaven Marine is already operating out of the precinct, with the likes of Townsville Ross River Marina, Pacific Marine Group, Harbourside Coldstores and the Australian Institute of Marine Science to complete their relocation in the coming months.

Rosshaven Marine’s infrastructure includes a new mooring facility (pictured) completed by marine berthing specialist Superior Jetties. Catering for small recreational boats right through to large military and commercial vessels up to 500 tonnes, Rosshaven Marine’s new mooring facility is a heavy-duty specification for use in refit work.

The main pontoon incorporates a 55m walkway with the ability for multiple vessels to be moored stern to, with support and fender steel piles all at 610mm diameter. The whole structure has been manufactured using Superior Jetties’ Super Elite product, custom-built with a 750mm freeboard and stainless steel throughbolts on hardwood walers. A custom fuel system also reticulates through the pontoons to allow for multiple fuel outlets.

Superior Jetties managing director, John Hogan said the Rosshaven Marine project demonstrated the company’s ability to provide a high-specification product in a fast-tracked program.

“Despite the adverse weather events that have impacted construction in North Queensland this year, this purpose-built mooring facility was delivered on time and on budget,” said Hogan. “It was an excellent team effort, with solid support from local contractors Pacific Marine Group and Minelec.”

Fantasea adds new boat to reef
Fantasea Cruises has added its first new vessel for reef operations in many years with the introduction into service in September of Fantasea Sunrise. It operates from the Whitsundays’ Shute Harbour, Qld.

The prominent Great Barrier Reef operator was named as the buyer of the 24m catamaran in June.

In the months following that announcement, Brisbane shipyard Aluminium Marine tailored the vessel for Fantasea’s operation, including interior lounges and the application of striking graphics inside and out.

Construction of the vessel had started in September 2010, with both designer and builder developing a boat that was flexible in its configuration. It was anticipated that the catamaran could be utilised for either commuter or tour operations, maximising its market appeal.

As structural work proceeded, Aluminium Marine and Incat Crowther were approached by Fantasea Cruises to develop a layout for the vessel that suited their reef-tour operation. Whilst structural elements remained unchanged through the process, modifications we made to the interior fitout.

A bar/kiosk was added to the main deck aft, utilising the space under the stairs for storage. Main deck seating was revised to incorporate a mix of forward-facing seats and booths with tables. The upper deck cabin has been fitted out with stylish lounges and occasional tables.

Fantasea Sunrise is fitted with 119 seats in the main deck cabin and 38 lounges in the upper deck cabin.

Three toilets, one of which is wheelchair accessible, are located on the aft main deck, while an additional toilet is located on the upper deck.

Successful sea trials established the virtues of Incat Crowther’s plumb-stemmed hull form.
According to the designers “the vessel sets new standards for fuel efficiency, providing good cruising speed with low capital costs and modest running expenses”.

Powered by a pair of Yanmar 6AYM-GTE main engines, Fantasea Sunrise comfortably exceeded her contracted loaded service speed of 25kts, and achieved a top speed in excess of 28kts.

Each of the Yanmars is rated to produce 610kW at 1900rpm. At this rating the engine is approved for maximum throttle settings up to 10 hours of continuous operation at any one time. The engines are designed by Yanmar to operate in applications up to 3000 hours per annum at this rating.

The engines are coupled to Yanmar’s own YXH240 marine transmission, meaning the core of the propulsion package is fully warranted, tested and supplied by a single manufacturer.
“As well as being efficient, the latest-generation hullform provides a very stable platform, offering greater passenger comfort and seakeeping, which is ideal for the offshore route it will be utilised on,” said Brett Crowther, Incat Crowther’s managing director.

The catamaran has a waterline length just 20cm shorter than its 24m length overall, a beam of 8.5m and a draft of 1.7m to the bottom of the props.

Another similar 24m catamaran ferry is currently under construction at Aluminium Marine and available for immediate sale. It will be completed in early 2012.

More of the same for AVCG

The success of an Australian Volunteer Coast Guard (AVCG) vessel in one Victorian port has been instrumental in determining the solution for another Coast Guard operation in the same state.

The new Coast Guard vessel for Hastings is a Razerline 8.7m plate aluminium boat with an enclosed wheelhouse. The new vessel has an operational zone that is both diverse and large. The Coast Guard Hastings flotilla’s operational waters range from the narrow confines of Western Port’s protected creeks and inlets to the open expanses of Bass Strait.

Before commissioning the new boat, close scrutiny was paid to another relative newcomer to the Coast Guard fleet in Victoria — the Razerline vessel operated by Coast Guard Geelong. The outcome was an outstanding report, one which determined that the new boat for Hastings would be similarly configured. The principal change is an increase in power: the Geelong boat had dual Yamaha F200 outboards, while the Hastings boat has gone up in power to the F225 four-strokes.

As with the Geelong boat, the new vessel was set-up by Geelong Boating Centre. At the heart of the project is the Razerline 870 Hardtop model, a boat specifically designed for commercial operation.

With the Razerline tipping the scales at four tonnes lightship, the combined 450hp gives a top speed of 42kts. A more sedate cruise speed of 20kts is achieved at 3100rpm, with each engine consuming 21.5lt/h. The Coast Guard boat is also a fully accredited CFA (Country Fire Authority) unit. The boat is set-up to accept a CFA certified mobile water-pump for fire-fighting and can be called on by the CFA to attend boat fires if required.
According to Cameron MacDonald at Geelong Boating Centre, the new boat is a solid accolade for both Geelong Boating Centre and Yamaha.

“The previous boat that we put together for the Coast Guard proved to be an exceptional package,” said MacDonald.

“All three partners in the project have obviously proven themselves to be top performers… Geelong Boating Centre, Yamaha, and Razerline.

“This is an exceptional boat and a wonderful addition to the Coast Guard network of rescue vessels. In addition to the boat being built to survey standards, only high-quality equipment has been used and installed. This ranges from the electronics to pumps to safety gear. All the equipment on board is the highest quality marine-grade gear,” he added.

BAE to upgrade WA facility
BAE Systems will upgrade its waterfront facilities in Western Australia to deliver new services supporting Australia’s offshore oil and gas operations.The company will invest more than $8 million in its Henderson facility. Phase One of the upgrade will facilitate an increased range of commercial vessel support and offshore fabrication opportunities.

BAE Systems Australia’s maritime oil and gas general manager, John Wood said the company already provided services to the oil and gas sectors from several international sites, including the USA.

“Our entry into the Australian market therefore represents a logical extension of our global capability,” says Wood. “During the past decade, the company has produced more than 100,000 tonnes of complex steel structures in Australia primarily in the naval sector and we are keen to transfer this expertise to clients in the oil and gas sectors.”

New works to be undertaken at Henderson include extension of rail lines, upgrading the main construction shed to include a new blast and paint area, refurbishing of the vessel turntable, yard sealing and a new office complex. When complete, the 14.5-hectare site will be capable of simultaneously handling a larger volume of vessels concurrently, and some of the largest and most specialised structures and modules in use in the oil and gas market now and in the future.

Wood said the company would target fabrication opportunities including subsea structures, pipe spools, manifolds, risers and modularised processing facilities.

“We are also keen to expand our ability to maintain and modify a range of offshore support vessels such as supply and drill ships, and construction barges,” said Wood.

The Henderson facility already possesses the largest ship lift in Western Australia, capable of lifting and transporting structures in excess of 8000 tonnes. WA Department of Commerce general manager (marine, defence, oil and gas), John O'Hare welcomed the announcement as a major vote of confidence in WA's strategic position in oil and gas services.

“BAE Systems expansion is an endorsement of the state's decision to form a cluster of significant marine, defence and resources fabrication and support industries at the Australian Marine Complex (AMC) supported by State Government investment in common-use infrastructure.

The AMC is rapidly becoming a major marine support and oil and gas fabrication cluster in the region," said O'Hare.

BAE Systems’ site is located directly alongside the AMC’s Common User Facility with its State Government funded common-use infrastructure. It has direct waterfront access, a construction and prefabrication hall with a combined capacity of more than 7000m², and approximately 10 hectares of lay-down space.

Kongsberg to provide RAN LHD simulator
Kongsberg Maritime has been selected to provide a custom engineroom simulator for the training of engineers aboard Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships.

The new LHD Engineering System Trainer (LEST) will enhance the Navy’s ability to train LHD vessel engineering personnel. The LEST project is scheduled for delivery February 2013, and will include both full-mission and desktop-simulation systems, with integrated e-Learning facilities. The LEST will simulate operational control of all marine engineering (ME) systems and equipment installed on the LHD, enabling training for the operation of ME systems and equipment in remote, local, manual and emergency/casualty modes.

The simulators will be developed to provide a highly realistic simulation of the ME systems aboard Canberra Class vessels. A core objective is to cover the operation and system understanding of the combined diesel and gas turbine (CODAGE) configuration on the vessels; with electrical transmission where an electric motor is in the pod itself, connected directly to the propeller without gears.

The full mission part of the delivery will include control room operator stations with software mimics and panels; electrical switchboard mimic and panels; local control engineroom mimics; and bridge control and steering panels. Kongsberg will integrate its BigView touchscreen software mimic to provide the ADF with the latest in simulation technology and high flexibility.

“The LEST system will enable ME sailors posted to an LHD the capability of being assessed certified and competent to perform their billeted job in the shortest possible time. With basic and advanced remote or on-campus training it will significantly reduce the training load placed on the vessels, and will be configured to meet the RAN’s expected student throughput,” said Mark Stuart Treen, sales and marketing manager, Kongsberg Maritime, simulation department.

Vestdavit appoints Australian naval service partner
Norway-based boat-handling system and specialised davit supplier Vestdavit has appointed Australia’s Hydraulink NT as service partner for Australia, building on a successful long-term contract to supply the Royal Australian Navy with highly capable davits for its fleet of Armidale-class patrol boats.

The appointment was confirmed at a meeting in Norway, attended by Stuart Kenny and Greg McKechnie, Hydraulink NT directors, and a delegation from Australia’s Northern Territory, led by Robert Knight, minister for Defence Support.

Rolf Andreas Wigand, managing director Vestdavit said: “When we supplied the Royal Australian Navy with the quickest and safest way possible to launch and recover boats from their offshore patrol vessels we didn’t just supply well thought-out engineering. We supplied a lifetime commitment to keep the equipment in the best operational condition.

“For that we need a high-quality-engineering and hydraulic partner with expertise in servicing top-level machinery in rugged environments. I’m delighted we have found that in Hydraulink NT. We expect to build on this relationship as demand grows in the region for safe and effective means of handling boats at sea,” he said.

Knight said: “Keeping our long coastline safe is a big task, and our navy deserves the best equipment and the best support. This agreement brings together the quality engineering and boat-handling expertise of Vestdavit and the experienced team of (hydraulic) fluid power systems technicians and engineers of Hydraulink NT.

“This builds on our government’s continued commitment to supporting Territorian business in the defence industry. This partnership between Hydraulink NT and Vestdavit will deliver safety and increase the Navy’s operational effectiveness by ensuring they can launch and recover boarding craft from the Armidale Class Patrol fleet as they patrol our northern shores,” he said.

Stuart Kenny said: “We know how demanding the RAN is on operational effectiveness, and we know how tough the environment is in which they work. Vestdavit has supplied a great system for their boats, and we are delighted to work with them to service the equipment and extend Vestdavit’s reach in this part of the world.”

Vestdavit has supplied 28 purpose-designed PLAR4500 davits for the RAN’s 14 Armidale Class patrol boats. Each davit can safely launch and recover an eight-metre Zodiac fast-boarding craft in seas up to 4m. Additionally, Vestdavit has supplied 16 PLA 2000 davits to Australian Customs for their Bay Class patrol boats.

Hydraulink NT has been designing, making and servicing hydraulic fluid management systems for many years. Its team of systems technicians and engineers are among the most experienced in Australia, with demonstrated successes across a broad range of applications in defence, mining, oil and gas, and marine industries. Hydraulink NT’s expertise is in design, manufacture and installing quality systems that require a high-degree of expertise, backed-up with extensive and diverse hands-on application experience.

The EVO24(SD) is a 25-passenger wind farm service vessel propelled by Servogear Ecoflow drive systems.
2. Superior Jetties constructed the new mooring facilities at Rosshaven Marine.
3-5. Fantasea Sunrise began GBR operations from Shute Harbour in September 2011.
6-7. The accommmodation onboard Fantasea Sunrise.
8. The success of the Razerline 870 Hardtop for one AVCG division has seen a second ordered by another port.
9. Kongsberg Maritime'e BigView touchscreen is part of the delivery
10. Hydraulink will support the davits on the RAN’s patrol boats.