Minerva conversion coup as LWB work booms

05 Dec 2011
‘Minerva’ – headed for major upgrade

‘Minerva’ – headed for major upgrade

The 12,499gt British cruise ship ‘Minerva’ is now at Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven (LWB) for a multi-million pound conversion lasting more than two months - one of the longest jobs for some time at the German yard.

Tom Todd writes: LWB managing director Rüdiger Pallentin told The Motorship the conversion, along with a rush of other new end-of year repair and conversion work, represents a mark of confidence at a time when “orders are few and far between. German shipbuilding can unfortunately not share in the successes reported by other economic sectors”, he added.

Swan Hellenic, part of the All Leisure Group, said the 350 passenger Minerva will undergo “a visionary multi-million pound upgrade”. She will spend 83 days up to 27 February at LWB being converted for operation with Arctica Adventure & Cruise Shipping in the increasingly popular Polar adventure sector.

Among the technical work on the 135.1m long ship in the Kaiserdock 1 is the installation of a new double crankshaft plant and propellers from Rolls-Royce. The change is so that a fuel-saving Promas integrated propeller and rudder system from R-R, designed to optimise water flow, can be installed between the propellers and rudder blades.

In addition, the ship is getting a new Voith inline stern thruster of type 1000-300 to improve manoeuvrability in confined spaces. The yard said it was concentrating on above-surface changes but that maintenance and repair work would also be carried out on the hull below the waterline.

Internally, public areas and cabins are being rebuilt. Deck 9 is being enlarged and widened and will get a new forward panoramic observation lounge, while on Deck 8, 20 suites are being enlarged and balconies added. LWB said 45 tons of aluminium are being used in those jobs. The stern deck is also being lengthened to provide more passenger space.

Two cruise ships are in dock at LWB until 17 December. The 25,518gt Albatros is in for installation of a new fuel-saving bulbous bow and repairs. The 28,856gt Amadea is docked for stabiliser and crankshaft overhaul and steel and coating work. The 22,080gt Marco Polo has just left after crankshaft inspection and the 28,613gt Black Watch after stabiliser overhaul, lifeboat facility renewal and other work.

In January LWB expects the wind energy installation ship Victoria Mathias. That self-propelled 100m x 40m offshore platform will be equipped for work off Heligoland. The yard has just finished the conversion of another specialist vessel, the 17,341gt heavy-lift Combi Dock 1V into the offshore support ship OIG Giant II and sees such offshore big ship work as the way forward for LWB.

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