Cruise work rounds off busy year for German yards

'Thomson Dream' overhaul at B+V 'Thomson Dream' overhaul at B+V

Cruise ships have been to the fore at the German repair yards during the latter part of 2010, writes Tom Todd.

Rounding off the year in typical style for Blohm + Voss Repair in Hamburg has been the 54,763gt Thomson Dream, in for more than a month of general overhaul work in the yard’s Dock 11.

The work, being completed early December after a stay of more than a month, was extensive. It included a rudder swap, the installation of an additional stern thruster, upgrading of two existing bow thrusters, generators and seawater valves as well as the exchange of the auxiliary engine block and diverse pipe works.

Earlier, the 28,400gt Hapag-Lloyd flagship Europa spent nearly three weeks in Dock 10 because of damage earlier this year to one of her four engines. She was able to operate normally with her other engines until the Hamburg docking when the defective engine was replaced. A hole was reportedly cut in the hull to remove it. During the stay, Europa also underwent conversion of one of her restaurants.

Among recent callers at the other end of the scale has been the 161,192 dwt Japanese Capesize bulker Royal Oasis. She spent several weeks in the yard’s giant Dock 17 for starboard hull collision damage repairs.


Yards rally with late new work

Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven, which reports said had been going through a bit of a dry patch in recent months, is one of several German yards which have rallied late year with new repair and conversion contracts.

The 22,080gt cruise ship veteran Marco Polo arrived just as The Motorship went to press. Reports said she was spending about a month in Dock 11 for routine maintenance, overhaul and class work. She was extensively overhauled at LWB in 2009 when she got new generators and a revamp of galley, kitchens and deck and public areas.

Mainly responsible for the late rally this year however has been an unusual contract to shorten the two 212 m long and 26.7 m wide ro-ro ferries Stena Trader and Stena Traveller while substantially increasing their passenger capacities from 300 to 1,000.

It is the first time that LWB, which has an impressive record of lengthening ships, has shortened them. Stena Traveller is for completion late January while Stena Trader was returned late November. The work amounts to “a comprehensive re-design” the yard said. It started October 1 and included removing mid sections and shortening each ship by 12 m for Canada service.

Parallel superstructure expansion involves adding 31 crew cabins as well as three lounges each with bar and reclining seats for up to 1,000 passengers. That means a new section being built in the fore quarter of decks 7 to 9. This, in turn, affects the ships’ lifesaving systems: two MES slides and two additional life boats were being installed as well as a new elevator and new staircases to cope with the passenger increases.

LWB was also installing a second stern ramp on each ship and modifying existing stern ramps. Both ships were also getting bow doors to allow vehicles to roll straight through, along with five hoistable decks for the additional transport of passenger cars on Deck 3. Finally a third bow thruster was being added to enhance maneuverability and on-board loading systems were being modified and expanded.

New LWB MD Rüdiger Pallentin said: “We won these orders against strong national and international competitors”. He suggested that previous lengthenings for Stena had a lot to do with it and said the shortening work was “technically very challenging and complex”.

Leaving LWB in December was the German Polar research ship Polarstern after repair, maintenance and expedition prep work. The 24 year old, 12,558gt veteran arrived in October. She has been a regular visitor for many years and was last at LWB mid 2010 for nearly a month, when she underwent sand blasting and painting of various deck areas, accomodation facilities and ballast water tanks. Her shaft sealing was replaced and propeller blades overhauled while pipe, valve and pump overhauls or renewals were also carried out.

Also busy lately was LWB neighbour Rickmers Lloyd Dockbetrieb. MD Uwe Beck told The Motorship that as at early November, 90 ships had called this year and 160 individual port repair jobs had been tackled. Among the ships at the yard as he spoke were three Fairplay tugs, the German research ship Komet and several bigger cargo vessels, among them the 7,630 dwt ro-ro ship Sloman Provider.

Among other recent callers was the Russian research ship Akademik Mstislav Keldysh, of Titanic location fame. She was at the yard for about 10 months. Alongside routine but extensive overhaul and class work, a dynamic positioning system was installed to improve the 6,259gt ship’s holding during underwater work. Plans to install additional passenger cabins for expedition cruises were, however, cancelled.

Finally, classification and maintenance work on two of Germany’s best-known research ships, both operated by the IFM Geomar Institute in Kiel, is keeping Kiel’s Lindenau Werft busy late year and into 2011.

The 34 year old, 60m long Poseidon was completing her revamp at the end of November after a month in the yard’s Floating Dock 2. Reports said the six week overhaul could be her last major yard visit. She is due to be replaced in about five years time. Poseidon’s place in the Lindenau dock was taken by the 21 year old, 55 m Alkor, which was staying at the yard even longer and until early next year for hull, engine and machinery overhaul.


Yards lease repair capacity

Three prominent, medium-sized shipyards – MWB Motorenwerke, BREDO in Bremerhaven and Nobiskrug in Rendsburg – have been expanding activity by leasing dock repair capacity in other yards.

Busy MWB reportedly has been among clients which have leased space of late in the 155m long and 12.5m wide former building dock at the now closed SSW Schichau Seebeck Werft in Bremerhaven. MWB reportedly berthed the 81 m Christa Kerstin there for work.

Two accident-damaged cargo ships have been among recent callers at MWB. The 9,981gt container feeder Wec van Ruysdael called after a collision with the 8,397gt heavy cargo ship Paula. Norderwerft in Hamburg repaired Paula while MWB put right what inspectors said was severe damage to the feeder ship’s bulbous bow and bow spoiler.

MWB also repaired bottom damage on the 53,100 dwt bulker Baltic Panther after she ran aground in the Weser Estuary

At the yard until next May was the luxury German cruise windjammer Sea Cloud. The four-master was arriving as The Motorship went to press for upgrading to new SOLAS rules and renovation.

MWB and BREDO shareholder Dieter Petram owns part of the 186,000m2 former SSW site and has been making efforts to convert it into an industrial site. BREDO reportedly has also leased space in the SSW dock, presumably because it too lacks capacity in its four floating docks.

Among ships in for work at BREDO of late have been the 12,502 dwt ro-ro ship Spaarneborg and the 1,812gt ferry Helgoland. Among other things, the Flender-built Spaarneborg got a new 48m long and 4.8m wide hoistable internal ramp from main deck to weather deck. The Helgolandcame in for cooling water system repairs.

The third yard to seek expanded repair capability is Nobiskrug in Rendsburg on the Kiel Canal. Now a building hub of note for private yachts, the yard is keeping open its traditional repair options by leasing Dock 8A at HDW Shipyard along the waterway in Kiel. That is in addition to Nobiskrug’s long-used Dock V at the Kiel yard.

Nobiskrug spokeswoman Katharina Schreiber told The Motorship the dock in Kiel had been leased “because our docks in Rendsburg are filled with yachts. Another reason is that we can also take ships in the big dock in Kiel that are too large for the docks in Rendsburg”, she said.

The comment made clear that despite the yacht boom, Nobiskrug will stay true to its traditional Scandinavian and Baltic passenger ship and ferry customers as well as to the repair sector in general. Proof of that is the 30,029 dwt Offen container ship Santa Francesca, re-activated recently in Dock 8A after being laid up in Kiel for 18 months because of the recession. The 29,700dwt Santa Giorgina also docked.

Schreiber said Nobiskrug was also still carrying out yacht repairs, conversions, refits and re-engine and restoration jobs. She stressed: “We are making efforts to acquire new yacht conversion or repair jobs”.



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