German yards stay active on a wide front

28 Feb 2014
Smooth work on ‘Thomson Celebration’, says B+V

Smooth work on ‘Thomson Celebration’, says B+V

German repair yards went into the New Year with a varied and interesting spread of work, but, as Tom Todd writes, it is the smaller facilities which are again drawing most of the attention.

Hamburg’s Blohm + Voss Repair started 2014 with work still underway on a ship which had been expected to leave in 2013. Still at the yard in January was the 20,800dwt FPSO PetroJarl Banff. She arrived in September 2012 for life extension and conversion and had been due to leave in the third quarter of 2013.

Yard spokesman Michael Brasse told The Motorship she would now probably stay until spring. He said there were “still things to do on the ship - and that’s good for us”, an indication that additional work on the ship had been contracted.

Also at the yard into 2014 was the 47,980dwt bulk carrier Tonghai, which arrived in December for rudder repairs, class work and general repairs. B+V has given no completion date.

The usual winter cruise ship repair jobs were meanwhile evident in the shape of the 71,304gt AIDAsol. She was docked for external hull cleaning, conservation, class work and general repairs. The 33,933gt Thomson Celebration came for modernisation works, which lasted a month into December. These included hull cleaning and conservation and the overhaul of her bow and stern thrusters. New balconies were installed on one of the 29-year-old cruise ship’s decks along with some new cabins on another deck to replace a cinema. Cabin modernisation work was also carried out along with class work and general repairs.

Mr Brasse told The Motorship everything had gone smoothly with the work on both AIDAsol and Thomson Celebration and on the 28,890gt Europa, which preceded them for work including Azipod maintenance.

Much of the big ship repair and conversion work currently is concentrated up the road in Bremerhaven. At Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven (LWB) managing director Rüdiger Pallentin reported smooth running in the sector. He told The Motorship the stay of the 82,505gt cruise ship Arcadia for about three weeks up to mid December had been “gripping but very successful” for both the yard and owner P&O.

The Arcadia work, in the yard’s giant Kaiserdock 11, was a challenge given the time frame allotted and ranged from a new deck house to renewed pipe systems and pod drive overhaul. Mr Pallentin said however “everything went well”.

Reporting what he termed a “super” achievement he also said that the two cruise ships which preceded Arcadia at LWB, the 28,551gt Boudicca and the 38,600gt AIDAcara, had been completed “dead on time”. Their stays were also short and packed with work.

LWB had just six days to tackle Boudicca, the fourth Fred. Olsen ship to undergo technical renovation at LWB since 2011. Work included not only routine tasks like seacocks, below-surface hull coating, modification of and repairs to piping systems, but also stabiliser repairs and the replacement of the ship’s bow thruster as well as extensive repairs to the ship’s rudder.

The conversion of the two 93m platform supply ships Island Centurion and Island Captain into well-service vessels continued into the New Year at LWB. Work had originally been due for completion in 2013 but The Motorship understands it is now likely to be the first quarter of 2014 and will be followed by equipment testing.

 Lloyd Werft’s co-operation with neighbouring associate German Dry Docks (GDD) was said to be doing well. The occupation of GDD’s six docks was “good to very good”, Mr Pallentin reported. In an interesting additional comment he said the ship engine division of MWB, the third partner in GDD after LWB and Rickmers Lloyd, was being increasingly involved but gave no initial details.

 Recent GDD work included the guarantee docking of the 107.6m offshore construction vessel Rem Installer, completed in Norway in June as the first of three identical sisters.

Among recent visitors to Bremerhavener Dock (BREDO) has been the 15,160dwt oil and chemical tanker Levana for five weeks of work which included the installation of a Saacke LMB scrubber in a much enlarged funnel.

Saacke claimed the scrubber would pay for itself after about two years in terms of fuel consumption and said it was “a more economical alternative to a fuel switchover”. Gerhard Heißenbüttel, Head of Saacke’s Maritime Competence Centre said “refitting existing ships to run on alternative fuels is either impossible or extremely difficult”.

BREDO MD Dirk Harms reported that docks were “well booked” as the New Year got underway. He told The Motorship that BREDO had commissioned BVT in Bremen to do the shipbuilding work on Levana while its personnel tackled the scrubber installation. Mr Harms said BVT also manufactured the scrubber plant casing in Bremen and transported it to Bremerhaven for the job

BREDO said that as a result of the Levana job it was now able to offer customers certification for the installation of GRP (glass fibre reinforced plastic) piping. While the ship was berthed, a B-Sky (Korea) ballast water treatment plant was also installed and regular docking and class work carried out.

The 12,975dwt general cargo ship Svenja also called at BREDO for regular class work. As the New Year started “the yard’s docks were well occupied with naval and other general cargo ships”, Mr Harms reported. In comments to The Motorship he added: “as long as the temperatures don’t plummet, as they did last year, and make order acquisition difficult, we are extremely optimistic as far as enquiries and bookings are concerned”.

Boding well for further work, if not at BREDO then another Bremerhaven yard, were the three Russian research ships berthed in the Fischereihafen in early January – the Akademik Shatskiy, Akademik Nemchinov and Akademik Lazarev.

Mr Harms noted that a further Russian research ship, Akademik Nalivkin, had been docked at BREDO in November for general class and dock work but told The Motorship that as of 6 January none of the others had been booked in. The hope that BREDO might benefit will however have been there, because the yard has docked a number of ice-breaking Russian research vessels in the recent past. The 81.8m seismic research ship Akademik Lazarev was there in 2012 for fire damage repair.

Naval callers included the auxiliary tender Werra and the109m Class 120 training frigate Ex-Köln. The latter underwent routine safety checks and hull inspection by personnel from Elsflether Werft, which has no docking facilities of its own and often uses BREDO docks. Ex-Köln is used as a training and exercise platform by the Bundesmarine and was towed by tug from her base in Neustadt through the Kiel Canal to Bremerhaven

Being built up to April at Bremen’s increasingly emergent BVT Shipyard was the new 15m-long stern section of the AG Ems car/passenger ferry Ostfriesland. It will replace an existing, shorter stern on the currently 78.7m long ferry.

The conversion has attracted a lot of attention because it will lengthen the ship to 92.7m and provide not only a bigger sundeck for 1200 passengers but also the space for the installation of two 6-cylinder Wärtsilä 20DF dual-fuel gensets and the same company’s LNGPac fuel system.

The dual-fuel engines will run primarily on LNG as the main fuel, but has the capacity to switch to conventional liquid fuels if necessary. The LNGPac comprises onboard LNG bunkering, storage tanks, and gas handling equipment with related safety and automation systems. The scope of supply also includes Wärtsilä’s patented Cold Recovery System, which utilises the latent heat of LNG in air conditioning systems, thus reducing the amount of electricity consumed in cooling compressors.

After completion of the seven week conversion/retrofit, costing some €13 million, Ostfriesland will go back into service in June between Emden and Borkum. Officials say she will be Europe’s first dual fuel diesel-LNG-electric island ferry. Significant operational savings and an increase in overall vessel efficiency are promised with officials saying the new engine configuration will reduce CO2 emissions by 20% and Nox, SOX and particle emissions by more than 90%.

The Ostfriesland conversion is not the only one motivated by more stringent upcoming emission and other demands on ship operation. Schiffswerft Diedrich is busy with the conversion of a string of older ferries designed to extend their lives and make them compliant with new national and EU safety and stability rules due in from 2018.

Diedrich managing director Jens Schaedler told The Motorship “the re-equipping of the ships is a really complex issue”. He reported the job was nowhere near done yet and more ferries were due in soon. Already completed were Baltrum Iand Baltrum IIof Reederei Baltrum Linie as well as the Frisia II,Frisia V and Frisia X of the Reederei Norden Frisia.

The work on the other ships and ships yet to be converted seems likely to be similar to that on the latest and biggest converted ships, the 59,9m Frisia II and the 61.3m Frisia V. They went back into service in December, Mr Schaedler reported.

 It involved the installation of Fogtec water mist fire-extinguishing systems - said to be cheaper and more flexible than expensive sprinkler plants and just as safe. The conversions also included additional weather-proof sliding doors, new windows, relocated ventilation inlets and outlets and additional rescue equipment.

The 35-year-old Frisia II underwent more extensive work than Frisia V, including a major class renewal as well as the already-mentioned safety and stability modifications. The yard said she also got saloon, staircase and toilet renovation. As wall as conversion to the new standards, Frisia V, the oldest ship in the Norden-Frisia fleet at 48, underwent routine repairs and maintenance including propeller and bow thruster inspection and underwater hull painting.

 Due in spring for the same treatment are the Langeoog III, Langeoog IV, Langeoog II and Langeoog I as well as yet another two from Norden Frisia - Frisia VI and Frisia IX, Mr Schaedler said.

A recent study pointed up the continuing significance of lucrative private yacht and small ship work in Germany. It said 27 yacht and boat firms booked repair, maintenance or conversion worth €188 million in 2012 - €23 million more than in 2011. The value of such work has risen by 50% since 2010 and when the 2013 figures are in they will surely reveal another whopping increase as yacht overhaul parallels the growth in yacht newbuilding.

Two private yachts have been at Blohm + Voss Repair since October and were still there in early January. There was no word on how long the 126m Octopus would remain. Indeed, as usual, there was no official information about anything to do with her. Unofficial reports however said she was undergoing a refit, which seemed logical. Also at the yard was a second private yacht, the 133m Al Mirqab. She was believed to be undergoing overhaul and maintenance until about June and some reports said the work included conversion.

Lürssen Group subsidiary Kroeger Werft was reported overhauling the 54m yacht Fortunate Sun late 2013 after completion of the summer season. Others, like the 73.5m yachts Sapphire and Mogambo were also back in Germany and were being refitted at Nobiskrug in Rendsburg, which built them in 2011 and 2012.

The yard’s Myriam Thoma-Hargens told The Motorship that Nobiskrug’s Privinvest Group partner yard Lindenau in Kiel was completing a one-month overhaul of the 60.8m German research ship Poseidon as the New Year turned.

The 23m tug Noorman was at the yard for rudder and propeller repair as well as coating and the installation of access hatches. Lindenau also repaired the rudder on the 109.8m general cargo ship Sea Discovery. Earlier Lindenau modified the 168.7m project cargo carrier HHL New York. The work included an unusual weight test of the ship’s two 400 ton cranes.

Elsewhere a slew of specialist merchant vessel jobs were tackled by the busy Meidericher Schiffswerft in Duisburg as it marked 115 years in the business.

The yard converted the 47m long sheerlegs vessel Ajax. The job involved the modernisation of the vessel’s Schottel rudder propeller and the replacement of analogue control gear with digital bus technology. Ajax also underwent routine maintenance, overhaul, coating and “extensive” electrical work.

The yard installed new Volvo Penta engines of type D16C-CMH and Dong type DMTP 7500 2 gearings on the 15m long and 9m wide push boat Rhenus Datteln. Another project was the conversion of the bow thruster on the 103m long inland motor ship Silke Diane from a two-channel to a four-channel unit. The yard also installed a four-channel bow thruster on an inland push boat/lighter vessel.

Meidericher Schiffswerft carried out restoration works on the historic crane ship Fendel 147, now more than 90 years old. A second historic ship, the 75m paddle steamer Oscar Huber also underwent general overhaul.

In Kiel, the small Gebr Friedrich Schiffswerft docked the elegant 28.5m excursion passenger ship Merkur II after she took on water.

Juliane Peter, a spokeswoman for owner Adler Schiffe told The Motorship there had been “a small leak which was quickly repaired”. Local reports however said that DGzRS sea rescue units had been alerted and the fire brigade had to pump her out and stabilise her before she was towed to the yard by a sea rescue cruiser. The 49-year-old former motor yacht only joined the Adler fleet in 2011.

The owners of Topaz Installer were reticent to provide any details of the work undertaken on the 4,904gt cable layer when she called at the Neue Jadewerft in Wilhelmshaven. The 88.2m vessel docked at the Lürssen Group facility for repair and conversion which was not specified. Topaz Installer used to be a frequent visitor to Wilhelmshaven for equipment work as Team Oman.

Volkswerft in Stralsund is still waiting for a new owner in the wake of the break-up of the P+S Yards Group in 2012. While completing what could be its last two newbuildings it is also still clearly open for repair and maintenance business. The 62-year-old sail training ship Greif docked for technical overhaul and inspection, part of her latest class work. The underwater hull of the 41m brigantine was cleaned and recoated and new anodes were attached.

Towed in for routine overhaul was the 37m ferry Poetenitz after her longest journey ever - from Travemünde through the Kiel Canal to Hamburg for a routine overhaul. With no suitable yards in Lübeck since the closure of Flender Werft in 2002, local authorities now put such work out to tender. Theodor Buschman Werft won.

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