Retrofits spice up German yard work

Boxship flurry at Blohm + Voss Repair Boxship flurry at Blohm + Voss Repair

Routine dockings in quite a few German yards of late have been complemented by complex scrubber, ballast water plant and LNG retrofits as owners move to meet new environmental regulations, reports Tom Todd

Despite the loss of expected conversion work on two Scandlines ferries, B + V Repair’s big docks have remained busy, particularly with regular container ship visitors. Due in as The Motorship went to press was the 80,115dwt Rio Blanco, last of a trio of container ships calling for routine drydocking, external hull cleaning and conservation, general repairs and class work.

The Rio Blanco docking included unspecified work on bow and stern thrusters. The other two ships were the 80,225dwt Rio Bravo and the 80,293dwt Rio Madeira. The latter underwent additional work on bow and stern thrusters as well as rudder and propeller work. The container ships CSAV Suape of 65,700dwt and the 17,892dwt OOCL Rauma also came for routine drydocking, and, in the case of OOCL Rauma, for paintwork and minor steel repairs. The 12,501 general cargo ship Lone drydocked for shaft seal overhaul.

Cruise ship customers included the popular 6,752gt Bremen for routine docking, stabilisers and bow thruster overhaul, general repairs, class work and the renovation of her panorama lounge bar.

Cruise highlights included the two-week visit of the 90,901gt Queen Elizabeth for her first docking since entering service in 2010. The work reportedly cost €30 million and included overhaul of two ABB pods powered by six MaK M43 Diesels from Caterpillar in Rostock. QE also became the first of the Cunard queens to get scrubber technology. QM2 and QV will reportedly also get scrubbers when they next dock for service at B+V.

Other work on the Queen Elizabeth included painting and the renewal of refrigeration lagging in the cold storage rooms and the replacement of a generator. More single cabins were added.

The 69,203gt AIDAluna called at B+V for 10 days of docking cleaning, rudder, propeller, pipe and class work as well as general repairs. She also got scrubber technology.

Due into Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven (LWB) in late September for conversion lasting until early December was the 44,588gt cruise ship Artania. The work will last 76 days and was “considerably more comprehensive” than the earlier conversion of the ship in 2011, the yard said. LWB MD Ruediger Pallentin said it was “very demanding in every respect” and was won against stiff competition.

The yard believed its previous work on the ship was a main reason for her coming back now. LWB said it knows the ship like the back of its hand. It converted the former Royal Princess into Artemis as early as 2006, upgraded her technology in 2010 and then converted her in 2011 from Artemis to Artania. All of this, the yard said, had laid the groundwork for Lloyd Werft, with its detailed knowledge of the technical aspects of the vessel, to win the latest contract.

The ship was going into the giant Kaiserdock 11 for 60 of the 76 days and was undergoing sea trials for the rest of the time. “So the schedule is tight” said project manager André Stegmann.

The main work is the replacement of the ship’s engines. Her old six-cylinder Pielstick 6 PC4-2L Diesels are being replaced by four more-efficient Type 12V32 main engines from Wärtsilä. Four intermediate transmission units are being installed and the Artania will get a new Wärtsilä Type 8L32 auxiliary Diesel.

New suppressors will be installed, the entire on-board fresh water system modernised and an extensive programme of steel repairs carried out. Balconies will be installed on 152 cabins. The yard will also carry out extensive annual drydocking including rudder and propeller maintenance prior to engine sea trials in November.

Another regular visitor, the 118m Polarstern, is due back at LWB for 15 days in October. The yard said the latest work will include major workshop stern thruster overhaul and stern strengthening to take a seabed drilling unit.

The 118m Polarstern was at LWB earlier this yearfor repair, overhaul and maintenance and her operator, the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), said she will make quite a few further yard stopovers before being replaced, probably in 2019.

Asked why LWB had done this work for 32 years, the AWI’s Sina Loeschke said “entry and exit draughts of about 11.2m and dock depth of about 10.5m dramatically restrict the number of alternative yards”. On top of that “we value the yard’s competent, practised and flexible” work, she said.

Polarstern has four Kloeckner-Deutz RBV 8 M 540 engines of total 14,116kW and the work earlier this year at LWB included the overhaul of two of those engines. Her 4.2m diameter propellers were overhauled, shafts were drawn and overhauled, gaskets renewed and the ship’s port stern tube bushes and a bow thruster were overhauled. A ballast water treatment system was installed and standard repairs and conservation as well as blasting were carried out.

Mr Pallentin said Lloyd Werft’s order books had already been well-filled before the contracts but “now we are chock-full. There’s just no room for any more at the moment. He also told The Motorship there were some “promising projects” already in the pipeline for 2015, but that it was too early to say anything about them.

“Our main target now is to install a big floating dock for post-Panamax ships in Bremerhaven’s Kaiserhafen within the next two years so that we can continue to accommodate all the ships in our docks”. Mr Pallentin added: “sometimes the yard is simply too small”, something demonstrated just this year when LWB had to sub-contract the 6,471gt adventure cruise ship National Geographic Explorer to Muetzelfeldt Werft in Cuxhaven. LWB had scheduled a wet docking, but it was found that a dry docking was needed after all and no Bremerhaven docks were available.

Work on the ship included the replacement of air conditioning units, pipe renewal and the installation of cold water equipment (chillers) in the air conditioning plant. Additional work included the design, pre-manufacture and installation of a boiler room, steelworks in both port and starboard ballast tanks and the elimination of cracks in the superstructures.

The yard did, however, carry out work as scheduled on the similarly named former cruise ship Explorer - now a very special floating university. It was the first visit to a German yard for the 24,318gt former Olympia Explorer. She underwent routine classification work, repairs to her superstructures and engine plant as well as a number of improvements above and below deck.

Only eight days were available for extensive work on the 76,998gt Mein Schiff 1 (ex Celebrity Galaxy), which was converted at Lloyd Werft five years ago.

Along with routine class renewal and maintenance work, the ship’s shaft and rudder plant was checked and both stabilisers and five bow and stern thrusters overhauled and tank steel repairs done. The ship was also painted. The biggest and most challenging job, according to LWB, however, was extensive work on the air conditioning system involving the exchange of two chillers as well as foundation and pipe work.

Scrubber installation work has also proved an earner of late for LWB associate and neighbour German Dry Docks (GDD) which retrofitted the 17,400 dwt con-ro ship Timca in its Dock V in July.

The yard installed an Alfa Laval PureSOx scrubber plant which serves both main as well as both auxiliary engines. Transfennica said it is one of the largest marine exhaust scrubbing systems on the market.

Timca is one of five further sister ships Transfennica said were being retrofitted after it tested the scrubbing technology on lead sister ship Plyca. Reports in July said GDD was also retro-fitting a second ship and had a good chance of bagging the remaining three.

The GDD’s Stephanie Thielebeule told The Motorship Transfennica’s parent company Spliethof was also considering a scrubber installation programme on 14 S-Class heavy-load ships from this autumn until the end of 2015. But there was no word from GDD on whether it might be in the running for any of that work.

GDD reported a wide range of other ships at GDD facilities for docking and repair work. They included the 167m and 176m self loaders Stones and Beltnes as well as the 75m ro-ro ship Parida, the 89.1m Bundesmarine corvette Oldenburg and the 130.5m frigate Karlsruhe. Expected at the yard as The Motorship went to press were the 94.8m German research ship Maria S. Merian, the 95m general cargo ship Fiducia and the 162m chemical/oil tanker Apatura.

Bremerhavener Dock, BREDO, has also been involved in scrubber retrofitting. It has already installed a Saacke LMB scrubber on the 15,160dwt, 140m oil/chemical tanker Levana. That ship also got a ballast water treatment plant before she left the yard, something else which is now increasingly in demand.

BREDO’s Michael von Haefen told The Motorship in late July that a string of other vessels was at the yard for regular docking and classwork. They included the 11,957dwt, 134m general cargo ship Kampen, the 3,890dwt, 95.6m LPG ship Omega Gas, the 11,497dwt, 141.2 multi-purpose container ship Aila, the 16,921dwt, 161.35m container ship Norderoog, the 15,169dwt 139.95m chemical/oil tanker Lemonia, the 2114dwt, 78.29m tug Nordic and the 11,662dwt, 149m Alana.

Germany’s newest fisheries research ship, the 28.8m Clupea, was at BREDO in late July but at the bidding of Elsflether Werft, which often leases BREDO docks because it has none of its own. It was not immediately known what work Elsflether was carrying out on the €11.7 million Clupea, which only entered service in 2011. But Mr von Haefen reported BREDO was tackling some underwater work, including the replacement of anodes and anchor chains.

He singled out some other special jobs at BREDO this year - like two weeks of engine and hull maintenance as well as interior renovation on the 4,333gt cruise ship Sea Dream 1. That ‘small exclusive‘ ship is a regular overhaul visitor to BREDO. Another job mentioned was five year class work on the 12,501 general cargo ship Lone - which appeared to be spending quite some time in yards this year, given her visit of late to B+V Repair in Hamburg.

Worthy of note, finally, is the completion, due in November, of Germany’s first conversion of an island passenger/car ferry to LNG propulsion. The 78.7m Ostfriesland was undergoing the work mid to late September, Corina Habben at owner AG Ems told The Motorship. She said AG Ems hoped to get her back by the end of November for renewed service expected about Christmas.

The BVT Brenn und Verformungstechnik Bremen shipyard was mounting the new 40.05m long, 12m wide and about 2.8m deep stern section. AG Ems spokeswoman Corina Habben told The Motorship the section came complete with LNG tank and the main elements of its two 6-cylinder 20DF generating sets, all from Wärtsilä, which is supplying the ship’s LNGPac fuel system.

The work includes the installation of double rudder Schottel pods developing 15.5 knots, and was taking about seven weeks. Earlier reports said it was costing €13 million. The completion is later than originally planned because the owners decided to utilise the ship through the summer.

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