German yards do well with very different ships

Neptun production booms Neptun production booms

Two more orders for luxury inland cruise ships have been won by Meyer subsidiary Neptun Werft in Warnemuende, bringing the number ordered since 2000 to an incredible 45, writes Tom Todd.

The latest two 134.9m and 11.45 m wide Longships, drawing about 1.6m, are for European service. They have been ordered by the yard’s biggest customer, Swiss-based Viking River Cruises and are still conditional on financing, Meyer Werft’s Peter Hackmann told The Motorship. Financing has in the past been provided by Switzerland’s UBS Bank and the German Government’s IPEX Bank in Frankfurt.

In July Neptun delivered its 30th inland cruise ship since 2000. 16 ships have so far been delivered to Viking and Hackmann said on 2 October. 15 more remained on order for the Swiss owner.

The Longships carry 190 passengers in 96 cabins. They are driven by unspecified Diesel-electric hybrid propulsion systems providing 21km/h. Solar panels feed power into onboard electric networks.

The Longships are a boon to parent Meyer Werft, seeking to fill spare capacity and increase productivity to cut prices and win new work in the wake of disappointing order losses. It has already transferred construction of a research ship and at least one Longship to Papenburg to fill gaps.

Doing remarkably well with a very different and flexible pallet of newbuilds is Russian-owned Nordic Yards in Wismar and Warnemuende. It was on a survival knife-edge not all that long ago. The group has just begun construction of two multi-purpose rescue and salvage vessels for delivery to Russia’s Transport Ministry in 2015. The tough, 88m long and 18.5m newbuilds will see wide-ranging service on Russia’s northern Polar seas routes.

Taking shape alongside them is an 80m x 32m wind turbine service ship with jack-up installation capability for Denmark’s DBB. That newbuilding is for delivery in the second quarter of next year. Booming Nordic Yards is also building a 2,500t deckhouse for the new Russian icebreaker LK-25 and continuing to make money building offshore wind-turbine transformer platforms.

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