Lloyd Werft spells out wide-ranging future

AIDAvita - one of four for LWB with more to come AIDAvita - one of four for LWB with more to come

Lloyd Werft Bremerhafen (LWB) has ended months of silence to reveal it will convert the US cruise ship 'Crystal Symphony' in autumn and overhaul Germany’s biggest research icebreaker, 'Polarstern', after a year in which it handled four cruise ships, reports Germany correspondent Tom Todd.

The shipyard was one of Germany’s leading repair and conversion specialists until it became part of Malaysia’s Genting Group in late 2015. It now says it will “no longer do classical cargo ship repair” and has for the first time officially revealed work earlier this year on four cruise ships.

It acknowledged that the 42,289gt AIDAvita, the 12,500gt Minerva, the 6,471gt National Geographic Explorer and the 15,000gt Hamburg all called for repair, maintenance and class work and said they had “determined the course of events” at LWB and “ensured a good workload”.

LWB has given no official details of activity or future plans since last December when it said it will become a yard for high value ships and concentrate on the newbuilding and conversion of yachts, special ships and cruise ships. It also spoke of “far-reaching structural changes” and job cuts - which had meanwhile created what LWB described as “a trim and powerful” workforce.

The developments all follow the surprise reversal in March last year of owner Genting’s original plans to build cruise ships in Bremerhaven and its creation of the three-yard MV Werften in east Germany to build cruise ships. That unexpected decision left Bremerhaven officials angry and the future of LWB uncertain.

Now LWB says the conversion of the 51,044gt five-star Crystal Symphony will be between September 19 and October 20 and that work would begin on the journey to Bremerhaven from Lisbon.  

The ship will get two new restaurants and the technical pre-requisites for the introduction of free WLAN. Some penthouse suites will be converted, cutting passengers from 922 to 848.

The autumn docking of the 12,614gt Polarstern will be the second this year for the big research ship, which is being replaced within a few years by Polarstern II.

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