Variety marks flexible German newbuilding

03 Sep 2014
More Breakaway Plus work highlights German sector

More Breakaway Plus work highlights German sector

Meyer Werft’s delivery of its biggest-ever cruise ship and its mind-boggling €1.6 billion order for two more 164,600gt Breakaway Plus newbuilds highlight German newbuilding this autumn: but they are not the only highlights in an active year which has seen a variety of orders and deliveries as the dust settles on another round of shipyard ownership changes, as Tom Todd reports.

Due for delivery this autumn by Meyer was RCI’s 167,800gt Quantum of the Seas - the yard’s biggest ship so far – and she will be followed next spring by Anthem of the Seas. The sisters are 348m long, 41.4m wide and have 18 decks. Propulsion is Diesel-electric with two ABB Azipod XO thrusters of 20.5MW and four 3,500kW bow thrusters. Speed is 22 knots. Wärtsilä Hamworthy was delivering four hybrid scrubbers.

Meyer’s latest NCL order for two more Breakaway Plus newbuilds meanwhile brings to four the number now on order for that owner. The newest are being handed over in the second quarter of 2018 and fourth quarter of 2019. Export credit finance has been secured through the KfW IPEX Bank.

The two newbuilds will follow the first two Breakaway Plus ships - Norwegian Escape, for delivery in October next year, and Norwegian Bliss, scheduled for handover in March 2017. When the first steel was cut in February for Norwegian Escape, yard chief Bernard Meyer said the ships were special, not only because of their size, but also because of NCL’s continuing confidence in Meyer. In fact by 2019 the yard will have delivered no fewer than14 ships to that owner.

The newest 4,200-passenger ships are 324m long. No details of engine configurations have yet been revealed, but they will have speeds of 22.5 knots and boast eco-friendly scrubbers – five each on Escape and Bliss. Meyer reported 18 decks and crews of 1,640.

Early this year Meyer delivered the 145,655gt Norwegian Getaway and, in 2013, sister Norwegian Breakaway. They are for 4,000 passengers and are a little longer at 325.7m. Four MAN Diesels Type 12V48/60CR and 14V48/60CR provide 2 x 14,400kW and 2 x 16,800kW for a total 62,400kW per ship. ABB generators serve two Azipods of 35,000kW and speed is 21.5 knots.

Indicating that the latest ships may not vary too much from that formula, NCL CEO Kevin Sheehan said that Getaway and Breakaway had “proven themselves as industry game-changers” and added it was “only natural that we build on their success”.

Since The Motorship last reported on German newbuilding, the yard has added a surprise second order from Asia’s Star Cruises for another 150,000gt cruise ship. It’s another morale booster for Meyer, which has lost orders to Asian yards in the recent past.

The second 330m long, 24 knot Star ship carries 3,300 passengers and is due for delivery late 2017. The first, booked last October, is for delivery in autumn 2016. They are costing around €700 million apiece and KfW export credits totalling €600 million have been secured.

Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) was rounding off this year with the handover of two newbuildings - CMAL’s Loch Seaforth and Amazon Conqueror.

The 116m Loch Seaforth was being handed over in September. She is a complex ro-pax ferry with a tough Wärtsilä 8L32 main engine built to carry up to 700 passengers. Because of her high-value, modern design and construction, she is expected to operate round-the-clock and replace two older ferry ships.

FSG won the Scottish order over stiff international competition and its managing director Peter Sierk listed what he sees as the main reasons for the yard’s world success in ro-ro building over two decades. He said they included delivery and deadline reliability, high cost effectiveness, outstanding price-performance ratio, top-class shipbuilding quality, low operational costs and low emissions.

“We succeed when we develop individual and innovative solutions for our customers. Our strength lies in the fact that we understand the requirements of the customer, make intensive efforts to try to meet them and then develop a tailor-made solution”, Mr Sierk said.

Being delivered in October was the second of two innovative oil and gas seismic ships for WesternGeco. The 127m long Amazon Conqueror follows sister Amazon Warrior delivered in May. Mr Sierk described the newbuilds, which have Wärtsilä 9L32 main engines, as “the most important for us in specialised shipbuilding for the past 20 years” and said they were a vote of confidence from WesternGeco.

FSG added: “As far as efficiency, comfort, reliability and durability are concerned, the Western Geco ships meet the highest demands and guarantee safe operation anywhere on the planet, including the Polar regions and, even there, in the most inhospitable of weather conditions”.

Despite diversification, FSG is not ignoring the ro-ro ships on which it has built its success in the past. The yard’s first order this year for a ro-ro ferry with LNG propulsion amply demonstrates that.

From SeaRoad in Tasmania, the new order is FSG’s first from Australia as well as being its first gas fuelled ship. SeaRoad said the ship was for delivery late 2016/early 2017. FSG spoke of the third quarter of 2016 and said building would start in September 2015. The yard noted it had been working for four years with SeaRoad on developing the concept.

The 181.52m long and 26.6m wide newbuild will be of 25,000gt and boast 1960 lane-metres with two 1,000kW bow thrusters. She will have two dual-fuel MaK 8M 46 DF main engines and two dual-fuel MaK 6M34 DF gensets. Primary fuel will be LNG – from mobile tanks loaded as needed and lashed.

FSG reported the newbuild will boast “particularly flexible cargo carrying capability and be in a position to transport containers, including reefer units, trailers, cars and hazardous cargo as well as live animals – for example cattle. She will be the first ro-ro ferry in the world able to transport reefer containers and hazardous cargo side by side”.

Another ground-breaking offshore order this year came from Norwegian-based Siem Offshore for two 158m long well intervention newbuilds for delivery February and July 2016. Mr Sierk said that order “proves that we have established our position in this high tech market” – a reference to spectacular earlier orders for ships which have already given the yard a firm toehold in the offshore market.

One order was the seismic ships from Western Geco. The other was for two 151.5 m multi-functional, heavy-lift ships for Holland’s RollDock. Rolldock Storm was handed over in June and followed sister Rolldock Star late last year. Those flexible ships carry cranes capable of 700 ton combined lift.

Both of FSG’s new orders this year - from Australia and Siem Offshore - will have brought relief to FSG after a temporary order lull and short time working threat at the beginning of the year. FSG now reportedly has work through to mid 2016.

Nordic Yards continues to concentrate on offshore related production, mainly converter platforms, but remains firmly in the newbuilding mould with work still in hand. The 80m offshore jackup installation and service ship Wind Server was being delivered to DBB in Denmark. Still under build were icebreaking rescue and salvage ships for Russia for delivery next year.

The addition of the bankrupt Volkswerft in Stralsund to its existing Baltic Coast yards in Wismar and Warnemuende will now ease the offshore workload for Nordic, as the book closes, now with some optimism, on the unfortunate P&S Werften Group.

Nordic’s interest in Volkswerft had long been known and was finally accepted in May with the Russian-owned group taking over on 1 June. Nordic’s executive vice president Juergen Wollny quelled fears that Volkswerft’s extensive shipbuilding skills might now be lost – unlike those now being well-used by new German owners Luerssen at the other former P&S yard, Peene-Werft in Wolgast.

Volkswerft was this year starting to build offshore transformer platform components for Nordic Yards, which claims to lead the world in the sector. Mr Wollny said however: "Public statements to the effect that no ships could be built at Stralsund are highly questionable. Here we must come down on the side of our shipbuilding colleagues. Stralsund has designed, built and delivered some very complex vessels over the years. The present difficulties are rather the consequences of mismanagement by the earlier operators and not of defects in manufacture.”

Apropos of which, the last four P&S ships built in Stralsund have now finally left the yard. The195m, 3,000 lane-metre ro-ro newbuilds Ark Dania and Ark Germania have gone to DFDS. That followed improvements by MAN and Flender to the latter’s twin MAN 8S40ME-B9 Diesel 19,540kW propulsion system after idling vibrations were detected following sea trials. Scandlines’ two almost-finished and much-discussed overweight 169.5m ferries Berlin and Copenhagen have now also gone for completion elsewhere.

J.J. Sietas in Hamburg is now too Russian-owned, after its two-year bankruptcy saga ended this year. It was sold to Hamburg firm Terraline, a subsidiary of Russia’s Pella Shipyards, and renamed Pella Sietas. “We look forward to building new ships” says the company’s new website and Terraline predicted orders for smaller, sophisticated vessels like tugs, icebreakers and supply ships at Sietas for at least eight years.

Just a week after being sold to the Russians, Sietas handed over what would appear to be, at least for now, its last big newbuilding. The 140m long offshore wind farm transport and installation jack-up Aeolus, of 14,800gt, boasts DP2 technology. Drawing 5.7m she has Diesel-electric propulsion comprising four 4,500kW main engines and a propulsion power of 10,000kW as well as two thrusters fore and aft.

When Aeolus was first ordered, the contract was reported worth about €100 million. But her cost is believed to have risen considerably since then to more than €120 million.

In November, Bremerhaven repair and conversion specialist Lloyd Werft (LWB) will deliver its first newbuilding since 2010 - when it completed the 17,300gt heavy load carrier Combi Dock 111 – the last of three.

The 33,000gt Ceona Amazon, is a 199.4m pipe-layer. Her hull was built for LWB at Crist in Poland. When she leaves she will get additional specialist equipment in Holland before entering service.

Ceona Amazon boasts extensive under-deck and big deck pipeline storage, making her independent of costly logistics bases.

Three cranes, all heave-compensated, enable heavy lift, including installation of big subsea structures. Two ROVs will operate to 3,000m and the ship will also boast a helipad and seven thrusters.

For delivery due in September by Ferus Smit in Leer was the 23,000dwt multi-purpose cargo ship Roerborg, last in a series of three for Holland’s Wagenborg. The 169.75m newbuild is the biggest ship built by the German yard.

With open hold volumes of 945,000ft³ the 14-knot ships have MaK 9M32 main engines providing 4,500kW to a ducted propeller. Roerborg is equipped with a higher deckhouse than the first ship to create better vision when carrying high project deck cargoes.

Her innovative ‘bulbless’ bow shape has environmental advantages, said Ferus Smit. A longer and sharper waterline creates less resistance, irrespective of loading draught. At the same time the shape creates more deadweight and cargo volume within absolute dimensions, it said.

“Above the waterline the more slender form cuts gradually through waves, improving performance in rough conditions, while the negative stem profile also was proved to be advantageous when breaking through ice sheets”, the yard declared.

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