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BENELUX: Carving IPs Niche

The strengthening of the U.K. pound this past summer enabled Holland and Belgium to become far more competitive than in previous years, especially in the ship repair market.

Holland remains one of the largest shipbuilding nations to remain in northern Europe, offering many yards specializing in smaller ships, ferries and dredgers. The one large shipbuilding complex in Belgium — Boelwerf — has remained closed for more than one year, and it appears that it has virtually no chance of re-opening.

The Dutch shipbuilding industry has taken a new look with shipbuilding and engineering group IHC Caland, launching a takeover bid for fellow shipbuilder Van der Giessen de Noord — the country's largest shipbuilding complex — with the aim of creating a north European shipbuilding group active in the offshore and merchant shipping industries.

IHC has made a public bid for all outstanding shares of Van der Giessen at around $155 million, with the deal expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.

Both companies are listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. IHC has specialized in serving the oil & gas and dredging industries, while Van der Giessen has made its name in the more traditional shipbuilding sector, where it is notoriously difficult to turn a profit.

Currently on order at IHC are dredgers for Jan de Nul, Antwerp Dredging, Gambia, Dredging Corporation of India, HAM and Van Oord.

Meanwhile, during late May this year, Van der Giessen was awarded a major offshore newbuilding contract from Bermuda's Toisa Ltd., involving the construction of a 372- ft. (113.6 m) multi-purpose offshore support vessel (OSV), with options for additional vessels.

The vessel, to be delivered by late July 1998, has a contract value of $35 million.

The new ship will have accommodations for 70 in 40 cabins, two large moonpools, clear deck area of 1,200 cu. m., and it will be fitted with a 100-ton capacity offshore crane and a helicopter landing deck suitable for Super Puma helicopters. A diesel-electric propulsion system (comprising four Stork Wartsila diesel engines type 9L26 of 2,800 bhp at 900 rpm each) will drive two fixed-pitch, variable speed, azimuth stern thrusters (2,200 kW/900 rpm) and three forward tunnel thrusters (1,050 kW/1,200 rpm each).

A dynamic positioning system will be fitted to provide the ship with the highest dynamic positioning classification standards.

The vessel has a trial speed at design draft of about 13.9 knots with two azimuthing thrusters, each unit developing 2,200 kW. Toisa Ltd's OSV main particulars Length, o.a 372 ft. (113.6 m) Length, b.p 352.6 ft. (107.5 m) Breadth, molded 72.2 ft. (22 m) Depth, to main deck .31.2 ft. (9.5 m) Draft, design 20.7 ft. (6.3 m) Draft, scantling 21.6 ft. (6.8 m) Deadweight, design 5,335t Deadweight, scantling 6,650t Workdeck area 1,475 cu. m. Speed 13.9 knots Newbuilding orders recently completed at Van der Giessen include a two-ship deal with German ferry operator DFO (Deutsche Fahrgesellschaft Ostsee GmbH), calling for two 15,000-grt doubleended ferries of 466 ft. (142 m) long and approximately 82 ft. (25 m) wide.

The vessels, named Schleswig Holstein and Deutschland, provide space for up to 285 cars or trucks, and approximately 120 cars, with an IC3 train, can be transported on the vessels without any on-shore shunting maneuver being necessary. The first in the series, was handed over to DFO in May, and the second was handed over last month.

The yard is also carrying out an order for Isle of Man Steam Packet, involving a 407 x 77 ft. (124 x 23.4 m) passenger/RoRo ferry, expected to be delivered in July, 1998. Another Rotterdam-based shipbuilder, YVC Ysselwerf BV, Capelle a/d Ijssel, has also had a full orderbook recently, winning two contracts, one comprising of a 10,400 dwt chemical tanker for owners Tank Africa, and the other a fish factory trawler for Jaczon subsidiary, SARL Klipper, France.

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