Reederei Hans Peterson & Sohne is the latest German owner to select Gibdock as a repair location for a container ship, a vessel type that the Gibraltar-based yard has identified as generating high levels of workflow through the first part of 2012.
The 188m long, 1997-built Westerburg operates in the Mediterranean and West African trades. As such Gibdock was an ideal location for the owners to carry out the work required. The 2064teu capacity, 30,291dwt container vessel spent 11 days at the Gibraltar yard towards the end of April, undergoing an extensive package of work before on-time redelivery.
So far in 2012 Gibdock has either carried out, or received firm contracts for four container ships, where 2011 as a whole only generated work for five vessels of this type.
Richard Beards, Gibdock Commercial Director, says: “Clearly, owners and operators need to be assured of the quality of work we deliver, but for time-pressured container ships, it’s fair to say that they think ‘location, location, location’ first. The Hanjin and Maersk terminals are close by in Algeciras at one of the Mediterranean’s busiest container ports, while the fast growing Tanger Med Terminal is just across the Strait. Vessels can call here with practically zero deviation, allowing them to remain on scheduled runs without costly diversions.”
During the docking Westerburg underwent repair works on the rudder and propeller and a modification of the net catching device at the vessel’s propeller shaft. Other work included renewing the stern seals; fitting an owner-supplied anchor and chain, renewing seven cell guides; and blasting and painting of vertical and top sides to provide 5-year protection.
A total of 25 hatch covers were also landed ashore during the docking and Gibdock was tasked with refurbishing and repairing these units. This required straightening and inserting flat bars into the coamings; inserting new steel to the corners of the hatches; renewing 700m of rubber packing, as well as the omega seals and landing pads; and repairs to the hatch cover cleats.
Despite the problems facing the liner shipping sector, business from containership owners and operators is likely to remain strong for the rest of the year, Mr Beards says, based of the enquiries it is currently receiving. “We have seen a noticeable increase in interest from the important German shipowning community which we are keen to capitalise on,” he says.