Gibdock has underlined its strategic location for regional ferry operators following a significant program of work on the ferry Ibn Batouta, for Moroccan operator Comanav. Docked in early September for a 25 day stay at the Gibraltar ship repair and conversion yard, work included the 426.5-ft long ro-pax vessel’s sixth special survey.
Built originally in 1981 by Harland & Wolff for UK operator Sealink, as St Christopher, Ibn Batouta has space for 1,350 passengers as well as 850 lane meters for cars and road haulage vehicles. She is now deployed on Comanav’s regular passenger and car service between Tangiers, Morocco and Algeciras, Spain.
In addition to carrying out an extensive package of routine works to get the vessel through the demanding sixth special survey to classification society approval, Gibdock was tasked with undertaking a thorough overhaul of the vessel’s two Pielstick Crossley 16PC 2V MK5 main engines. These 16-cylinder engines were both completely dismantled and all components taken to Gibdock’s specialist onsite workshop for repair and refurbishment before being reinstalled onboard within a very tight time scale.
Richard Beards, Gibdock Commercial Director, said that the job represented one of the company’s largest ferry jobs of the year. “Doing this extensive main engine work was the critical path on this project. We were able to carry out all the necessary works on time and budget, much to the client’s satisfaction.”
Another important component of the project was the fitting of two watertight doors on the car decks of the Ibn Batouta. Pre-fabricated in Norway, the doors were installed to enable the ferry to comply with Stockholm Agreement rules concerning damage stability on ro-ro vessels.
Additionally, during the time Ibn Batouta was docked in Gibraltar, Gibdock carried out an extensive amount of external hull blasting and painting; withdrew the tailshaft for overhaul; and repaired and refurbished numerous pumps and valves.
The Comarit Group, of which Comanav is a part, own nine ships and is one of the major operators in the Straits of Gibraltar. According to Roy Beswick, Comarit Fleet Director, “It is a great advantage to have a well equipped yard with first class management on our door step. We have found Gibdock to be extremely positive, from their response to the initial enquiry, contract negotiations and the eventual delivery of the ship. Ibn Batouta was the fifth ship that we have docked in Gibraltar in the past 12 months and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the yard.”
In the first nine months of this year Gibdock docked some 22 ferries for a number of leading passenger vessel operators in the Mediterranean, and reports a high level of enquiries for the forthcoming 2010-2011 refit season. According to Mr Beards, “We are very well placed for ferry work as our position in the straits of Gibraltar means that most operators do not have to deviate much from their established routes.”