Marine Link
Thursday, January 18, 2018

European mdustry - atIII a force

With the domination of the shipbuilding market by Japan and South Korea, European builders have been forced to adjust to maintain its prominence on the international market. Individually, there is no question that things are no longer as they once were. In a situation where Japan accounts for 46 percent and South Korea 22 percent of the new orders for merchant vessels over 100 gt, no other single country reaches double figures. Collectively, however, the 12 European Union (EU) countries alone claim 11.5 percent, and with prospects for 1995 looking good for "greater Europe" constituents such as Poland, Romania and Croatia — there is no doubt that Europe as a whole is still a major force in shipbuilding. Indeed, according to the merchant shipbuilding returns for the last quarter of 1994 published by Lloyd's Register, of the top 14 shipbuilding countries in the league table behind the big two, all but China and Brazil were European. Denmark, although a small country with high wage rates, is a remarkably significant player in the market with 1.2 million gt either on order or under construction.

Finland boasts only a slightly lower figure, which includes four 135,000-cu.-m. LNG ships at Kvaerner Masa, the first of which has just been launched, destined for Abu Dhabi, and the cruise vessels Imagination and Inspiration being built at Kvaerner's Helsinki yard. Carnival Cruise Lines has ordered an additional two sisterships for delivery in 1998.

Germany maintained its number one European status at the beginning of the year with 1.9 million tons either in build or on order. The completion by Meyer Werft of P&O's much heralded Oriana leaves the yard with three 70,000- gt sister liners to build for Celebrity Cruises. The first, Century, is due to be delivered in November and will operate out of Port Everglades, Fla. However, all European yards have prepared for stiffening competition from new competitors, as the orderbooks at the Polish yards of Gdansk, Szczecin and Gdynia look exceedingly healthy. The latter celebrated its 500th newbuilding with a 96,000-dwt double-hulled tanker (the second of two), but Szczecin has 10 containerships, three product tankers and four bulk carriers to build with options for more in each series. The Romanian yard of Constantza has a series of bulk carriers to build, guaranteeing work until 1997, and a recent delivery included a 170,000-dwt vessel to Safmarine with four similar ships to follow for Exmar of Belgium.

Against the general trend, Spanish and French yards have registered significant improvements in their orderbook situations (41.2 percent and 22.1 percent, respectively), in both cases approaching the levels of activity achieved five years ago. The SNACH concern at Le Havre, France, has recently improved these figures even further by securing a contract to build three 87,000-dwt, diesel-electric chemical tankers for Stolt Parcel Tankers. Chantiers de l'Atlantique will deliver the 862-ft. (262.7-m) Legend of the Seas to Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL), and concentrate building efforts on sistership Splendour of the Seas. Legend will not only be one of the most innovative liners afloat in terms of comfort and sophistication for its 2,000 passengers, but at 24 knots, will be one of the fastest.

Astilleros Espanoles has improved the Spanish outlook by beating South Korean yards to the order for an 80,000-dwt shuttle tanker for Texaco, and the company also hopes to benefit from a cooperation agreement with Japanese giant Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries (IHI). The luxury cruise sector has kept the various Italian Fincantieri yards busy. Ryndam, the third of four sisters for Holland America, was delivered at the end of '94, and Veendam should shortly follow. Carnival, which will take delivery of Sun Princess at the end of the year, has now placed orders with Fincantieri for a second 100,000-gt vessel, sister to the liner already under construction there. Delivery of these 2,600-passenger ships is scheduled for the end of 1996 and 1998. A third vessel, to carry 1,300 passengers and recently ordered by Holland America, should dovetail nicely with the other deliveries, with a 1997 completion date.

The diesel-electric propulsion concept is becoming increasingly well established in the thriving cruise ship sector, with the Kvaerner-built ships for Carnival opting for systems by the Finnish company ABB Marine, and the RCCL ships incorporating systems by Cegelec, an Anglo- French concern. Oriana andCentury from Meyer Werft have retained more conventional diesel mechanical arrangements, with each vessel having two father and son pairs of nine- and sixcylinder MAN B&W medium-speed diesels to provide flexible operation.

Unfortunately, not all the news is good. Sweden's once substantial shipbuilding industry is now virtually nonexistent, and with the closure of Swan Hunter, just Harland & Wolff is left to fly the British Flag in the large vessel sector. The answer for many European countries has been specialization in smaller hi-tech vessels, as seen in The Netherlands. This country's overall total tonnage on order or in build is just 0.6 percent of the world total — below the U.K. (1.04 percent) and Turkey (0.83 percent). However, this represents a high number of vessels, at 128. This compares with just 34 in the U.K. and 41 in Turkey.

Dutch trade has improved recently with the delivery of Pearl River, reportedly the world's largest trailing suction hopper dredger. Built by IHC Holland, the vessel is reported to be 40 percent larger than any predecessor at 472 ft. (144 m) and 16,072 gt. The same yard has received an order to build a similar but larger vessel measuring 499 ft. (152 m) and the Merwede contract for a 512-ft. (156-m) version. Norway is another country which has founded a significant export industry in a niche market. In the past five years, Norwegian yards have been responsible for 53 percent of the fast ferries built in Europe. Names like Kvaerner F j e l l s t r a n d , Westamarin and Ulstein have long been at the forefront of fast ferry technology—aided and abetted by the strength of Scandinavian engineers in waterjet technology.

The prime market area is, however, the Far East — a factor which has helped the Australian fast ferry industry to develop so quickly. The rise of Australia has brought a decline in the European share of vessels built since it peaked in 1990. However, this decline appears to have slowed and is being countered by European builders establishing yards and license agreements in the Far East.

New to the Norwegian scene is Rosendal Verft, with two 95-ft. (29- m) catamarans delivered and two 118-ft. (36-m) vessels to build before the end of the year for Chinese interests. The 95-ft. craft had unusual propulsion configurations featuring Servogear controllable pitch propellers to give a service speed of 32 knots. The first vessel built had a pair of 1,040-kW Mitsubishi diesels while the second used two pairs of 550-kW MTU engines.

The statistics for 1995-96 will certainly be affected by the impressive progress made by a number of relative newcomers to this particular field. Dutch company Royal Schelde, with a number of smaller catamarans to its credit and a sizable portfolio of larger designs, recently received an order from a Greek operator for a 250-ft. x 72-ft. (76-m x 22.15-m) passenger/vehicle ferry with a speed of 36 knots. Greece is also the destination for two unusual 577-ft. x 79-ft. (173.7-m x 24-m) recently delivered by German yard Schichau Seebeckwerft. These otherwise conventional RoRo vessels have a capacity of 1,400 passengers and 100 cars, and operate at 27 knots.

The Spanish Bazan concern has used its frigate experience to make a success of its Mestral monohull fast ferry (see MR/EN February 1995).

Patrol boat builder Leroux et Lotz in France is continuing with the Corsaire 8000 and 11000 monohull projects, and the company has issued details of a stretched Corsaire 6000 called the 7000. Mjellem & Karlsen has entered the field with a 312-ft. (95-m) monohull built for a Danish customer.

For both performance and style, the 320-passenger, 148-ft. (45-m) TriCats by the U K ' s FBM Group have created much interest. One has recently entered service in Hong Kong, another is on its way and a third is virtually ready for shipment. Trials at over 50 knots confirmed that the Caterpillar Solar gas turbine/ waterjet propulsion system was as smooth, quiet and efficient as predicted, and the keels have been laid on the first of the two further vessels required to complete the initial order of five. Discussions are taking place regarding the options for a further two. Meanwhile, progress has been made on two of four 148-ft. catamaran commuter ferries for Portugal with the marrying of superstructure to hulls. Diesel- driven, these craft retain much of the advanced styling of the TriCat class but are designed to carry 500 persons at 25 knots.

DieselAvaterjet combinations preyard dominate throughout the fast ferry scene, but Kvaerner Energy packages with GM gas turbines will be used on the two 42-knot passenger/ vehicle Seajet 250 Swath ferries under construction at Danyard for Mols-Linien. The same Kvaerner/ GE combination is to provide the larger turbine propulsion systems for three giant Stena HSS catamaran ferries being built by Finnyards. The first will eventually enter service on one of the Irish Sea routes.

With a capacity of 1,500 passengers and 375 cars, these vessels will operate at 40 knots.

The breakdown of the type of fast ferry built over the period 1989 to 1994 highlights interesting trends. Although catamarans have always dominated, the proportion of monohulls is increasing, while Surface Effect Ship (SES) and Swath types seem to have virtually disappeared. Fast ferries seem to be getting larger, faster and more sophisticated. During 1994, only six fast combined passenger/vehicle ferries were built worldwide, but the number of outstanding orders had risen to 18. As the move increases towards larger vessels at greater unit cost, order numbers may be down, but shipyard revenue is only marginally affected.

It is worth noting that the Channel Tunnel began operating at the beginning of the year and claimed 18 percent of the cross-Channel traffic. Interestingly, the market grew by 18 percent over the same period last year, leaving the ferry business unaffected.

The t u g market Recent orders placed, deliveries made and contracts mooted in the tug sector have also brought fresh hope to Europe's builders. Dutch yard Damen continues to supply its basic Stan Tug designs and, in keeping with current trends for highpower, multipurpose application and precision maneuverability, is offering more sophisticated packages.

Portgarth, recently delivered to U.K. operator Cory Towage, is a good example. The vessel, which has just entered service, benefits from an Aquamaster thruster and a Twin Disc Marine Control Drive modulating clutch system.

Damen is also likely to benefit from news just released by leading U.K. tug operator Howard Smith Towage & Salvage — that it intends to spend more than $24 million on a program to improve its towage service. Six new tugs are to be introduced by mid-1996 and, although no official confirmation has been made, Damen and U.K. yard McTay Marine are considered prime candidates. The vessels will be powerful, highly maneuverable and equipped for firefighting and anti-pollution activities.

Should U.K. yard McTay receive the orders, it will without doubt boost confidence in the new management team, which bought the yard from the large, industrial Mowlem Group some months back. Recent deliveries from McTay include a powerful Voith Schneider tractor tug for the Forth Ports Authority and a berthing/firefighting vessel late last year to the Abu Dhabi Petroleum Ports Operating Company.

Elsewhere in the U.K., Hullbased Yorkshire Dry Dock is building its first tug to date — a 108-ft. (33-m) vessel for Southampton's Red Funnel Group — with an option on a second vessel.

Tug contracts are among the hott e s t news at the Spanish Construnaves group yards of Armon, Gondan and Zamacona, the former having won an important contract for three 2 x 2,000-bhp vessels for Belgian operator Union de Remorquage et Sauvetage — with an option to extend the units ordered to six. All three yards also share a seven-vessel order for the Boluda Group, one of the most active tug and salvage companies in Spain.

Zamacona, in addition, is now ready to deliver a hi-tech tug to Yemen and has four 57-ft. (17.5-m) salvage boats to build for the Ministry of Maritime Fishing & Merchant Marine of Morocco.

The military market Middle East operators continue to prove highly lucrative customers in the military sector helping to boost the healthy workload at Vosper Thornycroft in the U.K., CMN and DCN in France. Other international orders are in hand. The Brazilian Navy has ordered four coastal patrol boats from Peene Werft in Germany (one delivered to date), Leroux et Lotz is building two offshore patrol vessels for Morocco and Gondan in Spain has delivered two 208-ft. (63.5-m) landing craft to Kenya.

Scandinavians have led the way in the pilot vessel sector with significant deliveries made by Dockstavarvet (Sweden) and Linstol (Norway). Finnish yard Marine Alutech has also had success with its Watercat range, which is primarily aimed at pilot duties but very adaptable for rescue, patrol and fast transport roles. The second delivery in a possible six-vessel order has recently been made to the Finnish Board of Navigation.

Further developments with the Nelson marque enabled U.K. yard Souter to secure a Crown Agent order on behalf of the Papua New Guinea Harbours Board for two pilot boats to be delivered next spring. The order is significant in that it is based on yet another Nelson hull type — the 38. Designer Arthur Mursell has explained that, although naturally shorter than the 40, its displacement is about 10 percent higher due to its wider waterline beam and fuller aft sections.

Challenges have also been met by German yard Fassmer which has delivered a total of five pilot boats to North Sea operator Mecklenburg- Vorpommern over the past 12 months. Of deep-V, semi-displacement type, they are based on a successful 65-ft. (19.8-m) police vessel design and feature anti-spray strips, a narrow waterline at full speed and sufficient stability to transfer pilots in Beaufort 10 conditions.

The fishing market Yards which have traditionally specialized in building fishing vessels are becoming more exportminded as their own home industry faces difficulties. Although these companies too often turn their export attentions to countries which are similarly affected by an excess of boats chasing too few fish, the year has seen some significant deliveries. The renewal of the Irish fleet has attracted much attention from the Norwegian yards with by far the most prestigious recent order being placed with Thos Hellesoy for Veronica, a 390-ft. (106.3-m) factory trawler which has cost $40 million. Now in operation from the Irish port of Killybegs, she is reportedly the largest and most modern vessel in the Irish fleet, and is equipped for fishing in both EU and international waters. Flekkefjord is building a pair of identical 144-ft. x 36-ft. (44- m x 11-m) trawlers, again for Killybegs, to be namedFatherMcKee and Brendelen when the owners' existing vessels of these names are sold. Simek, also based in Flekkefjord has aimed its efforts at Scotland with the very recent delivery of Vigilant, a 166-ft. (50.45-m) purse seiner, and is currently working on a 188-ft. (57.5-m) pelagic trawler for the Shetland Isles. Armon in Spain has also concentrated heavily on attacking the Scottish market with the delivery of Crusader, an 85-ft. (26-m) steel vessel. This is due to be followed shortly by Vela, an 80-ft. (24.2-m) trawler. The company has also recently delivered a 143-ft. (43.5-m) freezer longliner to a Spanish operator. The Dutch yard of Visser den Helder is in the middle of a threebeamer order of its Mark III Multipurpose Trawler design for Germany.

The first, Stella Polaris, has been delivered and the second is in the latter stages of completion. Further afield, the company is working on a series of 70-ft. (21.3-m) fish collection vessels for the Maldive Islands in the Indian Ocean.

Having a tough time fighting the attentions of overseas yards, Scottish yards have been concentrating on doing what they do best — building traditional fishing vessels tailor- made to local needs. Two in particular are faring reasonably well as a result. Incredibly, Macduff has three orders for 68-ft. (20.7-m) wooden vessels, despite having announced that it had built the last in this material several years ago. The yard has also recently completed a 90-ft. (24.4-m) steel trawler and has another to build. The Jones Buckie Shipyard is renowned for the quality of its vessels which maintain a high resale value. It has just delivered two stern trawlers and there are two more are in build — all for local skippers.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Dec 2017 - The Great Ships of 2017

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