Bollinger Shipyard’s Texas City repair and conversion facility
Push for upgrades Owners and operators look to repair yards to help meet compliance By Shirley Del Valle, Associate Editor
ooming stringent environmental regulatory changes are driving owners and operators to refit their fleets with the latest compliant systems and technologies, driving business for small- and medium-sized U.S. shipyards “Environmental regulations will drive a lot of demand for upgrades and retrofits across the industry in the coming years,” says Rene Doiron, VP of Ship Repair at Vigor Industrial. On the ballast water treatment regulation front, many vessels will have to be retrofitted “with some type of new water treatment technology to address more stringent requirements in addressing invasive species,” says Doiron. Meanwhile, EPA regulations will likely drive demand for scrubber technology and vessel repowerings with the additions of new, cleaner engines. Foss Maritime’s Director of Shipyard Operations, Jon Hie, echoes the sentiment. Customers, driven by the desire to be compliant, says Hie, are “emphasizing work to meet regulatory requirements, and de-emphasizing discretionary projects.” Both Vigor and Foss, with operations on the U.S. West Coast, recently repowered state ferries for Alaska’s Marine Highway System (AMHS). Vigor Marine, Vigor Industrial’s repair and modernization arm, performed a repowering on the Alaska Marine Highway System’s (AMHS) Columbia. The 418 ft x 85 ft Columbia, part of a series of three AMHS ferries undergoing maintenance at Vigor, had its old engines replaced with new engines and auxiliary equipment. Meanwhile, Seattle-based Foss handled the repowering of AMHS’ 10-year old Fairweather. Foss completed the project last month, delivering the high-speed ferry to Alaska on April 18th. Originally built in 2004, the 250-passenger, 36-vehicle ferry had its four MTU
24 MARINE LOG May 2014
16V595 diesel engines replaced with new MTU engines. Each engine weighs 15 tons and delivers 4,000 hp. Foss also modified the enginesupport rails to accommodate the new power plants. On the horizon, Doiron sees the repowering market being driven by conversion to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). For instance, just last year, General Dynamics NASSCO won a contract from Totem Ocean Trailer Express (TOTE) to design the conversion of TOTE’s two existing Orca Class trailerships, the MV Midnight Sun and MV North Star, to LNG. The conversion of the 893 ft ships over to LNG, which is expected to significantly reduce Sulfur Oxide (SOx), Nitrogen Oxide (NOx), Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and particulate matter emissions, will aid the ships in meeting Emissions Control Area (ECA) requirements. Wärtsilä will provide each ship with four 12-cylinder Wärtsilä 50 DF dual fuel engines. The nation’s largest ferry operator, Washington State Ferries also has its eye on potentially converting to LNG. WSF is currently exploring the possibility of converting its Issaquah class ferries over to natural gas in the hopes of cutting fuel cost by nearly 50 percent, and significantly reducing SOx, NOx, CO2 and particulate matter emissions. If the operator goes through with the conversion, the contract to refurbish the ferries will likely go to a shipyard operating within the state.
Rebooting the oldies Passenger vessels, long in the tooth and reaching the end of their service lives, have been a good source of refurbishment business for Marine Group Boat Works, Chula Vista, CA. “In the last 12 months, we responded to several RFPs totaling $10 million to construct