Inside Marine M56

Page 1


Cutting-edge new builds and high-tech solutions


Reliable, durable vessels that keep professionals safe


A model industry


Ship repair on the Tagus estuary

i M
M56 n JUN/JUL 2023 inside ( (

Lisnave: Maintenance and repair for the world fleet

Here is an overview of the impressive Lisnave yard of 1.5 million square metres of land, sitting on the river Sado estuary in Southern Portugal. Lisnave has first class ship repair facilities, an optimum geographic location and a vast wealth of experience.

Managing Director

John White

Finance Director

Filomena Nardi

Editorial Manager

Phil Nicholls

Editorial Assistant

Imogen Ward

Hannah Barnett

Feature Writers

Andy Probert

Romana Moares

Richard Hagan

Colin Chinery

Business Development Manager

Darren Foiret

Research Editors

Jeff Johnson

Mark Simmonds

Judi Wheaton-Mars

Ginelle Lorenzo

Natalie Martin

Dane Coady

Clare Bishop

Becky Scrivens

Jamie McBride

Sales Director

Richard Brightmore

Sales Manager

Helen Leisi

Project Managers

Alexander Paterson

Tony Ingrouille

Kym Hamilton

Chris Renicar

David Earl

Connor Doddington

Lisa Smith

Carl Milican

Art Director

Ian Spencer

Art Editor

Philip White


Michael Stamp


Sarah Jones

Georgina Harris

Events Manager

Jasmine Lodge

Marketing Executive

Adam White

T: +44 (0)1493 445121 +44 (0)1502 566216



4 Inside marine
© Inside Marine 2023 No part of this publication in any form for any purpose, other than short sections for the purpose of review may be reproduced without prior consent of the publisher. Company Reg No: 06783092 • Company VAT No: 167 6757 57

Ready to launch

Welcome, Dear Reader, to your latest edition of Inside Marine. Firstly, you’ll doubtless all be pleased to hear that my editorial and design teams have told me I must trim down my ramblings on this page to be in keeping with the new-look layout and format of our popular publications. I hope you enjoyed reading my piece…

I jest! I am allowed a few more words than the above, but not many.

So, let’s get to the point, shall we? In this edition, there is the usual varied selection of interesting and informative company promotional articles and appealing advertisements, plus the latest news, views and events. We also have a special focus on the shipyard sector.

As an ex-mariner, and one who lived around the shipyard industry as a young boy, I always enjoy reading about this sector. Those of my family not in the Royal Navy, Merchant Navy or working in the fishing industry, were in shipyards. From the tales I heard them tell, it was, and I am sure still is, a tough industry for tough people.

To see a ship built from the ground up, or indeed brought in for refit, is a fascinating spectacle. Welders, grinders, fitters, fabricators, hard hats and clip boards amongst so many sparks and so much noise. To the untrained eye, it looks like chaos.

However, somehow, it all comes together. Not only does a vessel miraculously appear from the apparent disorder, but it also then floats! This is truly impressive, given the thousands of parts involved and the number of people and departments working together to create the whole.

Therefore, I hope you’ll join me in taking your own hard hat off in salute to, and recognition of, all those involved in this craft (pun intended). n

Inside marine 5
John Manging Director John White dons goggles and a hard hat, then admires shipyards from a safe distance.
To have your company’s latest product, technology or concept included in Inside Marine, contact us today. Send us your innovation: GE T INVOLVED
6 Inside marine 40 16 Inside marine minds intro MEST Shipyard 84 Ashley Group 94 MAKINEN 102 Vane Brothers 110 L&M Seamasters 118 ARCH-MID 124 Kontena Nasional Berhad 130 Rheinhold & Mahla 5 Director’s comment 70 Aresa Shipyard 76 North Atlantic Ship Repair 8 Upcoming events 10 Country focus 20 Innovations 26 Matter of fact 28 Latest marine news MARINE SERVICES SHIPBUILDING & REPAIR 48 SAFE Boats International 56 Carell Lisnave 62
Contents 276 MMS Americas LLC i M 138 Dredge Yard Bawat 146 OWNERS, OPERATORS & MANAGERS Uniteam Marine 250 ENGINEERING & MANUFACTURING 154 Adria Winch 162 Barlage 170 AKA Energy Systems 176 Harbour Enterprise 184 Inrotech 192 Lion Marine Group 198 Marine Service Noord 204 Rice Propulsion 210 Talleres Mecanicos Galicia PORT AUTHORITIES 218 ENAPOR Port Authority of Huelva 226 234 Port Authority of the Cayman Islands Port Authority of the Turks and Caicos 240 258 INTRESCO 264 Tug Malta 270 Caliber Maritime Inside marine 7

26-28 September 2023

Breakbulk Americas

Breakbulk Americas is the region’s largest trade event for the project cargo and breakbulk industry. The event welcomes global sector leaders, including decision-makers from leading energy companies and EPCs, as well as regional specialised service providers.

05-08 September 2023


The four-day Gastech Exhibition and Conference is at the heart of the natural gas, LNG, hydrogen, low-carbon solutions and climate technology conversation. Gastech 2023 will look ahead to the future amidst an industry-wide transformation to drive progress towards net zero.

Silicone E Silic and ind networking cone supply gels), provid

23-25 August


INAMARINE is the only B2B exh Indonesia for the marine indus Indonesia’s leading shipyard, sh distributors and marine supply chain. It w supported events: INAWELDING and INA

[click here] for weblink
[click h [click here] for weblink
8 Inside marine
[click here] for weblink

-05 October 2023


cone Expo USA is the global tradeshow d conference for the entire silicone dustry. This unique event offers a vital opportunity for all verticals of the siliy chain (elastomers, resins, fluids and ding a face-to-face business forum.

here] for weblink

25-26 October 2023

Ocean Energy Europe Conference

The annual Ocean Energy Europe Conference and Exhibition is the meeting point for the whole ocean energy sector. Visitors to the two-day event will enjoy a cutting-edge programme featuring the most important news and updates from the sector, plus the bustling exhibition.

[click here] for weblink


hibition held annually in stry. The event features hip repair, buyers, importers, will be co-located with other ACOATING.

Why not give your event exclusive coverage to thousands of readers and connections globally? Contact us:

Inside marine 9

Latest developments from the American industry


Survitec doubles operations in Miami to support cruise sector

Global survival technology solutions provider Survitec has cut the ribbon on a new customer service centre in Miami, Florida, doubling its operations to facilitate anticipated demand for its award-winning advanced evacuation system, Seahaven, which received full classification approval last year.

Survitec’s new 371 square metre facility will provide round-the-clock sales and service support to cruise ship operators, from one centralised location and with one point of contact.

“Investing in this new facility is very much in support of the industry’s post-pandemic recovery, but we are also preparing the site for the servicing of Seahaven,” said Chief Executive Officer Robert Kledal. “Based on increased enquiries, we need an advanced, state-of-the-art sales and servicing site to meet anticipated demand. This will be the primary US hub for servicing Seahaven, the world’s largest inflatable lifeboat.

“The immediate goal is to improve operational efficiencies for cruise ship owners. By removing their reliance on internal resources and local suppliers, we eliminate their administrative burden, thus reducing the cost of compliance. This way, we improve operational efficiencies

and reliability, optimising the way in which owners and operators protect their assets, passengers and crews.”

Miami, the US cruise industry’s home port, is poised for an exceptionally strong season. The Port of Miami welcomed more than four million cruise vacationers last year, with analysts predicting an increase this year as more new ships enter service. Thirteen new cruise ships are scheduled to join the world fleet this year, adding to the 20 launched last year and the ten in 2021.

“The cruise sector is expanding with a significant number of newbuilds due to enter service for various brands,” Mr Kledal concluded. “With this new facility, we can provide our customers with a single, dedicated cruise centre capable of managing all our cruise customers’ safety needs. It truly is a one-stop-shop.” n

10 Inside marine

Latest developments from the UK’s industry


Stena Line and Isle of Anglesey County Council received the news that their joint bid to establish a Freeport in Holyhead has been successful. The Freeport status was granted by the UK and Welsh Governments, marking a significant economic boost to North Wales.

Following the successful bid for Freeport status, Anglesey will now benefit from simplified customs and trade rules, providing greater incentives for investment and trade. In future, goods entering Anglesey Freeport will not be subject to the UK’s usual tax and customs regime, supporting longterm business investment, and boosting the prosperity of Anglesey and North Wales.

The full potential of North Wales will be unleashed following the announcement. Research indicates that the Anglesey Freeport could create up to 13,000 highskilled, high-wage jobs for local people over 15 years. It could also increase UK GDP by £1bn by 2030, stimulated by business investment in R&D, servicing the supply chain of new green technologies.

The announcement signals the beginning of the process to revitalise the GB land bridge, which has suffered a 20% reduction in trade since Brexit. The Freeport will reduce

the need for hauliers to transit goods around the southern tip of the UK, a process which is both environmentally damaging and economically inefficient.

The Freeport will accelerate the take up of sustainable energy production by building on existing industry-leading netzero initiatives on Anglesey’s coastline. This will bolster the County Council’s existing ‘Energy Island Programme’ and produce much-needed energy supplies for the rest of the UK. Net zero goals will be achieved through the largest consented tidal energy project in the world.

The Anglesey Freeport would extend 45km from Holyhead port, covering the whole Isle of Anglesey, with four zones designated as tax or customs sites. The proposed sites are Holyhead Port (including 213-acre former Anglesey Aluminium site and deep-water jetty), Parc Cybi, Rhosgoch and M-Sparc Science Parc.

Inside marine 11
Stena Line and Anglesey County Council welcome successful freeport bid


Latest developments from the Australian industry


TAMS Group wins major contract from Pilbara Ports Authority

Diversified marine and port services company TAMS Group has announced that it has been awarded a major contract from Pilbara Ports Authority to expand the Nelson Point Tug Haven facility at the Port of Port Hedland.

The Nelson Point Tug Haven is the largest of three operational tug pens at the Port of Port Hedland. The contract is part of the second stage of a A$72.5 million upgrade of the facility. Under the contract, TAMS will construct a new outside wave screen wall to shelter vessels from waves and storm surge in cyclones and other extreme weather events. It will also upgrade six associated tug pens at the 6.3-metre-deep facility capable of providing operational and cyclonic mooring and access.

Port Hedland is the largest bulk export port in the world. The Commonwealth and Western Australian State Governments are funding a major expansion of the port’s infrastructure, aimed at increasing capacity to export battery minerals and import renewable energy infrastructure into the Pilbara.

TAMS has performed multiple works across the Pilbara ports of Dampier, Ashburton and Port Hedland for more than ten years. Major works included

dredging, inspections, marine maintenance and construction.

“TAMS is extremely pleased to be awarded the contract to expand and upgrade the Nelson Point Tug Haven facility,” TAMS Group Chief Executive Officer Lee Bartlett said. “We are proud to be part of a major programme of works at the port to expand its capacity and lift trade and investment in the region.” n

12 Inside marine


Latest developments from the South African industry


Industry leaders develop a green corridor between South Africa and Europe

A new consortium will explore the options for developing a maritime green corridor for the zero-emission shipping of iron ore between South Africa and Europe. This ground-breaking initiative is the first of its kind from Africa and represents an important step in the region’s involvement in shipping’s decarbonisation.

The consortium brings together Anglo American, Tata Steel, CMB, VUKA Marine, Freeport Saldanha and ENGIE, convened by the Global Maritime Forum. The companies will assess how zero-emission shipping on the corridor can unlock new opportunities for South Africa’s sustainable development and contribute towards the just transition to a zero-emission maritime ecosystem.

This powerful maritime supply chain consortium of iron ore miners and shippers, steel industry heads, ship owners, freeport operators and energy suppliers will explore full-scope concepts for the South Africa-EU green corridor development. The work will look at bunkering and offtake arrangements, available green fuel supplies, and financial and business model alternatives.

Situated along busy international shipping routes, South Africa has the highest volumes of maritime traffic on the continent (outside of the Mediterranean region), as well as one

of the best-connected port systems in Africa that supports the trade of valuable commodities. The development of the green corridor could help drive forward South Africa’s decarbonisation ambitions and serve a range of wider national and international objectives.

As the International Maritime Organisation prepares to revise its strategy for decarbonisation at the upcoming MEPC 80 meeting, this consortium’s initiative to explore the development of the green corridor between South Africa and Europe is yet another demonstration that the industry is preparing for a rapid shift to zero-emission shipping that leaves no country behind.

The Global Maritime Forum is an international not-for-profit organisation, headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, committed to shaping the future of global seaborne trade to increase sustainable long-term economic development and human wellbeing. n

Inside marine 13

Inside Marine asks the experts about their personal experience in the industry

minds inside marine

Question: What steps will your sector need to take to become more environmentally sustainable?

The maritime industry is operating in an environment that is multi-faceted and extremely complicated. People are understandably looking for a fundamental breakthrough, such as hydrogen, to embrace change properly

The industry must invest in low-emissions technology, explore alternative fuels and adopt optimal operational procedures. These can include ecofriendly vessel designs and better, more efficient, engines. There is a major lack of infrastructure to support future fuels and hybrid systems. So, on one hand, you have a huge investment in R&D from the industry, but on the other side, we now need the support of all stakeholders, including governments, to discuss how to support the infrastructure required for vessels in port, to allow the vessel owners to implement what they’ve developed

There’s lots of discussion around sustainability. The industry is largely aware of the impact it has. On one hand, it’s the most environmentally friendly way to transport goods over long distances, by a large margin. On the other hand, it’s also an industry that can do a lot to reduce its impact on the environment in terms of the fuel that it burns - that’s a key element We try to do our bit by using our knowledge of the particular equipment that we work on, to see how we can make it that much more efficient and environmentally friendly for our customers

As a leader in its industry, sustainability is always a key concern at Rice Propulsion. The business has considered the implementation of solar panels and is always contemplating making our processes cleaner with new technologies and reducing pollution

16 Inside marine
“ “

Our company has a great love for our planet. We live here, we work here, and we care about its future. First and foremost, everyone in our industry needs to understand how important it is to be eco-friendly. We don’t have a spare planet. And we are all responsible for its future. Every business has its part to play, whatever its size. By taking account of our individual carbon footprints and taking the steps to shrink them, we can help slow and hopefully reverse the effects of climate change

We work with the International Maritime Organisation legislators, government agencies, and other organisations to protect human health and the environment. by reducing shipping’s climate impact, improving air quality, preventing the spread of invasive species and reducing marine noise

We need to embrace the new revolution in accepting biofuel as a potential source of energy that is readily available in large quantities. Until society and governments put true backing behind renewables in a proper sense, then this fuel will still be classified as waste and will, as it is now, go down the drain

As part of our sustainability strategy, we are considering adopting our facility to solar power, and changing our manufacturing processes to make products with fewer steps and minimise waste. All these will help us save money, time and energy

We would love to hear your answers, so send an email over to our Editorial Manager, Phil Nicholls, and share your thoughts to all our readers.

“ Inside marine 17
Get Involved i M
“ “
“ “
“ “


Latest innovations from the marine industry

Wärtsilä LNG reliquefaction retrofit co reduces costs and emis

Technology group Wärtsilä will supply the reliquefaction system for a retrofit project on an LNG carrier vessel converted to operate as a floating storage unit (FSU). The vessel, the ‘Energos Grand’, is owned by Connecticut-based operator Energos Infrastructure, and is being chartered by New Fortress Energy. The order was booked by Wärtsilä in March 2023.

The Wärtsilä system allows the boil-off-gas (BOG) from the LNG onboard to be reliquefied and returned to the cargo tanks rather than being wasted. The solution contributes to a significant reduction in emissions and creates cost savings, as well as optimising the LNG cargo level.

20 Inside marine

ontract ssions

“Wärtsilä’s experience and expertise in LNG reliquefaction and gas handling are well known, and we had no hesitation in selecting their equipment and services for this project,” said Tim Twomey, Senior Vice President Fleet Technical, Energos Infrastructure. “We are therefore glad to again team up with Wärtsilä as a critical partner for our conversion projects and view their reliability and robust technology as an important factors.”

“This project shows New Fortress Energy’s and Energos’ commitment to improving the environmental profile of their fleet, and we are happy to once again be shown the trust of these partners for this conversion,” explained Pål Steinnes, Head of Sales and Business Development Midstream, Wärtsilä Gas Solutions. “Our robust and reliable Compact Reliq technology is a perfect match for such applications. It combines cost-efficiency with low maintenance to deliver a solid environmental and commercial return.”

The Wärtsilä equipment is scheduled for delivery during the second half of 2024. n

Inside marine 21

Latest innovations from the marine industry

Stolt Tankers is the first chemical tanker company to apply graphene-based propeller coatings to its fleet

Stolt Tankers and Graphite Innovations & Technology (GIT) have signed a two-year agreement to apply GIT’s XGIT-PROP graphene-based marine coating to the propellers of 25 Stolt Tankers ships during 2023.

XGIT-PROP is an eco-friendly product that reduces marine growth and improves propulsion efficiency, while ensuring no harmful toxins or biocides are released into the ocean. This extensive application supports Stolt Tankers’ decarbonisation ambitions and reinforces the company’s commitment to sustainability.

Stolt Tankers is pleased to be the first chemical tanker company to apply GIT’s XGIT-PROP to its fleet and to bring the beneficial capabilities of graphene coatings to actual applications in the maritime industry.

“This collaboration represents our continued focus on decarbonisation,” said Jose Gonzalez Celis, Energy and Conservation Manager at Stolt Tankers. “We have several sustainability ambitions and see GIT’s propeller coatings as a simple way to maximise fuel savings and minimise emissions. The shipping industry needs innovators like GIT to

help drive change and make a significant positive impact on our oceans. Our agreement with GIT means we can protect our oceans without compromising operational efficiency.”

In April 2022, Stolt Tankers completed a trial of the GIT graphene propeller coating on the Stolt Acer. The company noted a significant reduction in fuel consumption and subsequently applied the coating to five additional ships. It is expected the coating will reduce biofouling impact and noise emissions from the company’s ships, helping to lower the impact to life below water while improving fuel efficiency.

GIT’s XGIT-PROP is a graphene-based propeller coating that is designed to release the growth of fouling and reduce the frequency of propeller ‘polishings’ or cleanings after two to three coats. It also maintains the propulsive efficiency of the propeller and reduces damage due to cavitation, thereby lowering noise emissions.

22 Inside marine
24 Inside marine


Interesting and unusual facts from around the marine world


The north and north-east Norfolk coast holds some 225 wrecks, including HMS Umpire, a Second World War submarine lying 65ft deep, 12 miles off Blakeney Point.

AIDAperla, a cruise ship capable of transporting over 4,000 people, features the largest battery storage system ever installed on a passenger ship. The 10 megawatt-hour battery enables the ship to run all-electric at times.

The average costs of shipping a bicycle and a can of fizzy drink are $10 and $0.01 respectively.

The UK Shipping Forecast began life on 24 August 1867, and was originally a series of telegraph messages sent to harbour towns to warn of impending storms.

26 Inside marine

The Port of Shanghai has been the largest and busiest port in the world since 2010 when it overtook Singapore. It can handle 744 million tonnes of cargo annually.

Panama has the world’s biggest registry of vessels followed by The Marshall Islands and Liberia.

The largest imports by sea to the UK are crude oil and gas from Norway, USA and Middle East, clothing and computers from China, cars from Germany and fruit from Spain.

After the sinking of the Titanic, the first version of SOLAS was adopted in 1914.

The largest vessel ever constructed was the Seawise Giant, which was 5.6 times larger than the Titanic (though like the Titanic it sank, after damage in the Iran-Iraq war from parachute bombs).

Inside marine 27
Every problem is a gift, we would not grow without problems
– Anthony Robbins –
“ “
As an island nation, 90% of everything bought in the UK arrives by sea.

Maersk Tankers launches voyage management service and brings first customer on-board

Maersk Tankers is expanding its services to shipowners with a new voyage management service. Building on the company’s expertise in commercial vessel operations and fuel optimisation, the service helps ship operators and owners achieve greater economic and environmental efficiency in day-to-day operations.

The first customer is leading LPG shipping and trading company Petredec Global. Maersk Tankers will take over the voyage management of, initially, seven Petredec Global-owned LPG carriers. The service includes day-to-day vessel operations, fuel optimisation and claims handling, cov ering full post-fixture support from the time the vessel is fixed for a voyage, through its successful execution, to the closure of the voyage books.

Petredec Global is the world’s largest pure VLGC owner, with 26 VLGCs and an average age profile of only five years. It operates fuel-efficient vessels with one of the best fleet-wide annual

efficiency ratings. For the company, the agreement is part of an ambitious strategy aimed at generating operational efficiencies and reducing carbon emissions.

“It is not through technological advances alone that the industry’s environmental goals will be achieved,” said Tom Lush, Head of Commercial Shipping at Petredec Global. “Collaboration and leveraging the expertise of other leaders in the industry will be key. We welcome this partnership with Maersk Tankers as an example of this.”

“Shipowners are under increasing pressure to boost the economical and environmental performance of their vessels,” said Aditya Trehan, Head of Operations at Maersk Tankers. “Ensuring efficiency in day-to-day operations can make a huge impact.”

Maersk Tankers took over operation of the first vessel at the end of April. The company is looking to sign further partnerships with shipowners. n

28 Inside marine Send your latest news to: MARINE NEWS Latest news in the marine industry

SEDNA and OrbitMI

announce integration to unify vessel data

SEDNA, the all-in-one solution used by the shipping industry and beyond to mitigate the challenges of traditional email platforms and transform business processes, and OrbitMI, a global provider of maritime software and data products to accelerate digital transformation in maritime, have integrated their two digital platforms.

The integration, which is already in use by one of the world’s leading tanker shipping companies, Stena Bulk, and now available to other shipping companies worldwide, will help centralise vessel data through providing a seamless flow of data across the two platforms.

This will allow vessel owners, operators and charter teams across the shipping sector with access to both digital tools to stay better informed on vessel activities and information. This includes voyage status, position in the ocean and deviation alerts to ETA, speed, and consumption, all from within one plat -

form so that they can more quickly and easily visualise and manage global voyages. The integration is available to access both on SEDNA’s web browser interface and mobile app, so shipping employees can access all of the information they need, when working either in their offices or remotely.

Altogether, this unification of platforms creates a single source of truth for vessel data, removing the need to switch between apps, which can otherwise waste time and increase the risk of error when copying and pasting data, resulting in poorer decision making.

The integration is an extension to the partnership already established between SEDNA and OrbitMI in May 2021. Both launched in 2017, SEDNA and Orbit—the product of OrbitMI—are cloud-based technology services created to enable more efficient, productive, and collaborative workflows across organisations to advance business performance. n

Inside marine 29
30 Inside marine

seven seas, five oceans, one voice

shipbuilding & repair


The latest shipbuilding and repair innovations and news, followed by the company profiles for:

mest shipyard safe boats international carell lisnave aresa shipyard north atlantic ship repair

i M


Latest innovations from the shipbuilding industry

Caudwell Marine announces 300hp diesel ou with integrated steering syst

Caudwell Marine has announced that its new diesel 300hp outboard will be delivered in early 2024. The Caudwell Marine team is confident that its first outboard product will exceed the demanding expectations of the market, which has been waiting for a reliable and durable diesel outboard solution for many years.

The Caudwell Marine diesel outboard is primarily aimed at the commercial and military markets which require their high-performance outboards to work, dayin and day-out, in all conditions. The team also sees opportunities in the recreational market, where fuel economy, performance and reliability are a requirement.

The outboard features a marine proven, 300hp, V6 turbocharged high-performance diesel engine and the full outboard product is receiving its final validation and durability testing on boats in Lowestoft, UK. In addition, hot environment testing will take place

34 Inside marine

utboard tem

in Dubai. Caudwell Marine stresses that launch to market will only come once the final round of validation and durability testing is completed, building on the many thousands of hours the team at Caudwell has already achieved with its product testing over the last two years.

“We know that the market is desperate for a solid and reliable diesel outboard, which delivers the highest level of performance,” said Peter Ordway, Commercial Director at Caudwell Marine. “We are completing our programme of very challenging product testing, so that we are sure to deliver a market ready product that will perform ‘ out of the box’, succeeding where others have failed.”

Beyond the ultra-reliable diesel engine, Caudwell Marine’s product features a patented integrated steering system known as an ‘Axis Drive’. This highly ingenious solution articulates steering from the lower unit only, with the powerhead and upper leg section remaining stationary in the turn. The engineering ensures the propellers are always effectively deployed to deliver full power throughout the turn. n

Inside marine 35

Latest innovations from the shipbuilding industry

Stena Line boosts freight capacity on Irish Sea with two all-new NewMax hybrid vessels

Two all-new hybrid propulsion vessels designed to run on methanol and adding 80% capacity on the Belfast-Heysham route will respond to increasing customer demand for capacity and sustainability performance. Construction of the NewMax vessels will begin shortly with launch on the Irish Sea in 2025.

Stena Line, one of Europe’s leading ferry operators and the Irish Sea’s leading operator, has announced that it is constructing two new bespoke freight vessels for its expanding BelfastHeysham freight service. Each of the two new 147-metre vessels has been designed to maximise freight volumes and will provide 2,800 lane metres of capacity, which is an 80% increase on current ship capacities. The new vessels will be equipped to carry 12 passengers and 26 crew.

The NewMax vessels will be able to operate on methanol fuel. Stena Line is currently working closely with the supply chain of methanol and has secured future volumes of e-methanol to fulfil its

strategic ambition of shifting to renewable fuels and cutting 30% of its CO2 emissions by 2030. Stena Line became the first ferry operator to run on methanol when the Stena Germanica was con verted in 2015.

Future proofing the new vessels for electrification has been another priority during construction, providing in-built technologies that can take advantage of both battery propulsion and shore power, where this is available.

Construction work on the two new vessels is about to start in Weihai, China, through Stena RoRo and both ships are due to go into service on the route in autumn 2025, operating from Stena Line’s port in Belfast. n

36 Inside marine INNOVATION FOCUS
Inside marine 37

GBA Ships launches new vessel Doulos Hope in Southeast Asia

GBA Ships – an international maritime charity based in Germany – is set to launch its new ship, Doulos Hope, following completion of the vessel’s technical refit and outfitting. Doulos Hope is the fifth vessel in GBA Ships’ fleet and will promote literacy, education and cross-cultural cooperation across Southeast Asia.

“We have been supporting local communities from over 150 countries and territories since 1970, making more than 1,500 ports of call in that time”

Doulos Hope has a length of 85.5m and a width of 14m, with a gross tonnage of 3,370grt and a maximum speed of 13.5 knots. The vessel is the first of a planned fleet designed to reach new regions and operate in shallower waters, so that isolated and marginalised communities further inland can be reached.

“We have been supporting local communities from over 150 countries and territories since 1970, making more than 1,500 ports of

call in that time,” Seelan Govender, CEO of GBA Ships said. “Doulos Hope represents not just a new vessel, but a new opportunity to expand our work and increase our ability to invest in leadership training and holistic community engagement worldwide.”

Since GBA Ships’ formation, over 49 million people have been welcomed on board the charity’s vessels, including more than 11 million children, with approximately 10,000 young people trained on board. Hundreds of tonnes of books have been donated, including some from Doulos Hope’s sister ship, Logos Hope – with the world’s largest floating bookfair.

The vessel will primarily travel around Southeast Asia, staying in ports for longer periods to enable greater community engagement. Like Logos Hope, Doulos Hope will be fitted with a floating bookfair, and ship teams will go into surrounding areas to provide aid and community care, partnering with local community groups to help people, regardless of circumstances, culture or background.

38 Inside marine Send your latest news to: MARINE NEWS Latest news in the shipbuilding industry

RINA has issued an Approval-in-Principle (AiP) for the design of a 21,000cbm ammonia bunker tanker jointly developed by SeaTech Solutions and Fratelli Cosulich Bunkers Singapore. Low or zero-carbon ammonia has the potential to support Singapore and the wider shipping industry’s efforts towards decarbonisation and, as more and more ammonia-ready newbuild orders are being placed, the industry needs ammonia bunker tankers to bring the fuel from storage facilities to the ships.

The AiP for the ammonia bunker tanker was carried out in compliance with the process described in the ‘RINA Guide for Approval in Principle of Novel Technologies’, based on the technical criteria of the RINA Rules for the Classification of Ships (2023), IGF Code and IGC Code, as amended. The AiP Certificate was presented to SeaTech

Solutions at Sea Asia Exhibition 2023 in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. The event was followed by a session where representatives of the three companies shared information on the project development, its safety and upstream considerations, regulatory requirements, opportunities, and challenges.

The AiP marks a significant milestone for the joint development project that started in November 2021. Having achieved this critical step of the project, all parties are confident that they can support Singapore’s ambition to make ammonia bunkering a reality in the region.

“Ammonia offers potential for the decarbonisation of the marine sector, and this AiP brings the practicality of its use as an alternative fuel a step closer,” said Simone Manca, Marine Asia Senior Director at RINA. “We are delighted to be able to support this innovation. RINA will continue to follow technological and regulatory developments to meet the needs and expectations of the shipping industry and to promote all possible pathways to net zero.”

Inside marine 39
RINA awards AiP for ammonia-fuelled bunker tanker
n Send us your news We would love to hear your latest news Why not share it to thousands of potential clients and readers in the next Inside Marine magazine? Get in touch today: i M




MEST Shipyard, based in the Faroe Islands, is a leading maritime and offshore company with a rich history going back over 120 years. Today, the company continues its reputation for flexibility and innovation with the delivery of cutting-edge new builds and the integration of high-tech software solutions. CEO Mouritz Mohr outlined how the yard is staying ahead of the industry’s latest trends, developments and challenges. Report by Richard Hagan.

MEST Shipyard is part of the MEST Group which is divided into three core business areas: ship yards, a fish processing equipment division and PAM Offshore Service.

MEST Shipyard offers new ship builds, ship refits, repairs and maintenance to the local and regional commercial maritime industry. Its 500 on-site staff are skilled in various trades, including steelwork, electrical work, hydraulic systems, woodwork and painting.

These skills were put on grand display in late 2022 with the company’s delivery of a ground-breaking new oceanic research vessel.

Building a battery-powered cat

In September 2022, MEST Shipyard delivered the first 100% battery-driven catamaran workboat in the Northern Hemisphere. The vessel, Grønarók, was developed for Faroese salmon farmer Bakkafrost, a large aquaculture company.

“Grønarók is 100% electrically driven and is able to spend a whole day working at the fish cages, returning to land in the evening,” said CEO Mouritz Mohr. “It can then be recharged from affordable, renewable energy at the port, supplied by the local utility company during the night –a period of time when there is a lot of electrical energy available.”

Inside marine 41

MEST was selected out of four companies who had tendered on the contract, in a competition organised as part of a larger project by the Nordic Council of Ministers as well as the Government of the Faroe Islands. Bakkafrost was a part of the project aligned with its own objectives of reducing its greenhouse emissions by 50% by 2030.

Grønarók’s construction required MEST’s skilled teams to overcome a series of substantial engineering challenges, according to Mr Mohr: “The weight of the batteries - at a total of six tonnesand the space that they occupy in the ship is a major challenge that we had to resolve. The batteries completely fill two of the rooms in each of the boat’s two hulls. To accommodate the weight, we had to make the vessel 30cm deeper.”

In addition, the revolutionary nature of the project put it at the cutting edge of rapidly evolving regulatory requirements. These shifting goalposts had to be accommodated throughout the project’s lifetime, at substantial effort by the MEST teams. “We even had to dismantle the


battery installation in order to undertake some changes that were called for by the regulation later in the project,” Mr Mohr recalled.

Despite also contending with various supply chain delays and challenges during the vessel’s construction, MEST Shipyard successfully completed the project. Grønarók’s delivery was an unmitigated success and earned MEST the Australian Baird Magazine Award for Best Small Fish Farm Support Vessel in 2022.

Sustainable salmon farming

Mr Mohr explained that MEST’s successful completion of Grønarók highlights the company’s own sustainability programme

and journey: “We are committed to meeting and exceeding the shipping industry’s sustainability targets. This is in line with the Faroese aquaculture and fishing industry’s own commitments to taking sustainability seriously.

“In order to meet growing global demand for our world-famous Faroese Salmon, the aquaculture companies are now seriously considering moving part of their production to the open sea. This will be an interesting challenge that MEST looks forward to tackling.”

Facilities expansion

Another challenge that the company is already tackling is the growing size of the vessels serving the local fishing and

Inside marine 45

aquaculture industry. “Many of the new vessels in Iceland, Greenland and the Faroes are too big for our existing dry dock,” Mr Mohr confirmed. “Consequently , we’ve now decided to build a much bigger dry dock.”

The company’s vast new dry dock will measure 150 metres long and 30 metres wide, boasting a depth of 12 metres. Planning for this impressive new facility is well underway and it is hoped that construction will be completed by early 2025, pending final approval from the local authorities.

In the meantime, MEST has begun seeing an uptick in new enquiries and opportunities from the renewable energy markets. The company is already serving the service and maintenance needs of all the wind farms in the Faroe Islands, but the ample

space in its new drydock will create an opportunity for MEST to offer new builds of floating wind turbines as well.

The company is now also eyeing potential opportunities to serve the oil and gas industry, particularly the busy fields east of the Faroe Islands. “These are the biggest UK oil fields and are close to our border, so we’re optimistic about future opportunities for us in that market,” Mr Mohr remarked, while cautioning that any new opportunities in that industry would still have to fit within MEST’s sustainability commitments.

Propelling project management

While its physical infrastructure is receiving various upgrades, MEST shipyards’ technology platforms have not been left behind The company has recently introduced


advanced new project management procedures as well as high-tech 3D rendering tools into its workflows.

The project management platform is expected to substantially professionalise the company’s project management workflow and grow its bottom line. The new 3D software, called Ship Constructor, will positively evolve the company’s customer experience and service, as it offers the ability to view every new ship build in full 3D before a single plate is welded.

“It’s very helpful for everyone involved, particularly for our customers as they are now able to see exactly what they’ll be getting,” said Mr Mohr. “The entire hull can be virtually dismantled, down to the

smallest parts. The client loves to be able to see that level of detail.”

Given MEST’s award-winning delivery of Grønarók, the upcoming expansion and the new opportunities awaiting the company, MEST Shipyard is justifiably upbeat about the future. Concluding, Mr Mohr reflected on the company’s successes: “Between 2015 and 2022, MEST Shipyard doubled its turnover to approximately 450 million DKK, with a profit of 23 million DKK in 2022.

“And now, as we look towards 2023, we’re excited that our order books have never been as full as they are now; so we’re optimistic about 2023 and the years to come.”

Inside marine 47
Mouritz Mohr, CEO


Founded in 1996, SAFE Boats International designs and builds reliable, durable vessels that help keep military, law enforcement and fire professionals safe. Rob Goley, Director of Business Development and Strategy, spoke to Hannah Barnett.

Bremerton is home of SAFE Boats International, and is a coastal town in the Puget Sound area of Washington State. This location was a source of inspira tion to the founders of the company, who observed the rough waves and rocky shores of the Sound and spotted a gap in the market.

“Most of the boats that were out there before us were fibreglass or GRP hulls,” explained Director of Business Development

48 Inside marine
A SAFE Boats Integration Team Member pre-rigging an overhead instrument panel. The SAFE Boats Integration Bay overhead image.

and Strategy Rob Goley. “They weren’t optimised for the ruggedness of a military, government or first-responder mission. The company founders wanted to develop a boat that was durable, allowing crews to safely navigate rough waters, while efficiently conducting their missions.”

The boats

The mission statement that SAFE Boats started out with in 1996 continues today. The company designs and manufactures reliable and safe platforms not only for government, military and local first responders, but all professional mariners.

“We are what I call a semi-custom builder,” Mr Goley explained. “We have our own in-house engineering and design team that can, quite literally, take a customer's needs on paper and develop a platform from scratch that meets their exacting requirements.”

The boats are built in heavy gauge aluminium, ranging in size from seven to 26 metres. Aluminium has several distinct advantages over fiberglass, from less day-to-day maintenance to ease of repair. SAFE Boats hulls are constructed from marine-grade 5086 aluminium and are designed with performance and integrity as a priority.

SAFE Boats is kept busiest by government and military contracts within the US, though it has delivered projects to approximately 70 countries over the years. On average, SAFE Boats holds 25% of the domestic US market share.

Alongside its main projects, another string to the company’s bow comes from

Inside marine 49
A SAFE Boats Integration Team Member pre-rigging an overhead instrument panel. A SAFE Boats Integration Team Member pre-rigging an electrical distribution panel prior to installation. A 25-foot Center Console ready for the Finish Stage of production.
Inside marine 51

fulfilling contracts for super yacht tenders. “It’s a very custom market and we generally don’t advertise too much,” said Mr Goley. “We've got a discreet group of repeat customers that we will continue to support and build boats for.”

SAFE is an acronym standing for Secure Around Flotation Equipped, which refers to one of the stand-out qualities of the boats: the pioneering wrap-around collar design.

The company is not unique in the manufacture of such collars for boats, but as Mr Goley said: “the way that we make the collar, so that it interfaces and connects to the vessel and supports performance, is what sets us apart from the competition. Not only do our 100 per cent closed-cell foam collars provide protection for the vessel, but they're incredibly durable. We stick with 100 per cent foam, because there’s no air bladder that could pop and degrade a mission. If the foam collar material happens to get torn, the mission can continue. It also provides added protection and buoyancy for the vessel.”

The team

Specialised work requires a specialist team. SAFE Boats has one, with 250 employees boasting a combined 1,800 years of experience between them.

“We’ve got the best team in the industry,” Mr Goley said. “I'm a little biased, but they’re so talented. We manufacture most things in-house, and we’ve got an incredible group of craftsmen who are true artisans. All our boats are hand-welded. When people see the quality of the welding, they think it’s done by robots. But no, we've got very talented welders and fabricators who truly take pride in what they do.

“Likewise, our integrators for outfitting and electronics are amazing. They are craftsmen in their field. The quality of the integration of our platforms is not only a work of art, but it’s incredibly functional and easy to maintain for the end user. That's super important for us.”

SAFE Boats maintains three brand pillars: craft, concierge, and care. ‘Craft’ refers to the high-skill level of its team. ‘Concierge’ is inspired by the concept of a concierge in a hotel. This works as a model for the level of customer service the company promises

An interior engine room view of a 65-foot Full Cabin Inboard SAFE Boat. A SAFE Boats Fabrication Team Member performing a detailed welding procedure.

to deliver, from the first interaction, all the way through to delivery, and onwards for the entire lifespan of the boat.

‘Care’ references the company’s commitment to constantly improving its product. “We want to know what the boat feels like as the customer is operating it, both functionally and ergonomically,” as Mr Goley put it. “And we take all that feedback and loop it back through. We are continually improving our designs, sometimes daily. We're not interested in producing cookie-cutter boats.”

The award

SAFE Boats received well-earned recognition as Manufacturer of the Year from the Association of Washington Business (AWB)

in late 2022. AWB bestows this award to a Washington State manufacturer with a commitment to business excellence, able to demonstrate creative solutions to challenges which raise or enhance the industry standard.

Inside marine 53
SAFE Boats Fabrication Team Members welding out the hull and strake of a 29-foot Center Console.

The company were primed for the honour after achieving ISO 9001:2015 certification at its Bremerton Manufacturing and Customer Support Facility, as well as securing the company’s largest ever single project: a $119 million contract to build Mark VI Patrol Boats to be used in Ukraine.

“That’s really important,” Mr Goley said. “The Mark VI is under construction now and will be supporting the Ukrainian Navy. And the Mark VI contract was the catalyst that allowed us to reopen our Tacoma Large Craft Production facility, which will help position us for future growth and expansion into other vessels.”

There are currently three boats in production for the Mark VI contract, the first two will be delivered later in 2023. Production on the project is set to continue through to 2025.

The supply chain

As with any successful company, a strong relationship with a network of suppliers is essential. “We look at our supply chain as a member of our team,” said Mr Goley.

That closeness is not surprising when bearing in mind that SAFE Boats has worked with some of its suppliers since its inception. Mr Goley identified Allsalt Maritime, manufacturer of the shock seat brand, as one: “We were one of the early adopters for shock mitigation seating, back in in the late ‘90s and early 2000s.”

Mr Goley also acknowledged the company’s excellent relationships with outboard engine suppliers like Mercury Marine, Yamaha and Honda, as well as MTU and Caterpillar as reliable diesel engine providers: “over the years, they’ve supported us to make sure we get materials and parts on time.”

An 85-foot Mark VI Patrol Boat at SAFE Boats Tacoma Facility in the Integration Bay.

SAFE Boats is in the process of finalising a transition of ownership to become a 100% employee-owned business and it is hiring. As a company which prioritises its staff, Mr Goley emphasised that SAFE Boats is searching for more.

“We’re actively looking to build our team –from the manufacturing side primarily, as we continue our growth and sustainment plan,” he said. “We’re looking to hire another 30 or so team members in 2023. Anybody that is interested in coming to work with an amazing boat builder should take a look at our website.”

Inside marine 55
Mark VI Patrol Boat during builder’s trials. SAFE Boats Fabrication Team Members welding out the hull and strake of a 29-foot Center Console.

Carell has been in operation for almost 70 years, providing the maritime industry with outstanding ship repair work. Now, the company is using this experience to innovate how ships are repaired. Head of Business Development Haris Carellis discussed the company’s latest moves, in a report written by Imogen Ward.

Carell cares about its customers and its employees. Rooted in familial harmony, the Greek company continues to excel thanks to years of knowledge and lived experience.

“Repairing ships is in our blood,” Head of Business Development Haris Carellis said. “Carell is a family-owned business and has been since my grandfather established it 70 years ago. Being present in a sector for that length of time is a huge achievement. Even more so as one of the leaders of the industry; that really says something about our company. Our customers share the

same view, since 95 per cent of them return time and time again.”

Over the past five years, Carell has focused heavily on business growth, expanding into different fields. The company also grew its capacity within the dry bulk and container sector, which has enabled it to complete around 65 projects per year.

Anchors down in automation

Since the company’s last interview with Inside Marine, Carell has accomplished some pretty impressive milestones. With

56 Inside marine

extensive experience repairing ships, the company has recently dedicated its time to developing marine automation.

Carell has been working on ShipWeld –in partnership with several companies, including iKnowHow (a Greek automation and robotics manufacturer). The ShipWeld robot is an autonomous welding solution that features a UR10e arm developed by Universal Robots. The arm has a lift capacity of 12.5kg, a reach of 130cm and has MIG and TIG welding capabilities. The robot utilises sensors and scanners to ensure all welding is of the highest quality.

“Our main partner for the ShipWeld project is iKnowHow; we are incredibly proud of this partnership and the collaborative work we have completed,” Mr Carellis said. “The ShipWeld robot can identify where the welding work needs to be completed, and we incorporated AI Algorithms to guide where to go and how to fix the problem. We estimate this will minimise repair costs as the robot’s efficiency will significantly reduce the required hours for each restoration.

“What we are trying to achieve is unusual; we aren’t just developing an automation machine, we are creating a machine that is dedicated to ship repairs and the prefabrication of steel parts.”

Another crucial benefit of this system is safety; ship repair work can lead to accidents. Luckily, by using ShipWeld, companies can reduce the risk. This is incredibly important for Carell, as a business that prides itself on the safety of its employees.

Inside marine 57

“We don’t cut corners when it comes to health and safety,” Mr Carellis said.

“We have a specific team that is solely responsible for HSQE, and we ensure the business complies with all our ISO regulatory frameworks. We are proud to say that we have zero accidents in the workplace. We also routinely inspect all enclosed spaces on vessels before allowing personnel to enter, which is a prerequisite for all potential repair projects.”

Automation is just one of the exciting projects that Carell has embarked upon: the company is also focused on strengthening its presence within the hydrogen market.

Harnessing hydrogen

Like all renewable energy, hydrogen is still quite new to the maritime market. Carell has been working hard to position itself at the

58 Inside marine CARELL I PROFILE

forefront of this sector. The company is off to a great start, after becoming the 12th Greek member of Hydrogen Europe; with this membership, the company is committed to helping shape the future of the hydrogen industry. Working already on the fabrication of a second hydrogen generator, the company has fully immersed itself into the role of a leader in the renewable sector.

“I can’t reveal much about this project, but what I can tell you is that it produces some of the purest rates of hydrogen energy in Europe,”said Mr Carellis. “We are hopeful that this project will be completed in the next couple of months, at which point we will start the final checks for our end user. This project aligns perfectly with our membership of Hydrogen Europe. We are incredibly proud to be a part of this community, and we are so grateful to be given the chance to help create a brighter future for everyone.”

The commitment to the hydrogen industry is heavily centred on the desire to create a more sustainable future. Carell has taken this pledge seriously and is currently assessing its own carbon footprint. “We are evaluating all the different ways we can be more sustainable,” Mr Carellis explained. “Currently, we have recycling procedures in-house to cut down on waste, and we have also minimised the use of plastic within our workshops.

“Externally, we are extremely focused on the hydrogen energy sector, and we are doing everything possible to ensure its success. We have a substantial amount of research and development underway. We’re doing our best to share that knowledge with others and better educate ourselves and our employees on the importance of hydrogen.”

Education is incredibly important for the Carellis family, and they strive to provide

Inside marine 59

their workers with access to educational tools to enhance the learning experience for employees. “We’re always investing in our people; they are the main driving force of our development and inspire us to make great products that help the planet,” Mr Carellis said. “We have a vision of becoming the maritime powerhouse, and we couldn’t do it without them.

“One of the more important ways we have invested in our people is by providing them with certifications and courses to give them the best opportunity for growth.”

Future focused

The next steps for Carell include substantial growth and development. “Our big plan is to expand our reach; to do this, we plan to spread out to more locations,” Mr Carellis said. “Our big ambition is to be near all our customers, being able to provide ship repair at any given time in any given place. We want to be everyone’s first choice.”

The company also plans to further progress the ShipWeld project with more

advanced welding machines (targeting specific exotic materials to really expand its usability). Carell is currently developing this technology with extensive R&D.

With such impressive goals, the future looks bright for Carell and the Greek maritime industry.

“Greece is a safe environment where we can achieve a great deal in terms of technical capabilities and knowledge,” Mr Carellis concluded. “Our country is on track to become one of the main components driving the renewable energy sector in Europe, and we are incredibly proud to be able to help make that happen. We also remain committed to making Greece one of the top countries in the world for ship repair. We have almost 70 years’ experience in this sector and that knowledge has been passed down from generation to generation.

“I remember being five years old and being shown a huge vessel in dry dock that resonates with my passion for the industry. Shipping is part of who we are, it’s in our blood.”

CARELL I PROFILE 60 Inside marine
Inside marine 61

Having built solid foundations over 60 years ago, Lisnave has developed a reputation for world leading excellence when it comes to ship repair. Now, with the renewables sector growing rapidly, the company is looking to expand its presence in this area. Commercial Manager Luis Braga divulged the latest news, directly from Mitrena Yard in Portugal. Report by Imogen Ward.

62 Inside marine

i th 1.5 million square metres of land, Lisnave sits upon the river Sado estuary in Southern Portugal. The yard is perfectly located to meet the needs of vessels travelling through the Mediterranean Sea and across the Atlantic Ocean.

“Our facility has huge potential due to the large area, location and extensive waterfront,” Commercial Manager Luis Braga said. “We have major investments on the table, not only to improve the efficiency of our repair work, but also for activities relating to the renewable offshore energies and ship recycling.”

Future-proof facilities

Originally located on the north bank of the Tagus estuary, Lisnave relocated to the south bank in 1967 and to its current

location in 2000. Since then, the company has upgraded its facilities several times. “We have six graving docks, two of which are VLCC size, one Suezmax and three that accommodate Panamax vessels,” said Mr Braga. “The three Panamax docks are the newest and are controlled via a hydro lift system. It was a Portuguese engineering project, which uses similar mechanics to the Panama Canal.

W“The gates elevate the water level so the vessel can cross from one side to the other; once the water has been drained out it looks just like any other graving dock.”

Lisnave’s yard is also home to more than ten workshops, including piping, mechanical, steel and a whole host of smaller complementary spaces. With these impressive facilities, the company can achieve an abundance of repair-related activities.

“Surface treatment is something that we do to every docked vessel,” Mr Braga explained. “Every five years, clients want their vessels looking beautiful again. Furthermore, the removal of marine growth from the hull results in big fuel savings and lower GHG emissions. So, having blasting

Inside marine 63

and painting capabilities in-house is a must. We also have a huge steel department, where we can renew any kind of steel, affected by corrosion or damage. We even complete retrofits and upgrades too.”

One of the biggest retrofits currently on Lisnave’s books is a bulk carrier conversion. With previous experience in vessel conversion, the company has been tasked with changing the vessel into a juice tanker. During this project, Lisnave will install several juice tanks inside the ship’s cargo holds. “The juice tanker is a major retrofit project that will require some transformation of the ship,” Mr Braga said. “We are already in the planning phase and there is a lot of engineering underway.”

Sustainable shipping

The word sustainability is rife across the maritime industry. With EU emission regulations becoming stricter, Lisnave has been awarded a number of

up-g rade projects, to ensure customers remain compliant.

“We have upgraded several cruise vessels so that they could reach emissions levels below tier three,” Mr Braga said. “We installed selective catalyti c reactors, which allow the vessels to sail in the regions with the strictest regulations.”

2023’s schedule is already filling up fast for Lisnave, with seven cold-ironing projects underway. Several bulbous bow replacements are also on the horizon: intended to reduce drag, these retrofits will improve fuel efficiency and reduce the vessels’ carbon emissions.

Having previously manufactured newbuilds until the 1990s, Lisnave still has a large newbuilds area that it is eager to repurpose. With the demand rising for more environmentally friendly projects, the company hopes to make the most of these facilities. “Our goal is to continue with what we are doing,” Mr Braga said. “Ship repairing will remain our core business, but we have a large

66 Inside marine LISNAVE I PROFILE

area – about a third of our facility – that is currently underutilised. So, we would like to see that dedicated to work within the renewables sector.”

As part of its commitment to ESG, Lisnave also has a high waste recycling rate. All waste produced at the shipyard is sent to licensed processing companies, around 90% of which is either recycled or recovered.

“We believe in promoting a circular economy,” Mr Braga explained. “In line with that philosophy, we donate all our used grit – a residue produced from

Inside marine 67

blasting activities – to the cement industry, where it is used to manufacture cement. This is then used in a large por tion of Portugal’s infrastructure. We follow the best waste management practices and abide by the latest technical solutions to continually improve recycling rates.”

Enthusiastic employees

The company has also been promoting awareness for the current climate crisis. In November last year, employees at Lisnave planted a 50 square metre Miyawaki micro-forest on its premises. Featuring 23 different native species,

the forest was designed to improve air quality and help offset carbon emissions.

“The forest is very symbolic; it’s one of the ways we are trying to raise awareness,” said Mr Braga. “Everybody at Lisnave shares this mindset. We have also installed a solar panel park capable of generating one megawatt, which currently covers around 5% of our energy consumption.”

Not only does Lisnave provide its employees with opportunities to volunteer within the community, but it also offers all staff in-house training. The yard even has its own school, running numerous courses throughout the year providing vocational education for

LISNAVE I PROFILE 68 Inside marine

aspiring individuals. This facility has helped the company overcome one of the biggest challenges currently faced across multiple sectors.

“Finding skilled labour seems to be a recurring issue across the whole of Europe,” Mr Braga said. “That’s for all industries, not just ship repair. Although Lisnave is not an exception, we have our own training school inside the shipyard that has helped mitigate that challenge. We are always giving young people the opportunity to become part of the Lisnave Family.

“ Those who attend our school are also not bound to Lisnave; some stay and some go. We never know if they are going to settle: it is a long and

expensive process, but it’s essential because, without it, our numbers would be much lower.”

Despite the recent challenges, Mr Braga is confident in the future of the business: “I have worked at Lisnave since 1995. I have witnessed history being made. We have always stuck through the tough times and made it out the other side. I got to watch as the company rose to its market leading position. Now, more than 70% of our business comes from returning customers, whom we are very committed to.

“We will always strive to push ourselves with new and challenging projects that improve our capabilities,” he concluded “I think that’s the best mindset to have.”

Inside marine 69


Exciting times are rolling through Aresa Shipyard in Spain as it completes significant contracts for clients spanning the defence and fishing sectors. Andy Probert sat down with CEO Oriol López to discuss his vision and plans: to upgrade the family-owned yard’s facilities, become one of the first zero-carbon shipyards in Europe and build hydrogen propulsion vessels.

Raising the roof is firmly on CEO Oriol López’s radar. And this is not just to celebrate the glut of orders for defence and fishing vessels his familyowned shipyard is receiving. Over the next

12 months, he plans to oversee a four-metre roof raise at the Spanish yard’s central hub and a 3,000sqm service area expansion encompassing its new 100m assembling dock.

70 Inside marine


The plans are part of Aresa’s scope to expand its shipbuilding prowess in the 25-50m vessel range, fitting perfectly in the medium fleet specification which is too small for big boat builders and too large for small-scale operators.

They also align with his vision to establish Aresa as one of the first shipyards to set the standard on the decarbonisation pathway by becoming a carbon-free operation while embracing new technologies, like hydrogen propulsion. “As the biggest shipbuilder in

Catalonia, we are seriously making our mark as one of the most progressive in Spain,” said Mr López.

Out of Africa

Aresa’s history traces back to 1961 when it was established by Mr López’s father, Oscar. Its early heritage was building yachts. That later evolved with a focus on professional and defence sectors, solidifying its presence. It is one of Europe’s few yards that specialise in five markets, consisting of

Inside marine 71

fishing (20 models), defence and security vessels (30 models ), passenger vessels, offshore service vessels and yachts.

Mr López Junior’s current positive outlook comes on the heels of contract wins helping Aresa Shipyard break new ground with returning clients and establishing links with new ones. If the company’s impressive array of high-speed, high-quality naval and commercial fishing vessels are turning heads, it is Africa where business is skyrocketing. The company is currently ahead of schedule manufacturing seven Aresa 1300 Sentinel II vessels for the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). Due to be delivered in 2023, the vessels will be additions to its fleet of 2013 composite-built 13m Sentinel I iterations from Aresa. They will cover NIMASA’s growing remit for maritime security: protecting strategic installations, coastal

and port areas, and managing vessel movements around Lagos port, one of the world’s busiest.

The 1300 Sentinel II is built from naval aluminium and has integral armour built into the main cabin. It has a top speed of 38 knots and is powered by 2 x 300hp outboard engines. Mr López said: “The Sentinel II is becoming the definitive tool to tackle all coastal surveillance missions at high speeds, with total protection for the crew and a high level of comfort in the most adverse conditions.”

Aresa has also enjoyed links with Nigeria’s Navy: having supplied four 1700 inshore patrol boats to the Navy in April 2021, Aresa launched its Aresa 1700 Fighter II, an aluminium patrol vessel, later that year, with the Navy shortly after ordering four.

The Fighter II series, an evolution of the company’s Fighter I coastal patrol vessel, features an armoured bridge and two

72 Inside marine

1,250hp inboard engines. Able to reach speeds of 40 knots, the 17m vessel has a displacement of 25 tons. It can carry a RHIB at the rear and launch using Aresa’s vertical launching system, transport up to 17 soldiers seated in the main cabin and accommodate 5 crew in cabins inside the hull.

Aresa’s strategy perfectly mirrors modern naval doctrine, increasingly concerned with the threat posed by small, fast boats to naval vessels operating in shallower waters – especially along coastlines. In response, coastal governments have shown extensive interest in procuring small, light, fast attack and interceptor craft to meet and counter this threat.

“High-speed vessels, at the lengths we specialise in, are one of the most difficult types to build,” Mr López said. “They must be secure, but robust enough for heavy-duty use, and operate at speeds between 50 and

70 knots.” Aresa has previously supplied vessels to African military customers in Senegal, Cameroon and Angola.

Fishing industry strength

Aresa is very strong in the African fishing sector, providing an extensive range of vessels. From 2004 to 2009, Aresa completed one of the biggest orders ever; an €84 million order for a fleet of 210 fishing vessels and coastal patrol vessels for the Angolan government.

Inside marine 73

For Angola, the company is now building four Aresa 2500 S RWS semi-industrial seiner fishing vessels with integrated, modern suction fishing systems and RWS Refrigerated Water Systems in the fishing holds. The first of the 25m vessels, which will have a capacity of 50 tonnes of fish and is an evolution of Aresa’s 2500 S model, was delivered in April 2023.

“The new vessels will ensure fish are suctioned into the hold and then piped directly into the factory when the boat docks at port,” explained Mr López. “The fish won’t be handled by humans. The quality of the fish will be better and arrive at the factory fresh from sea.”

Green ambitions

While the shipyard enjoyed a 35% upswing in business in 2022, Mr López continues to have one eye on the next 12 months to upgrade and improve facilities onsite. Its headquarters and production facility covers 25,000sqm and includes a 100m mooring berth and three 60m long hangars. The yard has received from the local authority an extra 3,000sqm of land

74 Inside marine

around Aresa’s new 100m assembling dock, allowing it to bring the preparation area closer to dockside and enable it to finish vessel work faster.

“The roof on the main hangar will rise to 14m, allowing us to produce bigger vessels as we become established in the 25m to 50m vessel range,” said Mr López. “These plans will help increase production capacity by 30 per cent.” The plans, costing Є 2 million and to be completed within six months, will see the rolling crane stock double to 80 tonnes.

A prime objective in the next 12 months is to become one of the first shipyards in Spain, and possibly in Europe, to be carbon net zero. “In the next year, our processes will be evaluated, and all carbon-emitting ones will be compensated with new carbonneutral ones,” Mr López emphasised. “It is the first step, but essential.”

This will reduce emissions from lamination processes by between 30% and 40% when building vessels with aluminium. Solar panels will be installed to derive alternative power for its offices.

Aresa’s production strategy is built around manufacturing models adapted to customers’ specific needs and supporting those models for the long term with aftersales and servicing. It plans to open new service points in Angola and Congo, following similar ones in Nigeria and Cameroon.

The yard is also planning to embrace new technologies, with Mr López confirming it was in talks with a European client to build a 20m passenger vessel with hydrogen propulsion.

He concluded: “Aresa, with the support of suppliers and clients, is looking confidently to more growth, while venturing further along the sustainability path.” n

Inside marine 75

North Atlantic Ship Repair delivers personalised repair services for domestic, international and government customers from its facilities on the US East Coast. NASR strives to offer the safest, most environmentally responsible and cost-effective vessel repair and related services available in its operating area. CEO Ed Snyder explained more, in conversation with Phil Nicholls.


North Atlantic Ship Repair (NASR) is dedicated to delivering a quality product to every customer. The American company is always striving to improve and work closely with clients to achieve the common goal of delivering projects within budget and on time.

Founded in 1995, NASR is comprised of two subsidiaries: Boston Ship Repair and Philadelphia Ship Repair. These sister facilities provide extensive bespoke services

for a range of domestic, international and government clients. These two shipyards are strategically positioned to support both the maritime and fabrication markets.

World class excellence

Owning two of the largest docks on the Eastern and Gulf Coasts, the company is committed to provide vessel maintenance, repair, overhaul and conversion services that are unsurpassed in the industry. The

Inside marine 77

team at NASR work tirelessly to improve upon both facilities and capabilities in order to meet and exceed the expectations of customers.

These twin facilities at Boston and Philadelphia stand ready to assist fleet managers and vessel owners with a broad portfolio of installation and repair services.

Located next to the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal in Boston's Seaport, the drydock at Boston Ship Repair is only seven miles from open sea, with no air draft restriction. The facility is conveniently located near hotels, restaurants, public transportation and only minutes from Logan International Airport.

The facilities at Boston can handle 350metre-long vessels, up to a displacement


of 65,000 tonnes. The channel has a draft of over 12 metres and the on-site cranes enjoy 360° coverage and a capacity up to 50 tonnes.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia Ship Repair is located in the Philadelphia Navy Yard and can easily accommodate a wide variety of ships for both government and commercial customers. The city of Philadelphia has a long tradition of being an active seaport.

The Philadelphia Navy Yard is a growing commercial location situated along the banks of the Delaware River.

NASR offers a similar range of facilities in Philadelphia, where the dock can accommodate 350 metre vessels, up to a displacement of 60,000 tonnes. The channel draft is over 12 metres. The pier here has connections for water, electricity and sanitation, while supported by the company’s 3,700 square metre workshop.

Portfolio of services

The NASR team routinely accomplishes significant ship repairs at both of these locations. These dry dock facilities are capable of delivering a wide selection of installations and repairs.

Typical operations include, but are not limited to, emergency ship services, propeller and shafting inspections and repairs, rudder inspections, testing and repairs, hull,

structural and deck painting, machinery overhauls, upgrades and installations, and much more.

With a proven track record since 1995, all operations are supported by open communication with the client. “NASR works best when our customers are limited on time and when repairs need to happen at a quick pace,” explained CEO Ed Snyder.

“Our current project, the USNS Burlington, is an example where we only knew about the vessel coming in a week prior to her arrival and we had to construct the dock to hold her in short order.”

Passion and people

It is North Atlantic Ship Repair’s unique mix of passion and people that separates the company from the competition. NASR has the ability to draw the best talent from its operations team to support the client’s

Inside marine 79

project. This is the added value that clients receive from the company.

Embodying a passion for excellent client services, the difference offered by the company is its people. North Atlantic Ship Repair is dedicated in hiring the most experienced and talented management team who understand the need to safely re-deliver a vessel back to the client on time and on budget. The entire team in Boston and Philadelphia are committed to the quality of work and a continuous improvement within the company.

These are some of the reasons the company has earned its clients’ trust throughout the years. NASR enjoys a high level of customer retention and is proud to have been servicing some of its clients for over 25 years. This level of customer retentions is proof of the worth of the company’s partnership approach. This philosophy of collaboration with customers has repeatedly guaranteed a successful outcome for both parties.

In a similar vein, North Atlantic Ship Repair has developed close relationships with many suppliers who understand the critical nature of the ship repair industry. NASR understands that its performance is a direct reflection of the ability of its entire supply chain to provide material and service in response to a frequently demanding work schedule. Thus, it is no surprise that these vendors are considered business partners to NASR, and not just commodity providers. This close collaboration between all of the company’s partners enables NASR


to serve the needs of each one of its customers for many years to come.

Yet, the current global economy faces a number of challenges. “NASR has many obstacles to face in the upcoming years,” acknowledged Mr Snyder. “To achieve the goals of the company and our customers, we are working together with our union, customers, government entities and local authorities to stress those requirements and conditions which are needed in order for us to serve our customers for many years to come.”

Indeed, with this mix of capabilities and passion, it is clear that North Atlantic Ship Repair will continue to offer clients this broad package of services.

CEO Ed Snyder remains suitably enthusiastic for the future of NASR: “Personally, the challenges everyday are different. There could be labor issues one day, subcontractor issues, as well as material chain deficiencies in another day. The needs of our customers change day-to-

day, and we are here to make it happen for them.

“Making sure everyone is safe is also very essential for me,” he concluded. “Walking in each morning and trying to make the atmosphere better for all, and knowing I gave it everything is my top priority.”

Inside marine 81

seven seas, five oceans, one voice


ashley group makinen vane brothers l&m seamasters arch-mid kontena nasional berhad rheinhold & mahla

i M



The Ashley Group has been operating in shipping for decades. Under its three subsidiaries, the company offers logistical shipping services, chartering management and facilitates the movement and sale of cargo with regional partners worldwide. Group Director Peter Allan told Hannah Barnett how the company strives to provide value in everything it does.

Mann is a renowned and wellestablished name in global shipping and the Mann family has been part of the industry since the early 20th century. Operating under various names throughout the years, it took on the mantle Ashley Global Shipping in 2011. That company is now part of the wider Ashley Group.

According to Peter Allan, Director of the Ashley Group, the company continues to run smoothly by doing what it does extremely well. “We concentrate

on our niche,” he said. “We are not trying to take over the world. We focus our core expertise on where we can add true value Plenty of opportunities come across the desk where we can do something, but it wouldn’t add value to the company, or to the clients, or partners.”

The group and subsidiaries

To continue to add value in the most efficient way possible, The Ashley Group was established in 2021 to provide a parent company for the various arms of the

84 Inside marine

Ashley operation. According to Peter, this corporate restructuring has indeed provided significant value for the company. “It gave a clearer understanding of what we do with each entity and brought continuity to our clients and customers,” he said.

The company now maintains the Ashley Global Shipping name, to provide logistical solutions to the group's trading activities, as well as Alfa Commodities, which is the commodity trading arm, and Ashley Chartering Ltd (ACL), the freight solution provider for the group.

At any one time, ACL has between 15 and 25 ships under its operation. But the company’s core trades are in the Supramax, Ultramax and Panamax sector. “Occasionally we operate ships all the

way down to 10,000 deadweight and up to Capesize.” said Peter. “But the core is definitely the 52,000 to 82,000 deadweight. Around 80% of our clients require these vessels.

“At first with ACL, we were quite asset light, but then we decided to start investing in dry bulk carriers. In Q4 of 2019, we purchased our first Supramax. And since then, we have focused on growing the fleet in support of our commodity trading book. We now own five dry vessels and one tanker.”

Organic growth

Over the last eight years, the company has enjoyed a 45% year-on-year growth, with a particular increase in the last eighteen months, since its corporate restructuring.

Inside marine 85


The Ashley Group recorded a £400 million turnover for 2022. “This year we are due to move about eight-and-a-half to nine million tonnes of commodities – either third party or our own inhouse cargo,” said Peter.

This growth, though impressive, is the result of carefully considered decisions, not hasty ones. Peter emphasised that the company is very specific on the assets it acquires, and the Supramax and Ultramax vessels in particular serve ACL’s client base well.

“They are shallow drafted, very ecofriendly, with good speed and consumptions,” he said. “We operate in areas where gears, cranes and grabs are required. But we are not looking for a big milestone of acquiring ten vessels at once: we’re very much looking for organic growth.

“Any asset we acquire must be the correct one. We take a lot of pride in analysing the minute details of every vessel. If we can save half a tonne on a particular vessel, that's key for us, because it adds value further down the supply chain. This organic growth is about finding the asset that suits us. That means the right price, trading history, spec and condition; then we’ll purchase It's very measured growth: we want to be operating here in the next ten, twenty, thirty years.”

Partners and suppliers

Working closely with its partners, the Ashley Group is adding value to its operations by improving sustainability credentials on both sides. Establishing

88 Inside marine

with producers and buyers how they can reduce their carbon footprint has the potential for long-term benefits, according to Peter.

“It’s an education, especially for our suppliers. We always try and promote the more economical vessels,”. “Although they can be more expensive in the short

term, the positive impact flows through the industry considerably.”

The company’s in-house technical department is continuously monitoring the route, speed and fuel consumption of

Inside marine 89
90 Inside marine
Inside marine 91

vessels. If there are delays at a discharge port, the technicians will slow the ship down so fuel consumption is lower. And ACL is in the early stages of working with third-party, UK-based tech companies to find a digital solution to further reduce emissions.

“We are shipping people: we understand the freight, the logistics, and the commodities themselves,” Peter reflected. “But there’s expertise we don’t have, and having those partnerships adds value to us and to any third party we work with. That means partnerships and joint ventures, constant dialogue, frequent brainstorming . This is what really drives the growth of the company.”

Meeting challenges

Another way the Ashley Group is expanding the strength of its operations is with the expansion of its small technical department


for the assistance of both its owned and third-party vessels. And it is no surprise that the company brings the same measured yet proactive approach to any challenges it faces, too.

For example, in January 2022, Indonesia implemented a month-long coal export ban to prevent potential power loss and blackouts, after supplies at domestic power plants fell to critically low levels. “The ban came in overnight,” recalled Peter. “We had two ships there. Within a day, we redeployed the ships and negotiated with the charterers.

“The problem was beyond their control, but what was important was that action of being reactive and having a dialogue

with the client, so you can immediately pick up the phone, have a video call, find a solution and mitigate.”

Since restructuring, the Ashley Group is continuing to evolve, creating value that is both substantial and sustainable. “We are here for a long time,” concluded Peter. “Every single employee in the group buys into the mantra that we are a service provider, and we focus on partnerships. There are always going to be problems, but everyone should know how to overcome them. The continuity of business is more important than maximising the profit in the short term. We are all here for a career and we all love the industry.”

Inside marine 93
94 Inside marine MAKINEN I PROFILE

With 30 years’ experience in cabin refurbishment and furniture production, MAKINEN hopes to take this experience and become the benchmark for the cruise industry: CEO Jaakko Mäkikalli explained how the company will reach this milestone. Report by Imogen Ward.

Over the years, MAKINEN has perfected its service approach. From effective software to more efficient working approaches, the company has performed tirelessly to set the best standards for marine interior manufacturers.

“MAKINEN is a trustworthy, family-owned company, that offers an innovative approach to all its interiors,” CEO Jaakko Mäkikalli said. “In 2012, we started embarking on heavy refurbishment projects with a new, lean approach. This is something that is not used by too many other players in the industry and has become part of the MAKINEN way – we successfully utilise methods that are the most efficient and effective.”

For the past 30 years, MAKINEN has established an expertise for maritime interior refurbishment. Following this success, the company expanded into the newbuild sector in 2017.

Diving straight in, the company’s first newbuild contract was awarded by CMHI shipyard and established MAKINEN as the sole interior turnkey contractor for the SunStone Infinity series of vessels.

Inside marine 95
96 Inside marine

“Our capabilities and knowledge have broadened substantially over the past six years,” said Mr Mäkikalli. “With the Infinity series, and new areas including expedition vessels, we have continued to implement a competitive advantage in the market. Our fellow competitors might do the same, but we are consistent in everything we do. As marine interior experts, we pour our company culture into all aspects of the job, built on Finnish roots we have cultivated a culture of trust and quality, which is what we are known for globally.”

Leaning in on success

Striving to have a positive influence over the market, MAKINEN dedicated its resources to developing a new approach that would benefit everyone. The company likens the lean approach to a train: every element moving in synchronicity , reducing inefficiency and leaving less room for mistakes.

“Our lean approach originated from a customer’s desire for change,” said Mr Mäkikalli “As one of our main customers, Royal Caribbean Group realised that, with

98 Inside marine MAKINEN I PROFILE

standard vessel size increasing, future refurbishment and dry docking would take too much time and money. To overcome this hurdle, we dedicated ourselves to the lean approach.”

Impressively, since introducing this method, MAKINEN has been able to improve its refurbishment figures from an average of 35 cabins a day to a record-breaking 225. This impressive jump in efficiency has meant that customers can save money whilst still receiving the same great service that MAKINEN is known for.

The lean approach ensures that customers receive exceptional quality installations that meet agreed deadlines and cause minimal disruption. These refurbishments can be completed during service or in drydock – making it customer-friendly and super-

efficient. With the astounding success of MAKINEN’s lean concept, the company has extended this to its other services. Taking only the very best practices and implementing them in furniture production and newbuild projects, MAKINEN is continuously improving its offering.

Not only does this approach benefit the customers, but its dedication to waste reduction also helps promote a more positive relationship with the environment.

Zeroing in on neutrality

Everything that is achieved by MAKINEN is done so with the environment in mind. As the first company in Finland to be awarded the CSR Performance Ladder Standard 3rd Level Certificate, MAKINEN is committed to maintaining this certification.

Inside marine 99

“We have a Sustainability Steering Group which is made up of MAKINEN employees, who have regular meetings to highlight areas that require improvement,” said Mr Mäkikalli . “All of which revolve around our CSR commitments, from social responsibility to environmental promises. These are then assigned a timeline for completion, and every goal achieved makes way for a new one.”

One of the goals currently fostered by MAKINEN pushes for scope one carbon neutrality by 2028. Following the company’s first official carbon footprint calculation in

2022, MAKINEN is using this as a base point to further improve its emissions until it achieves net zero.

“We are on the right path to accomplish our 2028 goals,” Mr Mäkikalli explained. “Even just having that initial awareness is really positive.”

Other sustainable commitments involve responsible sourcing. Last year, the company implemented its Supplier Code of Conduct. A guideline for all MAKINEN suppliers, this highlighted the company’s expectations (from an ethical and ecological standpoint). In line with this,

MAKINEN I PROFILE 100 Inside marine

the company aims to have the code signed by 80% of its supply chain as of the end of the 2023/2024 financial year.

As part of its commitment to becoming the industry benchmark, MAKINEN developed the IS Master Software in collaboration with partners. This software was initially created for the company’s cabin refurbishment projects and allows for precise planning and timely execution.

“The number of cabins can be 500 or 2,000,” said Mr Mäkikalli. “The figure doesn’t matter to us; we can easily scale up the project, especially with the implementation of our new software.”

Originally planned for use in 2020, the implementation of MAKINEN’s IS Master Software was halted due to Covid. With all its refurbishment projects on hold, the company continued to develop the system to ensure it continued to meet the evolving requirements of the marketplace. Once the cruise industry emerged from its two-year

slumber, MAKINEN’s software was ready to be put to work.

The company has just completed a project for CFC. Taking just over a month, this included renovation of 630 cabins and 18 public spaces. “One of our latest projects, the CFC Renaissance, is a very interesting example. Renaissance has given us a great opportunity to highlight our skill in public space renovation.”

Everything leads to one main objective for MAKINEN: the desire to positively influence the marine industry. “Our main goal for the future is to become the benchmark of our industry,” Mr Mäkikalli concluded. “And we will achieve that by continuing to provide premium solutions with pride, trust and quality assurance.

“The tourism industry has recovered well since Covid; people are wanting to travel the world and discover new places and cultures. It’s great to play a part in helping them achieve that.”

Inside marine 101

Vane Brothers Marine Safety and Services specialises in around-the-clock marine safety inspections all along the East Coast of the United States. General Manager, Marketing, Frank Hornig outlined how the company helps clients maintain Safety of Life at Sea, in conversation with Phil Nicholls.

102 Inside marine
VANE BROTHERS I PROFILE Frank Hornig, General Manager

Vane Brothers Marine Safety and Services (VBMSS) assists the owners and operators of commercial vessels and recreational craft along the US East Coast, sometimes traveling even farther for specific requests.

“We are a one-stop shop for ship owners to maintain, at the highest levels, the complete safety readiness and compliance of their vessels and crews,” said General Manager, Marketing, Frank Hornig. “We deal with every major shipping owner and manager from around the world when their vessels visit our region.”

The history of the parent company, Vane Brothers, stretches back 125 years. In 1898, Captain William Burke Vane and his brother,

Captain Allen P Vane, established a humble ship chandlery in Baltimore. Today, the company is a premier marine transportation provider that sets the standard of excellence in the maritime industry with modern tugboats and barges, highly trained crews, and a steadfast commitment to safety.

VBMSS was established by Vane Brothers in 1993 as a US Coast Guard-approved life raft service and inspection station in Baltimore, Maryland. Two years later, the company expanded by opening a second facility to the south, in Norfolk, Virginia.

Delivering safety at sea

VBMSS currently operates in the ports of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Wilmington (Delaware), Baltimore, Norfolk

Inside marine 103

(all Virginia ports), and Morehead City/Wilmington (North Carolina).

The company handles life rafts, immersion suits, inflatable life jackets and fire suppression equipment sales and service directly in all of these US East Coast ports. VBMSS keeps marine safety equip ment, apparel, pyrotechnics and some electronics in stock. Additionally, the company has manufacture- and class-approved lifeboat and davit service technicians available to travel to multiple Eastern US and Canadian, Gulf, and Caribbean ports.

“It’s worth noting that VBMSS has an important partnership with Survitec,” explained Mr Hornig. “We are Survitec’s LRE (extended-service life raft) service depot for the US East Coast.”

The Marine Safety and Services division’s expert Raft Technicians, Lifeboat and Davit Technicians, and Fire Technicians are kept in constant motion servicing a broad range of clients. This includes supporting Vane

Brothers’ 50 tugboats and 80 barges wherever the fleet is operating.

Lifeboat inspections conducted according to IMO and manufacturer’s guidelines are a vital safety service offered by VBMSS. According to Mike Ahern, General Manager, Operations: “Along with weekly and monthly checks performed by vessel crews (as required by SOLAS), inspections must also be completed by a factory-authorised technician each year and in greater detail at the five-year mark.”

This annual inspection involves reviewing the davit, winch, brakes, releasing gear, steering, rudder and engine, as well as ensuring complete food, water and other supplies are on board the lifeboat. VBMSS technicians also observe deployment of the lifeboat by the crew. The dedicated VBMSS

Inside marine 107

technicians conduct these reviews at any time of day or night.

“After the boat has been successfully tested,” Mr Ahern concluded, “and resecured to its stowed position – and as long as we can get wi-fi on the vessel –we generate the online-accessible factory certificate while onboard and issue it to the Captain then and there.”

Expert inspections

With experience in depth and an extensive portfolio of services, VBMSS has a distinct offering for clients, according to Mr Hornig: “Our ability to respond around the clock to requests for marine safety inspections and other customer needs is a definite advantage. Our worldwide customer base also benefits from the breadth of our territory - the fact that we are fully prepared to assist a ship owner or operator almost anywhere along the US East Coast.

“Other advantages include the strength of our relationships with our distributors

and manufacturers, and the fact that we hold a variety of manufacturer certifications and most major classsociety approvals.”

VBMSS is proudly certified and recognised by the American Bureau of Shipping, Bureau Veritas, DNV and Lloyd's Register. The company meets all US Coast Guard flag state and International Maritime Organisation (IMO) requirements. VBMSS is routinely audited by the manufacturers as well as the major class societies.

“The certifications we acquire aren’t just pieces of paper we frame for our wall,” Mr Hornig continued. “We take pride in earning them through in-depth training and a thorough understanding of the marine safety equipment we service.”

A serious responsibility

The world economy relies on the maritime industry, whether for transhipping thousands of tonnes of cargo, or simply to bring fish to market. All these vessels


need safety equipment, so VBMSS will always find customers.

“Global supply issues in recent years have impacted us as much as any service and equipment provider,” explained Mr Hornig. “As such, we have often been required to work twice as hard to ensure that deadlines were being met, but we did what we had to do. That’s what our customers have come to expect, and VBMSS is proud to have played a part in keeping America’s cargo moving.

“As some sort of ‘normalcy’ is restored throughout the world, we remain on a solid footing to continue delivering the best service available to our customers, ensuring that their vessels and crews are safe and compliant. 2023 is the 30th anniversary of Vane Brothers Marine Safety and Services, and we intend to be around for another 30 years, and beyond.”

There are great personal rewards to be found when working for a company that

directly saves lives, according to Mr Hornig: “We hope no one ever must face an emergency on the water, but if one comes up, our customers can rest assured that their vessels and crews are safe and compliant, thanks to the equipment and services we provide.”

Mr Hornig recalled a couple of years ago when, within several months of each other , one fishing boat took on water off the coast of Georgia and another capsized in North Carolina’s frigid Pamlico Sound. In both cases, the Coast Guard rescued crew members from life rafts that Vane Brothers Marine Safety and Services had inspected and packed.

“Those incidents illustrate why it is important for customers to seek out a company with the knowledge and experience that the VBMSS staff supplies,” he concluded. “We take our responsibility very seriously to ensure the safety and complianc e of the customers that come to us for assistance.”n

Inside marine 109
Neno Uljarevic Baltimore Shop Manager and Mike Ahern Operations Manager



L&M Seamasters is a well-established company in Limassol, Cyprus. It was founded in 1984, with the intention of providing the shipping industry with high-quality and efficient underwater services. These days, the company offers a range of services but its underwater operations remain the flagship service. General Manager Kimon Mavrou explained more to Hannah Barnett.

110 Inside marine

There is a lot on offer at L&M S eamasters , but underwater services are where the company started, and where it continues to make its mark.

“My father founded L&M Seamasters in 1984,” said General Manager Kimon Mavrou, “because he saw a gap in the market. We were the first professional underwater cleaning and diving company in Cyprus. My father had been working in Greece, which is a great force in maritime business. So, he came to Cyprus with the knowledge he gained in Greece and started L&M Seamasters. We have been developing our underwater work ever since.”

These days, the company enjoys almost 75-80% of the Cypriot market share and runs on average 10-15 underwater operations on vessels each month, offering subsurface welding and repairs, hull cleaning, propeller polishing, rudder clearance measurements and in-water surveys in lieu of a dry docking (UWILD).

“ We collaborate with Bureau Veritas, DNV, RINA, LLOYDS, ABS and other certification societies,” said Mr Mavrou. “We take care of a ship's hull, that is a large part of our business. And of course, some salvage and retrieval. There might be a component that we need to remove from the seafloor , like an old pipeline. We are very busy with underwater operations these days.”

Alongside underwater services, L&M Seamasters also operates offshore services, towing and salvage, crew transfers and delivery of provisions to vessels.

Inside marine 111
Kimon Mavrou General Manager
Inside marine 113

Investments in efficiency

With so much success in the field, it is no surprise that the company is dedicated to making its underwater services as efficient as they possibly can be. For instance, as Mr Mavrou revealed, a recent investment in a new brush cart for underwater cleaning could shave upto 20% off the time it takes to clean a ship’s hull.

“For a ship of around 200 metres, we usually need five to six hours to complete the hull cleaning, including propeller and rudder,” he explained. “We estimate that with this investment we are only going to need around four to five hours; and in shipping, timing is everything.”

As investments pay off, the speed at which the company produces results sometimes must be seen to be believed. “Clients can be amazed at the time we take to do jobs and the quality of them as well,” Mr Mavrou said. “I had a client that

114 Inside marine L&M SEAMASTERS I PROFILE

was almost a bit suspicious: he thought we couldn’t have thoroughly cleaned the vessel so quickly. But as soon as we showed him the before and after pictures he said: ‘Thank you very much. You have saved the ship valuable hours.”

The new brush cart is set to be aided by further investments into company efficiency. These include a new and more economical hydraulic machine, providing more power with less fuel and therefore delivering better results.

T he company is also investing into an improved telecommunications system for its underwater surveys. “This will provide better video quality, the sound will be clearer, the image will be crisper, and the colours will be brighter. It will improve the experience for both surveyors and clients,” said Mr Mavrou.

As well as investing into equipment, L&M Seamasters is hoping to expand its fleet –with one proviso: finding the right sort of tug.

“That is one of our future investment plans, to source multi-purpose tugs,” Mr Mavrou explained. “By which I mean, tugs that can be used for large underwate r operations as well as tug services. We are in the market for expansion. Of course, nowadays the market is a bit shaky. So, we won’t rush it. We will find the right vessel, for the right price.”

Business relationships

L&M Seamasters does well to set itself apart, especially in its selling points of speed and efficiency. “We are the fastest

Inside marine 115

company in the sector of underwater cleaning and polishing,” Mr Mavrou said. “Our personnel are very experienced, very well trained and very professional. We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We work fast, we work hard, we work honestly, and the results speak for themselves.”

That said, Mr Mavrou was also keen to emphasise that the company enjoys an excellent relationship with its competitors, embracing collaboration above competition.

“We always try to help each other,” he said. “It is satisfying to share knowledge between those that are in the same area of business. And especially in a small place like Cyprus. It’s better to share knowledge, instead of fighting for jobs and getting in arguments. We don't have

issues with any competitors, we actually cooperate on many jobs, especially if a particularly specialised one comes up.”

In the same vein, Mr Mavrou explained that though L&M Seamasters has a robust relationship with its supply chain, it is managed with a personal touch: “We try to form an individual relationship, alongside a professional one. We like to know the person we are working with. To do this, you must have constant communication and understand what you need from one another.

“If the product that you’re offering is good, clients are going to come back. And if you’re honest and direct with communic ation and understand their needs, and they understand what you require from them, then you can have a very healthy

L&M SEAMASTERS I PROFILE 116 Inside marine

relationship. We believe in building personal relationships with our suppliers, as we would with our friends.”

Vision for the future

With communication, diligence and honest relationships at the forefront of all its work, L&M Seamasters is very much open for business.

“We are keen to work with any ship-owning or ship-management company,” said Mr Mavrou. “Our doors are always open to come and see how we operate, how we work, our results and our success rate. We want to demonstrate how little time we need to complete an operation.”

It is clear the company is on an upward trajectory: and it looks set to continue in that direction, expanding underwater services further and investing into a larger tug fleet. Just as important, though, is to succeed without losing sight of the core values that got L&M Seamasters where it is today.

“We want to improve our technology in order to keep growing as a company,” concluded Mr Mavrou. “If there is a chance of us getting our brand abroad to other ports, then we would be happy. But if we do get bigger, it is vital that we keep hold of our company culture. That means our belief in staying honest and staying humble: and our principle of always doing work properly, and not trying to get through the easy way. We never cut corners.”

Inside marine 117

Themagic design

118 Inside marine ARCH-MID I PROFILE of

Established in 1970, the ARCH-MID firm of architects has broad expertise in the field, along with a special part of the practice devoted to naval architecture and the interior design of passenger and cruise ships. Owner Paraschos Karavatakis shared his ongoing passion for the industry, in conversation with Phil Nicholls.

The ARCH-MID firm of architects has over 50 years of experience, successfully delivering a wide portfolio of projects, producing a mixture of technical and aesthetic solutions. Founder and Owner Paraschos Karavatakis has an enduring enthusiasm for the design process.

“I am pleased when, for the creation of a new building or a new construction of an old boat, I start from scratch and have to imagine it complete,” he explained.

In 2011, ARCH-MID was transformed from a company to a consulting firm with the same name and purpose. The firm’s

Inside marine 119

office is located in Kifissia, considered one of the best suburbs of Athens, only 30 minutes by train from the centre of the city.

“Our office is fully equipped with modern technological machines and design programs,” said Mr Karavatakis. “This is the classic way an architect should work.”

Diverse portfolio

ARCH-MID’s wide ranging portfolio includes hotels, casinos, office buildings, private residences and public buildings. The firm has also worked on the restoration of listed buildings and the gentrification of urban public spaces, such as squares and waterfronts.

The firm combines extensive experience with impeccable design. This creates a unique way in which ARCH-MID approaches every aspect of a project.

The team’s ability to conduct project management and technical-economic studies further provides the firm’s pro jects with distinct advantages.

A special part of the practice is naval architecture and the interior design of passenger cruise ships. ARCH-MID also offers design services for yachts, with every project conducted in collaboration with the sailor and the shipwright of each vessel.

“As architects, the principle we try to express through our partnership with each shipowner is what we call Architecture on Ships,” Mr Karavatakis explained. “I don't mean only the interior dressing, but also our participation in the reconstruction

120 Inside marine ARCH-MID I PROFILE

of the profile of the boat. We also design the layout of the spaces on a vessel to be fully operational in a secure environment.

“This entire process is a combination of two factors: functionality and aesthetics.”

A flagship project

After five decades of operation, ARCH-MID has established itself as a research office with prestige, honesty and knowledge of all aspects of architecture. On the basis of this outstanding reputation, the Greek Naval General Staff assigned ARCH-MID the project of upgrading the flagship of the Hellenic Navy floating museum AVEROF.

Mr Karavatakis acknowledged the honour of being awarded this project: “This assignment, for me and my partners, has been the pinnacle of our professional careers!”

This prestigious project focused on the restoration of the GEORGIOS AVEROF, an armoured cruiser with a length of 140 metres and a width of 21 metres.

The GEORGIOS AVEROF served as the flagship of the Hellenic Navy for over 40 years, witnessing several naval battles

and saw action in both World Wars and the Balkan War.

The cruiser now serves as a floating museum in the Trokadero marina in Athens. Following the work by ARCH-MID, visitors can tour the sailors’ cabins, the officers’ and captain's cabins, the kitchen, and much more. Displays within the ship tell the extensive story of the maritime history of Greece.

To maintain the reputation of ARCH-MID, the firm works hard to stay familiar with all the latest applications of modern technology within the sector. This process also involves understanding the current developments in the construction materials the firm is expected to adopt as part of its designs.

When it comes to the materials used for a project, the sustainability of these elements must be considered. ARCH-MID carefully researches this aspect of a project, always taking into account the relevant technical specifications from both the owner of the vessel and any applicable legislation. All these factors, and more, are diligently studied as part of every design assignment.

Inside marine 121

“We also consider the cost of purchasing the materials,” said Mr Karavatakis, “along with their exact use in the project. ARCH-MID always works in close cooperation with the manufacturers, for elements such as false ceilings, lighting and air conditioning. We have the obligation to comply with a client’s wishes, but also the ability to intervene on the basis of the extensive personal experience we have built through the years.”

An optimistic future

The project management aspect of ARCH-MID’s portfolio of capabilities is very much a cooperative process, according to Mr Karavatakis: “We work closely with all our suppliers to achieve the ultimate collective goal of implementing the project for the best possible outcome.”

Looking ahead, the biggest challenge for ARCH-MID relates to the continued supply of qualified architects. “The largest anxiety for us is that there are

ARCH-MID I PROFILE 122 Inside marine

no more specialised technical schools in Greece,” explained Mr Karavatakis. “These schools arouse the interest of young people to follow a career in architecture or engineering.

“We need to continue encouraging young people into these careers, including marine architecture on ships, to ensure that we leave these cultural heritage techniques for the new generation.”

Despite these reservations, Mr Karavatakis remains positive: “I am one of those people who personally look to the future with optimism. I believe in young people for the development of the marine profession, in whatever branch they choose, because the sea is always attractive to the young.”

In parallel with this optimism, Mr Karavatakis retains a passion for the work of ARH-MID. “The creation of a new building or a new construction of an old boat is not at all easy for the designer, who must take

into account all the potential difficulties to solve - project requirements, ship ownership, legislation, affordable costs, market research etc,” he concluded.

“But this is also the magic of creation, that we are called upon to implement from scratch. This magic is exactly what fascinates me, and what I try to convey to the world around me.” n

Inside marine 123

Kontena Nasional Berhad (KN) is Malaysia’s premier logistics company Boasting an experienced workforce of over 600 personnel, an extensiv fleet of prime movers and trailers, a vast storage capacity and state-of the-art IT infrastructure, the company is evolving to meet the requirement of the modern industry. Hannah Barnett spoke to CEO Nik Muzani Nik Abd Aziz, Division Head of Freight Forwarding Kirawan Zeiswar Kamarolzaman and Branch Manager of KN Johor Saffari Mohamad.

According to Nik Muzani Nik Abdul Aziz, CEO, KN’s longevity is one of the elements that make it stand out: “We are not the new kids on the block; we’ve been in the business 52 years. We are the pioneer in Malaysia’s haulage. And these days, with our freight forwarding arm, we are positioning ourselves to become a premier supply chain logistics solution company – not just in Malaysia but globally.”

History and facilities

Internationally, KN offers an extensive network of agents with a presence in Asia, Europe, America and Australia. The company

began operations in 1971 when containerisa tion was introduced to Malaysia. Since the it has expanded its business from contain haulage to international freight forwardin warehousing, distribution, supply chain sol tions, cold chain solutions and Halal logistic KN became part of the MMC Group in 2016

“Our operation is based throughout Malaysia,” said Mr Nik Muzani. “We have 21 offices across the Malaysian peninsula. We have 500,000 square feet of warehouses with a total storage area of 3.7 million square feet.” Alongside this alread robust infrastructure, a new 100,000 square foot warehouse powered by solar

124 Inside marine
Inside marine 125 an, er ng, ucs. 6. dy y. ve fts dul n

panels is under construction in Port Klang, in the southwest of the country. It is set for completion by the first half of 2024. The company currently operates 150 prime movers with over 900 clients throughout Malaysia. “Last year alone, we handled 160,000 TEUs,” Mr Nik Muzani said. This strong growth is complemented by an equally healthy turnover. In 2022, the company turned over 155 million Ringgit, the equivalent of $34.5 million.

Decarbonisation and efficiency

Moving in tandem with the Malaysian government’s direction and initiative, KN has embarked on an increased efficiency plan. Part of the strategy includes refurbishing its fleet with more fuel-efficient vehicles. Recent additions include new Volvo and

Scania prime mover units, designed to produce less emissions. As a result, more than half of KN’s haulage fleet of prime movers are now compliant with the EU’s carbon emissions standards.

“We’ve been in the haulage business since 1971,” Mr Nik Muzani explained. “So naturally some of our equipment was on the older side. That is why we have retired more than half of our prime movers and bought a few newer ones that comply with EU standards.”

In the global push towards decarbonisation, KN is also adopting other sustainable practices, like optimising the efficiency of its transportation routes, preventing unnecessary journeys (so-called ‘futile movement’), and improving fleet management to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

126 Inside marine KONTENA


Gröninger Cleaning Systems is a globally operating supplier and producer of cleaning systems.

To clean ISO tanks, Gröninger supplies a state-of-the-art four-bay-cleaning system with a steam generator and two rotor jets. In addition, a latex circulation unit and a dryer are supplied. Both systems are heated by electricity, making them completely sustainable.

Gröninger is proud to partner with the esteemed Kontena Group.

“We are setting up a new system called Kontena Nasional Integrated Digital System or KIDS, for short,” said Kirawan Zeiswar Kamarolzaman, Division Head of Freight Forwarding. “It is a new, integrated digital system which includes GPS, route optimisation and planning software and telematics. It will help to streamline the journeys our fleet make.”

ISO tank cleaning project

One of KN’s most innovative recent investments is an ISO Tank Cleaning Depot in Johor, located in the south of Peninsula Malaysia. Using a complete cleaning ecosystem from Gröninger Cleaning Systems in Holland, the automated depot is capable of cleaning up to 15 ISO tanks a day.

“The new depot is part of an exciting era for KN,” said Saffari Mohamad, Branch Manager of KN Johor. “When doing this sort

Inside marine 127
editorial mention

of cleaning manually, an ISO tank can take up to two hours to complete. This new stateof-the-art system will only take 30 minutes per tank. Plus, innovations in reliable and complete wastewater and water treatment systems make this facility highly efficient, cost effective and eco-friendly.”

The water treatment system is designed to recycle all water collected and produce zero wastage, ensuring any potentially hazardous discharge from the cleaning operation is treated and managed in accordance with the Department of Environment’s regulations. KN has collaborated with Aliran Ihsan Resources Berhad (AIR Berhad) for the venture: another com pany within the MMC Group.

“This is the beauty of being associated with a bigger conglomerate,” Mr Nik Muzani said. “Because we are part of the leading utilities and infrastructure group of companies in Malaysia, there are a lot of resources and technologies that we can tap into. Our sister company AIR Berhad has a sophisticated energy technology that allows us to recycle the water without having to pump it into the environment. Overall, the ISO tank cleaning project is a first-of-its-kind operation in Malaysia and really sets us apart from our competitors.”

A prosperous future

Working closely with suppliers and partners is critical to the success of any logistics company. As Mr Nik Muzani explained, KN cooperates with its network to share insights, establish clear expectations, provide support and build trust, to create long-term business relationships.


“KN collaborates with our suppliers and partners to identify areas for process improvement,” he continued. “This includes reducing transit times, improving delivery accuracy and reducing waste in the supply chain. By working in partnership to implement these improvements both parties benefit from increased efficiency and cost savings.”

There are, of course, some challenges on the horizon for KN. The logistics industry is undergoing rapid technological change, with innovations such as artificial intelligence and automation disrupting traditional logistics practices. Keeping up with these changes and investing in the right technology poses one significant challenge for KN.

But where any successful company identifies a problem, it also finds a solution: “The challenges of today’s market highlight the importance of agility, innovation, and customer-centricity in the logistics industry,” Mr Nik Muzani reflected, “and KN is set to continue evolving and adapting to

meet the changing needs of its customers and the market.”

Attracting and retaining skilled employees is also essential for the success of any company. KN is dedicated to competing with other logistics providers and industries to attract and retain talent with the right skills and experience.

“I believe that the development of our human capital and talent, alongside advancements in tech solutions, will enable KN to leap into the future,” concluded Mr Nik Muzani. “This means us realising our full potential as a niche solutions provider in Malaysian logistics.

“The changes we have already undergone – like the acquisition of new and more efficient prime movers, the development of our integrated digital system, the launch of our ISO tank cleaning depot and the various training programmes for our team members – have all contributed to a revived sense of joy in coming to work. Seeing our team buoyed by this new liveliness has sparked a renewed excitement in us all.”

Inside marine 129

With more than a century’s worth of experience, Rheinhold & Mahla has developed a reputation for excellence within the maritime industry. During an exclusive interview with Inside Marine magazine, CEO Vollrath Schuster explained why R&M is the go-to-choice for turnkey outfitting services. Report by Imogen

130 Inside marine
interior The

With an eye for detail, Rheinhold & Mahla creates fully furnished masterpieces (implementing scrupulous outfitting services and insulation expertise). Thanks to R&M, the interiors of vessels have never looked so good.

“Companies want the ease of turnkey solutions and a total range of services that meet their needs,” said CEO Vollrath Schuster. “Of course, our competi tors offer this as well, but not to the level that we do. We even manufacture and supply our own products. In doing so, we can track every step of the process, which is incredibly important.”

Founded in 1887 as an insulation company, Rheinhold & Mahla has since diversified into interior outfitting and furniture construction. Headquartered in Germany, the R&M Group operates globally with its various locations and takes a market lead in Europe and Asia.

Inside marine 131

Adding value at every step

From product development to maintenance, R&M provides customer support at every stage of the value chain; taking an empty space and turning it into a plush, high-quality cabin or public area. Its portfolio boasts wall and ceiling panels, A- and B-doors, floors and furnishing, among others; R&M even manufactures prefabricated wet units which arrive at their new home ready for use.

“Material and equipment supply can be a door opener for our turnkey services,” Mr Schuster said. “For example, if an owner is interested in galley equipment, maybe he is also interested in a redesign for that galley, or even our new build services. There are big opportunities to begin as a supplier and finish with a performance contract. It is not something that happens in every case, or even immediately; but over time our customers see the advantage of it.”


R&M works hard to develop and adapt its offering to provide customers with the very best solutions. Most recently, the company has developed a new wall panel for those who desire a more sustainable option.

“ Earlier this year, we successfully developed a new panel for our customers which is lightweight,” Mr Schuster said: The aluminium panel allows our customers to save weight. Lighter vessels use less fuel, so the panel is also highly economical and more sustainable.”

Like any R&M product, the aluminium panel has gone through rigorous testing to ensure robustness and reliability. The product is also fire rated and certified, providing customers with reassurance that they are investing in a product that is reliable and safety standard compliant.

Positive partnerships

With customer satisfaction a priority, in 2022 R&M embarked on a joint venture with long-term partner, Aluminox (a Greek galley equipment manufacturer) . Having previously worked together on a serious of Stena Line ferries over the last five years, R&M was confident in Aluminox’s abilities.

“We have seized the opportunity to come together with Aluminox in a common venture,” Mr Schuster explained. “We can incorporate its equipment into our turnkey services, which is a huge benefit for both of us. That’s why we invest in these joint ventures – because we can join forces to really help improve the overall service we provide to our customers.

Inside marine 133

“On top of that, those partnerships are an important element of shipbuilding in general. Everyone needs to trust each other, otherwise, there would be no room to succeed. Especially in these uncertain times, where market prices and delivery times are under pressure. Having this cooperation and support really builds that trust.”

R&M has extensive experience outfitting newbuilds and completing entire vessel renovation projects. One of the company’s most recent projects will be completed with Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding in China within this year. Outfitting the country’s first locally made large cruise ship, with more than 14,000 square metres of space, R&M exemplifies exactly why its subsidiary in China is the number one turnkey outfitter for cruise ships and ferries.

A team like no other

In line with the company’s commitment to creating a more sustainable working environment, R&M provides flexible hours and hybrid working.

“We are dedicating a lot of time to employee welfare,” Mr Schuster explained. “The shipbuilding industry is very intensive, and we are committed to making

their lives easier, assessing the ways in which we can personally improve as a company to really give them the best work experience.”

Having pledged to improve social sustainability, R&M offers all its staff opportunity to grow their skills with in-house training. Not a fan of generalised widespread training, Mr Schuster prefers to provide employees with more personal, one-to-one educational days.

“For me, each employee is special and deserves that one-to-one time,” Mr Schuster said. “It may be a bit more expensive, but I think the result for the company and for the employee is much greater.”

This dedication to staff extends to potential employees as well. Just like any industry, the shipbuilding sector has witnessed a shortage in entry-level employees; however, R&M has adapted to this gracefully, expanding its job requirements to encompass degrees that relate to the role, including mechanical engineers, building engineers, developers and architects.

“It can be difficult to convince students that this is the right path for them,” said Mr Schuster. “So, the pool of people to pick from within shipbuilding is already smaller compared to other industries.


However, those that are convinced that shipbuilding is for them tend to enter the industry filled with a lot more passion, and that really makes all the difference to the work they create.”

Drawing from his ample experience in the industry, Mr Schuster explained why shipbuilding is such a passion-filled industry: “The ship building sector is extraordinary. You meet so many people who are all warm and friendly. It’s a much

more personal industry, because you are physically working alongside the people who are living in the vessels, making an active difference to their home away from home. They get so excited for the changes we make and that is a real driving factor in this business.

“Ships and the sea are synonymous with passion,” he concluded. “We are essentially building small cities, and that is amazing.” n

Inside marine 135
Vollrath Schuster, CEO

seven seas, five oceans, one voice


dredge yard bawat adria winch barlage aka energy systems harbour enterprise inrotech lion marine group marine service noord rice propulsion talleres mecanicos galicia

i M

Concerned that dredging’s conventional cutting systems are disturbing the environment, Dutch innovator Dredge Yard is launching a revolutionary, high-efficiency alternative. “It’s a complete solution to environmentally friendly cutting,” said CEO Basel Yousef. Colin Chinery reports.

138 Inside marine

r edging’s ecological good guy/bad guy image is set to change to environmental saviour as leading innovator Dredge Yard begins rolling out a breakthrough technology. The Rotterdam headquartered company designs, engineers, builds and supplies small to medium-sized dredgers and dredge components with the aim of improving the current dredging process and its environmental impact.

“Our vision is to continuously improve and adapt to new technologies and methodologies to create dredging equipment that’s not only cost-effective, but also environmentally friendly,” said CEO Basel Yousef.

Dredging’s benefits are well established – sediment and debris removal from rivers and harbours for example, and land reclamation and coastal protection. But dredging is also on the environmental hit list - pollution, contaminated soils, damaged fish spawning grounds and riverbank destabilisation.

In most dredging operations, spillage results in losing as much as 80% of cut material. But Dredge Yard’s latest innovation – the Cutting System - a unique and game-changing electric closed

Dblade cutter head – will reduce spillage and turbidity, while increasing dredger productivity. In short – a complete solution to high efficiency, environmentally friendly cutting.

Founding goals

Innovation, along with client focus, fast turn round and flexibility, were founding principles when Mr Yousef co-founded the company back in 2010. Working for another dredging supplier, he had seen a widespread lack of flexibility and client-orientation.

“And that’s extremely annoying since dredging needs customised operations, customised equipment,” he explained. “And to achieve that, clients need a flexible, rapid-response supplier.

“ We took off very quickly. Customers started coming to us asking for customised equipment, and a way of doing things that was different from what they had been getting from their established suppliers.

“Basically, we were following standard customer needs. We didn't have the arrogance to tell them, ‘this is the way you do it.’ So, we won more and more orders and we haven’t been still since. And with offices in the Netherlands and United

Inside marine 139
Inside marine 141
142 Inside marine DREDGE YARD I PROFILE
“We have a vision of a dredging industry, which offers a safe, healthy, accident-free workplace”

Arab Emirates, we are well-positioned to serve customers around the world.

“Our great team of engineers in Dubai and The Netherlands were part of Dredge Yard from the very beginning, and are available to work anywhere from the Middle East and Asia to Africa.”

End use applications range from canal sand channels, marinas, harbours, reservoirs and industrial settling ponds, to environmental and mine tailing remova l and dredging.

Among worldwide projects was the delivery of a customised Eco 200 electric cutter suction dredger for chloride brine mining in Canada and a multipurpose cutter suction dredger 400 for improving water quality in a water dam in Hungary. Dredge Yard is also currently building a cutter suction dredger 650 for central Asia and Cutter suction dredger 450 for Africa.

In-house powerhouse

A standard dredge line exists of a portfolio of six auger and cutter dredges that can operate at several different depths; each assembled and tested in-house at the Rotterdam facility or with on-location engineers. These are backed by strong technical client support, including maintenance and crew training. Beside those dredgers, customised dredgers are supplied in co-operation with different yards worldwide. For components, a wide range of products in standard type or customised are delivered, such as dredge pumps, ball joints, valves and cutters.

“We are committed to promoting safety, and we do our best to ensure safety for those who will be operating our dredgers,” Mr Yousef said. “Our engineers are involved in the entire tailor-made process; from the moment

Inside marine 143

a customer comes with a first inquiry right up to commissioning and production.”

If quality control is central to the Dredge Yard methodology, so too is competitive pricing, according to Mr Yousef: “We understand that cost is a major consideration when purchasing new equipment, and we strive to offer our customers the best possible value for their investment at the most competitive price possible.”

Electric close blade cutterhead

The new cutter emerged over years of intensive engineering, FEM and computer simulation. The full-scale model prototype was launched two years ago, followed by further on-going testing.

Dredge Yard’s CEO described the background: “Sometime after our formation,

we thought we should come up with something to improve dredging. We investigated the dredging market and noted that the conventional cutting systems were working inefficiently and disturbing the environment.

“One of the major issues is that they spill a lot of material, and so five years ago we began developing what is now the new, patented system: the electric closed blade.”

By combining the close blades with a hollow shaft and an electric ring motor, the result is a state-of-the-art cutter, offering, as Mr Yousef described:

DREDGE YARD I PROFILE 144 Inside marine


“a complete solution to environmentally friendly cutting.”

Now the first two units o f the system – which can be used with any type of dredger and retrofitted to existing dredgers – are scheduled for delivery to a USA customer by the end of this year.

Greener dredging

“Dredge Yard strives for a greener future where dredging will not cause any negative impacts on the nature and its inhabitants,” said Mr Yousef. “As a result, we are constantly researching the newest technologies in order to design and engineer more efficient, greener dredging solutions.”

Next year should see the new electric cutter showcasing at events. But orthodoxy and convention run deep in the dredging sector, and Mr Yousef concedes that many operators are likely to wait for it to become more operational before committing themselves.

“We have customers who are extremely interested, and we are talking to some with the aim of implementing this

technology,” he explained.

“Unfortunately, our market is rather conservative, and in the main they want to see it more in the market before they adopt it.”

If Dredge Yard is an industry front runner, Mr Yousef dismissed any suggestion that it is engaged in a competitive sprint: “We don't see ourselves in race with others. In fact, we want to engage in cooperation with others, even competitors, to improve dredging and minimise its impact on the environment.

“The new electric close blades cutter is our patent, but we will be offering this widely across the market and we are open to work with any other company or competitor to support the environment.

“Dredging is an activity unique to its environment, from soil types to weather and hydrographical conditions. Therefore , we believe that every project requires a different solution, and we are here to adapt to it.

“We have a vision of a dredging industry, which offers a safe, healthy, accident-free workplace,” Mr Yousef concluded, “improving the environment and living standards, and without causing harm to the surrounding habitats and nature.

“We need to make progress, move forward and work together to improve this industry.” n

Inside marine 145

A natural solution to ballast


Bawat, a Danish ballast water management innovator, offers a sustainable solution to ballast water that does not involve UV lighting or electro-chlorination. “There are no challenging waters, only ballast water management systems challenged by different types of waters. Our system works wherever and whenever - in all waters,” declared CCO Jakob Olsson. Report by Andy Probert.

146 Inside marine

There are less than 18 months to an International Maritime Organisation compliance deadline for vessels to live up to discharge criteria with ballast water treatment systems. These processes combat the spread of deadly pathogens and invasive species in the form of algae and plankton (Phyto and Zoo plankton). Ship owners and operators are now feeling the heat on making the right choice for their fleets.

Bawat, a Danish solutions firm, has created a unique, filter-less, single-pass pasteurisation system to kill biological pathogens in ballast water making it a cleaner, greener, non-chemical and more effective innovation for any water

type compared to those that use UV light or electro-chlorination (EC), the most pop ular systems on the market today.

Challenging waters

“The discussion in the ballast water management industry is very much about ‘challenging waters’ – that relates to how effective a system is in different types of water,” explained CCO Jakob Olsson. “A system with a UV light cannot work efficiently if the water is highly turbid.

“Similarly, an EC system needs salt to make its process work. Luckily, in oceans, you have saltwater, but come to rivers which are fresh or brackish water, there’s a problem. The chemical process is compromised, and you need a brine tank to add salty water to

Inside marine 147
148 Inside marine

make it work. Low water temperatures are also a challenge for EC systems.”

Many of these require a double pass through the system for full compliance. This increases complexity, and the zoo-plankton filters often used can be challenging to operate in port-based sea environments.

“The point here is that when you do pasteurisation, there is no such thing as challenging waters,” Mr Olsson explained. “When you heat water and kill species, it does not matter whether the water is turbid, brackish, fresh, salty, cold or hot.

If anything, it’s the ballast water systems that are challenged by these different water types.”

Bawat’s pasteurisation system was initially met with scepticism. By 2020, the innovation was among the first to be approved under the newly-toughened mandatory requirements of the IMO’s Code for Approval of Ballast Water Management Systems.

At the heart of a Bawat system is the pasteurising unit where ballast water is heated to a specific temperature, which along with a retention time ensures the

150 Inside marine BAWAT I PROFILE
Jakob Olsson, CCO

efficient elimination of all living organisms. Easy to install and simple to operate, the net-zero energy-consuming system is built from standard components found on board vessels and familiar to crews. Within the unit’s regeneration section, the already treated ballast water pre-heats the incoming water resulting in low power requirements and high energy efficiency. The system comes with zero operating costs when utilising waste heat from the vessel. The system is also US Coast Guard-approved.

“As one of the most sustainable treatment systems on the market, it gives customers confidence that Bawat has a product for their future needs,” Mr Olsson said.

“We are like a small Chihuahua barking up at the big competitive German Shepherds of the market,” Mr Olsson commented ruefully. “But our aim is that small will win out.”

A triple solution

Bawat now has three legs to the business: its permanent system on board vessels, a mobile offshore and barge option as well as providing ballast water as a service (BaaS) in which a mobile unit is operated on land or on a vessel in a port by a contractor.

“We faced challenging times across 2020 due to lockdown and the inability to meet customers face-to-face,” continued Mr Olsson. “But we have expanded, and several vessels in Europe, Asia and North America have a Bawat system onboard, with many more coming in the pipeline, including our first bitumen carrier and cruise vessel.

“The system can be fitted to most vessel types. Our ideal target vessel has the right amount of heat available compared to the amount of ballast water they need to treat.

If you look at our competitors’ systems, these come at an operational cost, both

Inside marine 151

for UV bulbs, chemicals, filter elements and maintenance: whereas ours is completely OpEx-free, designed with marine components.”

With a staff of 20 in Copenhagen and a comprehensive global agent network, Bawat expects a significant growth in 2023 compared to previous years. “Activity on the commercial side of the business is high, and the increase in quoting activities across all three business legs in Bawat are at an all-time high,” said Mr Olsson.

This was further boosted when its partner Freedom Ballast executed the first US port third-party BaaS service in 2022. Using a mobile, containerised system from Bawat, the job was per formed for a customer in Louisiana for multiple vessels.

“With Freedom Ballast, we expect to place more hardware and facilities across the US in the coming years to service an increasing demand for planned and contingency ballast water treatment jobs,” explained Mr Olsson. “As enforcement gets tighter

BAWAT I PROFILE 152 Inside marine

for vessels to live up to USCG discharge criteria in ballast water, we see increased demand for ballast water reception services. Bawat is ideally suited to serve this market.”

Mr Olsson raised the point that there has been high focus on decreasing the amount of greenhouse gases from engines, while preventing the invisible threat from invasive species from ballast water has not had the same focus. Flag and port authorities should step up and do more frequent inspections on the vessels to determine whether the ballast water systems are working or not, and that can only be done by testing the treated ballast water.

There are large fleets globally that are yet to install or retrofit a ballast water

system, Mr Olsson stressed: “According to industry reports, of those systems that are already in place, at least a third are likely to be operationally deficient or have already failed the ballast water convention’s discharge criteria. So there needs to be a more rigorous approach and fuller audit of these systems.”

Mr Olsson highlighted how Bawat’s focus is gradually moving towards the new build space: retrofits will however, continue in the years to come as well. “We are building relations worldwide, as well as developing our BaaS as it will become a growing market in which reception services will turn into a global need once the IMO Convention is fully implemented,” he concluded.

Inside marine 153

TO FIT Winches designed

Adria Winch, a Croatian-based manufacturer and supplier of deck machinery, is facing a significant transition in its plans to upscale production, foster new clients and surge into new territories. CEO Hrvoje Pupačić is tasked with restoring the fire and ambition of a business celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2023. “There has never been a more important time for the company than now,” he said, in a discussion with Andy Probert.

154 Inside marine

Hrvoje Pupačić is a man on a mission t o bring the good times flowing back to Adria Winch. At a time when the Croatian winch manufacturer has seen its strong Russian market evaporate into the mists of war, the CEO has embarked on a strategy to foster new clients and diversify in new directions and countries to bring the brand name roaring back to world attention.

His high-energy approach is akin to a startup entrepreneur’s enthusiasm to get the business rolling, no matter what. Under his 12-month tenure, the focus was primarily on expanding into markets all around the world. He has travelled to the Middle and Far East to raise its profile, and is seriously wanting to strengthen its distribution network in the Americas.

Inside marine 155
156 Inside marine

The company’s owners, marine engineers who are now in their 70s, set up a small-scale concern near Split in 1993 to design and manufacture small winches for their own private boats. Over time, the company grew and established itself as a winch supplier in the early 2000s, primarily to markets in Russia and Norway.

Adria Winch built up a renowned name in customised anchor and mooring winches , anchor and mooring capstans, A-frames, towing winches, towing pins, hydraulic power units, and various special solutions for maritime and offshore projects.

Evolution to revolution Projects continued to flow through its doors. By the end of 2019, this included anchor mooring equipment for four-double ended car passenger ferries at Remontowa Shipyard in Poland, specialised winches for a Russian freezer trawler and

custom design equipment for a 385mlong floating salmon farm in Norway.

Mr Pupačić was already aware of Adria Winch through his career in purchasing and supply chain directorships in the Croatian shipbuilding industry when he took a call from the owners that has since transformed his life.

“They asked me to come aboard as supply chain director amid a reorganisation,” he said. “When I began making recommendations – the need to shake up engineering and optimising processes and solutions – they came to the idea of making me CEO and running the company.”

Since his appointment in 2022, he has set about changing the company’s focus, culture, energies and outlook. Business growth increased by 20% in 2022 compared to 2021, and Mr Pupačić was able to stabilise the company: “We had signed contracts and were negotiating

158 Inside marine ADRIA WINCH I PROFILE

projects with clients in Russia, and everything was looking good. Then we lost the entire Russian market due to the 2022 conflict in Ukraine.”

This event heralded a massive and immediate change in focus at Adria Winch to other markets, including the Middle and Far East, and the Americas.

Bouncing back

This spurred him to reach out to new contacts, and that pivot will enable the company to grow by 35% in 2023. “I see this as a risk because I don't want to increase the sales volume at a rate which would

potentially be too high,” explained Mr Pupačić. “Ideally, my goal is to be able to pick and choose the contracts we work on; but rebuilding the Adria Winch brand is necessary.”

The company is currently tackling a multitude of contracts for a range of vessels, including fishing vessels, dredgers, tankers, tugboats, floating docks and loading systems for yachts.

Mr Pupačić outlined how Adria Winch’s anchor mooring winches offer chain dimensions of between 20mm to 87mm, with a pull up to 350kN: “That range positions us ideally in the middle of the

Inside marine 159

market.” The company now employs 110 people at its 1,200sqm manufacturing plant, with ongoing machine and engineering modernisations.

While mainly serving maritime, oil and gas, subsea, defence and energy clients, it also has engineering capabilities in civil engineering. “Our production capacity is ideally flexible, so we can diversify and do other fabrication projects,” he said.

Ship-related winch products claim around 85% of its business and 15% of construction, nuclear and other industries. “Exports represent 95 per cent of the business because the Croatian shipbuilding industry is in dire straits,” Mr Pupačić continued.

In recent months, the company has designed and manufactured complete solutions for a floating dock project in Turkey that consisted of trolley winches , trolleys, electric mooring capstans, HPUs, electric cabinets and pedestals. Before that, it completed several major winch

projects for live fish carriers at Larsnes Mek, Myklebust Verft AS, Sefine shipyard, and a couple of ferry projects at Tersan shipyard. It is due to deliver installation winches for an Italian company and complete tender boat systems and winches for two yachts in Vietnam.

“The yachting sector is one that offers a lot of potential and is a niche that we are keen on,” Mr Pupačić said. “I want clients to realise that Adria Winch is a reliable, sound and trustworthy partner in their value supply chain.”

Adria Winch is now eyeing network opportunities in the Middle East and Asia and is keen to establish contacts for a hard push into the North and South Americas.

Quality through and through

“In 2023, our data analytics show business market share is 45 per cent in Turkey, 35 per cent in Norway and 10 per cent in Italy, ” explained Mr Pupačić. “But what if something happens, such as the recent

ADRIA WINCH I PROFILE 160 Inside marine

earthquakes in Turkey? My goal is to diversify and open to new markets to avoid the risk of losing business.”

The main challenges are maintaining steady growth and overcoming supply chain issues, such as lengthening delivery times of machine parts from suppliers, he said: “Operating in new markets is not only a challenge but an opportunity. We know our product quality is exceptional, but we must win clients’ trust, and competition is very tough.”

Mr Pupačić zeroed in on the need to compromise and good communication that drives customer relations: “Our focus is on quality relationships and service. It’s like a magic circle to keep the suppliers happy, and Adria will not deal with cheap brands. Our quality underpins the safety that our clients want from our winches and products.”

On the company’s 30th anniversary, Mr Pupačić said the milestone had been marked with an internal event for the staff “Adria Winch would not be here without their hard work and commitment: from the cleaning crew to the production staff. I wanted to make them feel part of a big family and help us push on.

“Our motto is ‘Design to Fit Purpose’ and goes to the heart of what we do: offering customised designs and modifying products to suit client demands,” Mr Pupačić concluded: “Our sales team has jokingly pledged to open a bottle of champagne with each repeat project that Adria Winch contracts without any modification.”

“Adria’s adaptability will carry it into many different markets and continents as I seek to cement its name as a brand to be trusted.” n

Inside marine 161
Hrvoje Pupačić, CEO



Barlage GmbH is prolific in the steel industry. The German company specialises in designing, manufacturing and delivering oversize welded structures such as pressure vessels, reactors, tanks and heat exchangers. Whether it is large components, special devices or production for conventional construction, Barlage has a solution. André Schöning, General Manager, explained more about what the company does to Hannah Barnett.

162 Inside marine

When the company was founded back in 1963, Barlage was a sheet metal construction business, mainly manufacturing dust filters, electrostatic precipitators and ducts.

At the end of the 1990s, Barlage shifted into operating as an equipment manufacturer, initially in order to serve the coal and gas industries. The sector transition was

complemented by an expansion into new facilities alongside its original location in Emstek-Halen, with an additional site in Haselünne-Flechum. Both are in Lower Saxony, in the northwest of Germany.

“In 2008, we took the next step and became a special equipment manufacturer,” recalled General Manager André Schöning. “In order to support this change, a large assembly hall was built at Europort in Haren, with a canal

Inside marine 163
164 Inside marine

connection leading directly to the factory. We have been building components for transportation by the inland waterway industry since 2017.

“We are now a one-stop shop for the manufacture and delivery of bespoke steel items. We can manufacture large cargo up to nine metres in diameter, and up to 90 metres in length.”

As a special equipment manufacturer, Barlage now serves the inland waterway, chemical, petrochemical and sludge industries. This involves making components for

power plant construction, the chemical or oil and gas industries, apparatus or aeronautics, shipping, agricultural technology, and the mining or pipeline sector. The company develops individual solutions to create optimal results.

The facilities

Barlage attaches great importance to maximum safety and optimal conditions for the quality of its products, because some of the components are used in sectors where precision, durability and reliability are vital. As a result, the company ensures that the facilities where its items are manufactured are state-of-the-art. Barlage boasts approximately 200 employees across its two sites. The Flechum location has a workshop area of approximately 21,500 square metres spread over nine manufacturing halls with a storage area of approximately 90,000 square metres and a separate

166 Inside marine BARLAGE I PROFILE

stainless-steel production area. From there, it can move bespoke steel items up to six metres in diameter, 60 metres in length and 600 tonnes in weight.

The Haren site has a workshop of approximately 3,500 square metres and a storage area of approximately 10,000 square metres. From there, it can transport steel items up to nine metres in diameter, 90 metres in length and 900 tonnes in weight.

“The Haren location also focuses on shipment via inland waterway vessels or pontoons,” Mr Schöning explained. “That site has a huge logistical advantage due to its direct port connection. Since 2017, we have built over 100 tanks for the shipping industry, which is something we are very proud of.”

Expansion and sustainability

Nothing stands still in the steel industry, and as a result Barlage is looking to expand its Europort site in Haren with a recently opened new administrative building. “Alongside the upgrade of the office infras -

tructure, our machine park is constantly renewed in order to remain the state-ofthe-art facility it is,” said Mr Schöning.

Of course, any modern business must adapt and evolve in accordance with environmental concerns; Mr Schöning explained that Barlage has recently started using solar power rather than deriving all its electricity from the grid: “Our new PV system will self-generate nearly 50 per cent of the electricity needed for welding.”

Unsurprisingly, the company’s sustainability policy does not end there, with

Inside marine 167

a doubling of PV capacity planned in upcoming years. Barlage also has a district heating connection to a nearby biogas plant, as well as newly installed heat-meters in every manufacturing hall to monitor and control heat consumption.

Into the future

Mr Schöning was clear that what sets Barlage apart from its competitors is also what will continue to propel the company into a successful future.

“We always ensure on-time delivery, which includes direct shipping,” he said. “And the size of a component does not matter – not even during transport. Thanks to our intelligent assembly and logistics concepts, we always deliver products on time, worldwide. Plus, offering the highest quality of product is vital to us. And we

can – and do – react flexibly to customer requests at any time.”

Indeed, as a business, Barlage is proud of its reliable, made-to-measure solutions, extensive staff knowledge and compliance with higher safety requirements. The company has been quality management certified for over 20 years.

Mr Schöning acknowledge that, like any business, Barlage does face challenges going forward. Firstly, there is a shortage of skilled professionals. “We intend to overcome that by forging close contacts with schools to increase the number of trainees,” he said.

Another challenge is inflation of costs, and a third is the energy crisis which the company is already striving to overcome with countermeasures like the new photovoltaic system. Mr Schöning also

BARLAGE I PROFILE 168 Inside marine

acknowledged that Barlage has been impacted by supply chain delays and price concerns due to the Ukraine conflict, with especially large fluctuations in the cost of raw materials.

However, it is clear, that the future is bright for this dynamic, synergistic company. Always keeping an eye on evolution and development in the industry, Mr Schöning indicated that he thinks CO2 vessels will be the next big thing.

But for now, the challenges of the job are something that keeps the General Manager flourishing in the role. “Every project is different, no two days are the same,” he concluded. “And we very rarely build the exact same vessel components

again. It makes us so proud watching the whole journey; from the drawing board at our manufacturing site, to the delivery of the finished components.” n

Inside marine 169


AKA Energy Systems is an energy integrator and engineering company whose power and propulsion solutions are blazing a trail in the marine industry’s sustainable transition journey. CEO Jason Aspin discussed the company with Andy Probert.

For Jason Aspin, being in the right place at the right time in the right industry is a pinch-yourself-moment. As CEO of AKA Energy Systems, an energy integrator for power and propulsion systems for vessels, he has neatly positioned the company in the vanguard of innovators honing tomorrow’s green technologies.

With every IMO and government pronouncement that nails carbon emissions for vessels in law, AKA is there, if not light years ahead of regulation. As an energy systems designer and manufacturer, it has already shifted the paradigm for fuel efficiency and reliability in marine and offshore drilling with proven fuel savings of over 50%.

Best energy technologies

AKA offers a full spectrum of integrated products and services, including systems integration, new product development, engineering, manufacturing, testing, installation, commissioning, life cycle support and field services.

Renewable energy, clean or ‘green’ energy, sustainability and corporate responsibility have always been its primary concerns. It uses a businessfriendly approach to renewable power, bringing real, sustained economic benefit while ensuring environmentally friendly energy infrastructures.

From the renewable fuels generated from water and biomass to wind and

Inside marine 171

solar power, it provides renewable energy solutions that allow organisations to capitalise on the best energy technologies available. AKA‘s suite of marine power systems are designed to lower fuel consumption, reduce airborne pollution and increase energy efficiency and reliability aboard marine vessels.

AKA’s systems are engineered-to-order to achieve the optimal cost-benefit ratio It has a strategic partnership with MAN Energy Solutions, offering turnkey integrated power, propulsion and land-based micro-grid solutions. AKA’s clients and partners include Transocean, Shell, GE Energy, Siemens, Eaton and Schneider Electric.

Company evolution

AKA Energy Systems was established in 1995 as a training and documentation company for in-house electrical and automation systems within the marine

sector. “Electrical systems went from being transparent to being hidden in black box solutions,” Mr Aspin said. “We set out to keep that transparency in the descriptions of the automation and empower maintenance teams to troubleshoot and understand what was happening in those systems.”

As part of that process, AKA identified ‘gaps’ in systems’ designs and created solutions to close them. These solutions resulted in unique, patentable technology and transitioned AKA to become a recognised technology company.

In 2007, the company became a manufacturer of power solutions, a complete systems integrator and technology specialist. “We have been delivering bespoke p ower and propulsion systems up to 50megawatt power plants down to fishing boat-sized propulsion systems ever since,” explained Mr Aspin.


AKA has completed many world firsts: developing hybrid propulsion for a tugboat in 2007; a hybrid system for a semi-submersible, and the first hybrid drilling dive support system to operate in a gas cloud.

It now employs 150 people, with manufacturing, engineering and support-based facilities on Prince Edward Island, Canada. The 100,000sqft base includes a state-of-the-art mechanical fabrication area, a heavy electrical equipment assembly area and a large test bay with MW, LV and MV capacity. AKA also has offices in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Singapore and China.

“AKA is well positioned to offer a role in the transition to net-zero operations in the marine field,” Mr Aspin said. “We are exploring leading technologies, such as alternative or low-emission fuels, hydrogen and hydrogen-enabled synthetic fuels, such as ammonia and gas. As we transition to zero-emission fuels, hybrid systems will become more critical.

“While AKA has grown rapidly on a global scale and has great partnerships, being based in a province with a leading edge on green technology and energy-saving profiles is a good fit for our company. ”

Reliable partner

AKA’s projects have a long cycle – typically three to five years - to completion. “It has been a commercial and physical challenge to execute business over the pandemic,” he continued. “However, we have got through it and coming out the other end we see the market picking up and our position in the clean-tech niche is well poised.”

Export has represented 90-95% of business volume in the past, but AKA is seeing a shift to a 70-30 position as more domestic projects come to the fore. AKA is currently collaborating with the Canadian government in developing the first hybrid electric vessel for the Canadian Coast Guard, with AKA supplying the propulsion and battery systems.

Inside marine 173
Jason Aspin, CEO

“In the past, our niche has been with companies that place a high value on reliability and predictability,” said Mr Aspin. “That has pushed us into higherrisk environments, such as the oil and gas fields. When we look at a solution, we focus on reducing the risk associated with operations and increasing reliability, reducing operation cost and minimising environmental impact.”

Its more recent projects have included onboarding AKA’s closed bus propulsion solutions on drill ships worldwide; new builds featuring high-end electrical power propulsion; retrofits on ships that have incorporated AKA’s advanced generator propulsion, and several jobs in the RoRo market with electric hybrid and LNG systems.

“We are also taking the hybrid technology we have developed and shrinking those systems for smaller vessels with lower fuel consumption,” Mr Aspin explained. “We actively work with clients across Asia, North and South America, and Europe.

“We’re in China with propulsion systems fitted to new builds, including a chemical tanker, asphalt carrier and a small supply vessel. We also have projects around potential upgrades in South America and Europe.”

AKA recently announced a new partnership with e-Link Commuting Co, a company transforming human and package mobility on the water. The collaboration will seek to develop a new class of waterway vessels powered entirely by sustainable energy.

AKA will focus on designing the vessel’s power system and drivetrain propulsion and the addition of hydrogen fuel-cell innovation to help extend the battery life of the e-Link shuttle platform.


Exciting potential AKA’s marine hybrid propulsion system has captured the attention of the marine industry with significant economic and environmental savings. It comprises a diesel engine and an electric motor that independently or simultaneously drives a propulsion shaft.

The system configures the most effec tive power and propulsion options to meet the needs of the vessel’s operation. The multiple system configurations provide redundancy by offering alternate sources of power to the vessel, while its energy management solution strives to eliminate the unnecessary idling of diesel engines by determining the most efficient configura tion of the electrical and mechan ical devices onboard.

“We are working with partners on systems transitioning to low or zero-emission operations,” Mr Aspin said. “These comprise hydrogen and hydrogen-derivative clean- fuel propulsion systems.”

AKA is also creating data analytics to prove vessels have reduced emissions, he concluded: “I also expect a focus on the energy a vessel doesn’t consume. Propulsion is a significant part of the energy cost on most vessels, but it is not everything. Energy storage will cer tainly be a big component of future design for AKA.

“Many opportunities await in the marine sector’s transition journey. I am excited at the potential AKA can offer, and in uncovering the new technologies of tomorrow.”

Inside marine 175

Founded in 1999 by a group of passionate entrepreneurs, Harbour Enterprise is a leading maritime safety equipment service provider, offering inspection, sales and repair of firefighting and life-saving equipment. With over 23 years of experience, the company has expanded its services to include the examination and maintenance of lifeboats, rescue boats, davits, cargo cranes and measuring equipment. Richard Hagan met with Project Safety Manager Jelena Meškovska to find out how this dynamic Latvian company stays ahead in the fast-moving world of maritime safety.

176 Inside marine

Harbour Enterprise was initially established as Ostu Pakalpojumi SLA, with a mission to render certification and repair services for firefighting and life-saving equipment on board ships. Only two years later, in 2001, Ostu Pakalpojumi SLA merged with Branga Serviss SIA.

Merger and diversification

Thanks to this merger, Ostu Pakalpojumi – today Harbour Enterprise - saw a substantial diversification of its services. It could now supply ships’ stores, spare parts and new lifesaving equipment. ISO 9001:2000 certification followed in 2002, further strengthening Harbour Enterprises’ offering.

In 2008, the Harbour Enterprise name change was complete, and its first branch office was founded in Ventspils. Then in 2009, Harbour Enterprise was granted ISO 9001:2008 certification and the following

year, the company set up licensed, bonded warehouses in Klaipeda and Liepaja. Various branch subsidiaries were later added in a number of strategic locations.

Throughout these development milestones, Harbour Enterprise enjoyed strong growth thanks to consistently excellent customer service. “Our management team is focused on providing the highest quality services,” said Jelena Meškovska, Project Safety Manager. “This is in addition to our constant implementation of the latest IT systems to ensure that our workflows

Inside marine 177
178 Inside marine

are optimised and efficient. These efforts ensure that we are able to reliably deliver impeccable quality products and services within the shortest possible timeframes.”

Protecting life at sea

Harbour Enterprise, with its highly skilled team of 40 staff members and hand-picked products, is dedicated to ensuring the safety of all of its clients’ seafarers. The company takes a no-nonsense approach to safety at sea, and this starts with Harbour Enterprises’ non-negotiable work standards, according to Ms Meškovska: “Our work standards are critical to our success and the safety of our customers; therefore, we consider them to be unbreakable.

“We are always available, we ensure that everything is possible: we deliver a wide range of services and products, and we’re focused on good communication with our customers. Added to that, we guarantee the reliability and quality of our products, and we provide world-class after-sales service to back that up.”

Harbour Enterprise is especially proud of its almost zero staff turnover levels. Its customers, therefore, benefit from the over 23 years’ worth of experience that both the service engineers and company management can offer. And as Ms Meškovska explained, this experience and skill are crucial given the inherent dangers of life at sea: “Our business is closely connected with the sea - a treacherous and dangerous place. The sea does not tolerate mistakes.

“We believe that the safety of a vessel relies not only on the vessel, its navigation


and the professionalism of its crew; it also relies on the quality and reliability of every last piece of the lifesaving and firefighting equipment on board. All of these factors together form a protective shield that is important for saving lives.

“Companies like us, who check safety equipment, are responsible for ensuring that seafarers return safely to their families,” she continued. “But lifesaving

equipment can also kill if it is used incorrectly or not in proper working order.

“For example, a small hole or a missing zipper in an immersion suit can take a person’s life in a raging cold sea. If the inflatable life raft does not inflate in an emergency, people may simply not return home. Of course, when people go out to sea nobody ever thinks that the worst could happen, but the reality is that the unexpected can always happen.”

Therefore, Harbour Enterprise’s mission every day is to ensure that seagoing vessels are protected by lifesaving equipment that is 100% functional and safe. For that reason, it employs only the most elite service engineers capable of effectively executing such an important mandate.

“We are the people who are ready to provide protection from the most powerful elements of this planet year-round, at any time of day,” said Ms Meškovska.

Inside marine 181

“There are no weekends or holidays in the maritime industry.”

Harbour Enterprise’s service is backed up by its compliance with, and adherence

to, all IMO, SOLAS, ISOO, IACS and Flag Administrations standards. It works closely with all of these organisations to ensure that its procedures and services are fully aligned at all times with the latest regulations and best practices.

A perfectly executed service

Harbour Enterprise is focused on the uniform, simultaneous development of all of its operations. With its commitment to working at the highest standards, and its international reputation as a reliable partner with a professional approach to its work, it has recently introduced a brand-new business unit.

The new service provides testing services for cargo cranes with a lifting capacity of up to 100 tonnes, available to vessels


throughout Europe. “This service provides an exciting new direction for our business,” said Ms Meškovska. “It’s an important service that is relevant on almost every ship.”

Additionally, Harbour Enterprise has opened a workshop specifically equipped for filling medical oxygen cylinders. Given the health emergencies relating to Covid19, the company expects this new facility, which will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, will be acutely important for its customers.

A personalised approach

Ms Meškovska revealed that Harbour Enterprise’s close relationships with all of its stakeholders, including its customers and staff, is what really sets it apart from the competition. “We treat each client as a member of our family because they are always our number one priority, and many have been with us for decades,” she said. “We also invest a lot in our employees’ qualifications, with continuous training ensuring that we provide the highest quality of services. Our staff are our most valuable asset, and we treat them as such.”

In closing Ms Meškovska reflected on her favourite aspects of the work that she and her colleagues do. “I go to work every day feeling excited because no two days are the same. We’re part of a very important task because we’re the ‘knights’, the protectors of sailors, standing between the dangers of the sea and the vessels. I’m honoured to work for a company that embraces the highest standards of service in such a critical industry.”

Inside marine 183
184 Inside marine INROTECH I PROFILE

Welding automation specialist

Inrotech is redefining and revolutionising the heavy welding industry with its unique, innovative mobile welding robots. Thanks to its cutting-edge technology, agility and flexibility, this Danish company is rapidly redefining the global welding market. Richard Hagan chatted with Sales Manager Thomas Bøgner to find out how robots are changing the business of welding while providing a whole new, safer career opportunity for the younger generation.

Inrotech, based in Odense, Denmark, specialises in developing and supplying welding robots – primarily to heavy industries around the world.

Robotic welding is a highly advanced version of automated welding, in which the welding robot actually carries out the welding process; delivering precise work quickly, efficiently and safely, and with less waste. Inrotech’s robots are not only able to reach locations that would be manually complicated for humans, but can also perform complex and precise welds faster and more consistently in comparison to manual welding.

A brief history

Inrotech was founded by Flemming

Jørgensen who had spent much of his professional life working as a robotic industry consultant. He possesses a uniquely diverse background that includes blacksmithing, offshore welding, mechanical engineering and a degree in electronics and software development.

Given his enthusiasm for robotics, it’s no surprise that when Mr Jørgensen began work at a Maersk shipyard in Denmark, he developed and pitched a proposal to the yard for the introduction of mobile robotic welders for the closed double-bottom tanks of the ships. The robots were subsequently successfully implemented at the yard, spectacularly proving the case for Mr Jørgensen’s concept.

Though the Maersk yard later closed, the robots were sold to a Japanese

Inside marine 185

shipyard, for whom they continue to perform reliably right up to the present day. Having successfully proved the robotic welding concept with the implementation at Maersk, Mr Jørgensen established his own company that would go on to become Inrotech.

Powering robotic integration

Today, Inrotech is headquartered in Odense, Denmark, which also serves as both its assembly and testing facility. It employs 40 highly skilled staff, plus two additional members at a satellite office

188 Inside marine INROTECH I PROFILE

in India. Odense, where Inrotech is located, is a recognised robotics hub that 140 other robotics firms also call home, including the well-known firm Universal Robots.

Inrotech’s core business is the development of the software that integrates the welding machine with the robotic arm, as well as sensing and scanning technology. “We source the robot arm from one of three suppliers, and then we add our own bespoke carriage or other moveable platform that allows the robot to move into position,” explained Sales Manager Thomas Bøgner. “Our main business is the software.”

Inrotech’s software powers its two primary technology solutions: SensLogic, and WeldLogic.

SensLogic utilises a combination of scanning, sensing and machine logic

to allow the robot to automatically identify the object that it’s welding, as long as the design is based on specified design rules. SensLogic makes the customer’s life simpler as it doesn’t require any advanced programming and has no need for the transfer of CAD drawings as other similar solutions would.

WeldLogic allows a robot to automatically scan and plan the full welding process, including the number of passes, the location of each pass and the appropriate welding parameters, given the allowed heat-input window, the groove geometry and the welding position. WeldLogic can be used for the welding of almost any weld groove design and in any position,

Inside marine 189

provided that the robot is able to physically access the weld-groove.

SensLogic and WeldLogic power the company’s three most popular robots: Inrotech- Crawler, InrotechClassic and Inrotech-MicroTwin. The three robots deliver a variety of welding solutions, many or even all of which may simultaneously be required on a single project. Inrotech supplied all mentioned robots for one such large project as recently as 2022. “VT Halter Marine in the United States purchased a large quantity of robots spanning all three

types, including MicroTwin, Classic and Crawler,” said Mr Bøgner. This range of welding robots for VT Halter Marine will be used during construction of the United States Coast Guard’s new Polar Security Cutter. The 460-foot vessel will support US national interests in Arctic and Antarctic waters. The appointed shipyard purchased Inrotech’s complete range of welding robots – a total of 10 units – to assist with this vast new build program.

Better work through automation

The shipbuilding industry is in the midst of a major boom globally, but many yards are struggling to find sufficient staff with relevant skills and qualifications. This is an area in which Inrotech can help, according to Mr Bøgner: “We can assist shipyards with automation of welding procedures in many of their different processes. A single Inrotech robot installation can free-up between three and six human welders per shift, producing much higher quality welds

INROTECH I PROFILE 190 Inside marine

while being capable of working 24 hours a day, nonstop.”

Replacing humans with robots also has environmental as well as health and safety benefits. “Since our robots produce better quality, more consistent welds, there are fewer useless welds and therefore far less work that must be manually re-done,” he added. “We also find that staff health and wellbeing are improved, with better life expectancy in comparison to traditional, manual welding. Letting a robot do the work instead saves lives in the long run.”

The hard physical nature of welding work is also very demanding on the human body, which becomes worn down from the repetitive, physically difficult nature of welding. “You’re welding on top of cold steel plates, in awkward positions,” said Mr Bøgner. “A human welder is physically worn down over time.”

As an additional benefit, by substituting human welders with robots, s hipyards are able to offer jobs that are future-forward and much more attractive to young staff as well. “Younger people would rather work

with robots than perform the welding manually,” Mr Bøgner concluded. “It’s not about taking the job from a welder, but rather about making the welder’s work more interesting; it’s modernising the shipyards and turning them into more attractive places for youngsters to work in the future.”

Exhibiting to the world

Inrotech is coming to an industry exhibition near you: with a long list of upcoming industry events, expos and forums that the company is confirmed to be attending, there are plenty of opportunities to meet Inrotech’s team of experts and find out how its solutions can benefit your processes. Inrotech welcomes any enquiries about its exhibi tion schedule n

Inside marine 191

With a successful history dating back to 1966, Lion Marine Group has an enviable pedigree within the highly competitive maritime sector. Today, thanks to its flexibility and its close-knit teams, the company continues to build on its reputation for delivering guaranteed high-quality products and bespoke services to customers across Europe. Owner Cor de Kwant chatted with Richard Hagan about how the company’s technologies give it an edge in the industry.

Lion Marine Group’s history dates back to 1966, Sweden when Helmut Willem Carlsen established HW Carlsen in Malmö. By 1970, Mr Carlsen had engineered and delivered its first ship-to-silo unloader,

a self-discharging cement carrier, and dry bulk storage solutions using fluidisation fabric. This led to several export projects and turned the small company into an international success.

In the following decades, HW Carlsen went on to firmly establish itself as a specialist in dry bulk handling. It later delivered the first modern ship-to-silo unloader with a manipulator arm, as well as various other cutting-edge solutions.

192 Inside marine

Pouncing on the market

HW Carlsen’s success attracted the attention of international investors, resulting in its sale to a series of new owners during the early 2000s. Between 2010 and 2020, several mergers - that included HW Carlsen – resulted in the formation of the Lion Bulk handling organisation and its incorporation underneath the new Lion Marine Group umbrella, alongside Lion Technology and Lion Engineering.

Today, Lion Marine Group is an engineering project management company a nd a premium provider of bespoke solutions for portside, terminal and offshore challenges. Naturally, given its history, the group specialises in designing, manufacturing and commissioning a variety of loading and unloading solutions for dry bulk materials, alongside providing related engineering and technical equipment.

The revolutionary unloader

The company’s engineering skills were put on full display with the recent delivery of a pioneering new project to an Italian customer. The project - a dock-mobile shipto-silo unloader - involved the installation of what is essentially a massive vacuum pump on the back of a large dock-going

Inside marine 193


cargo truck. The truck then simply backs up to the ship, the machinery is connected on one end to the silo and then on the other end, the manipulator arm with the vacuum pipe is moved into place in the cargo. The whole machine then effectively vacuums up the cargo, depositing it into the silo.

“The unloader is able to transfer 200 tonnes per hour,” explained Owner Cor de Kwant. “It’s an interesting project that was completely designed and built in-house. And thanks to full Industry 4.0 integration, the machinery can be operated fully remotely via secure dial-in. This dial-in facility is especially important because it

allows us to be more efficient in terms of quickly resolving any problems or questions the client might have with the machine.

“In the past, we would’ve had to physically travel to the unloader if there was a problem, so this remote access means that we have been able to dramatically improve our service level simply by improving the way we do business.”

Lion Marine’s engineering expertise plays an important role in building credibility and trust with its customers. Every project delivered by the company is accompanied by a performance guarantee based on expert calculations. It ensures that every piece of

194 Inside marine

machinery manufactured by Lion Marine is able to fully deliver on the customer’s specifications and expectations.

“The bulk handling industry is a very specific industry with very niche knowledge: it’s not easy to break into,” said Mr de Kwant. “Customers are spending millions at a time on loading and unloading

equipment and it’s important that they can be guaranteed that the equipment will work as promised. For that reason, we supply a performance guarantee with every solution we offer. If we say that this unloader will perform at 200 tonnes per hour, then that’s a fact and it’s what it will do on delivery.”

Inside marine 195

Taking on technical challenges

In 2020, Lion Marine achieved a major milestone when it established Lion Technology. This new arm was created when the company identified a gap in the technical handling industry, according to Mr de Kwant: “We had seen how many organisations were struggling to buy technical equipment due simply to the overwhelming number of suppliers and products on the market. We realised that there was an opportunity for a credible company with a lot of technical knowledge to begin selling the products in a more thoughtful, more thorough, better supported manner.”

Lion Technology brought together the company’s best technical knowledge with a huge, hand-selected range of the industry’s best quality products. The result is a brand new, revolutionary e-commerce

website that was launched in late February 2023. The site launched with a catalogue of 500 unique products, but the catalogue was expected to grow to 50,000 unique products within just a few months after launch.

“We want to assist our customers with technical challenges,” said Mr de Kwant. “We don’t simply upload a product. We pay careful attention to the technical specifications of the item, and we make sure that those same detailed technical specifications are available to view below each product on the site. This is a major emphasis for us, because it’s what separates us from the competition.

“You can go on to other major e-commerce sites and buy, for example, a butterfly valve, but you’ll pay more, and you likely won’t find the correct technical information. Whereas if you want to buy from us, but you have


a technical question, you can just call us and receive expert technical service. It’s all about moving our business to the next level of service delivery.”

In the meantime, Lion Marine looks forward to a busy 2023 with a pipeline of projects on the way and further, ongoing improvements to its web shop; all of it designed to make their customer’s work easier. Concluding, Mr de Kwant confirmed. “Ultimately, we provide peace of mind to our customers by providing high-quality, transparent service and a great quality product.” n

Inside marine 197

Marine Service Noord has been in operation since 1988, with extensive experience in the maritime industry, the company creates turnkey solutions for commercial shipping and superyachts (maintaining expertise in alternative fuels). CEO Niek Koops, Head of Sales & Design Department Gerard Eising and Sales & Marketing Engineer Richard van der Meer discussed the company’s impressive capabilities, in a report by Imogen Ward.

Initially engineering and constructing pipework for the engine rooms of short sea vessels, Marine Service Noord entered the superyacht sector in 2010, following the closure of its largest customer at that time, the Volharding shipyard.

“When our main customer ceased operations, we had to find something new,” Sales & Marketing Engineer Richard van der Meer said. “The superyacht sector is really interesting, and we began our first project for the Oceanco shipyard, developing engine room systems for 90 metre-long 3000GT superyachts. So; we switched from the short shipping sector to luxury superyachts.

“We also specialise in designing and constructing alternative fuel systems and technologies. We had designed and built the installation for the small LNG carrier Pioneer Knutsen in 2004 and knew that this knowledge could be used for alterna -

tive fuels like LNG. We decided to write a new business plan and in that, we laid out two paths; one which focused on growth in the superyacht new-build and refit sector, and the other side incorporated project development for alternative fuels.”

The company completed its second LNG fuel-related project in 2013. Working with Chemgas to design and build a BV certified Fuel Gas Supply System (FGSS) for the inland tanker mv Sirocco. The company designed, assembled and commissioned the ship’s piping systems for both the engine room and the cargo handling systems.

Formulating a perfect solution

Following the success of Sirocco, Marine Service Noord expanded its capabilities within the alternative fuels sector.

Inside marine 199

Now, the company designs and builds fuel sys tems for LNG, methanol and hydrogen, and the knowledge does not stop there; the company is currently working on an ammonia-fuelled project as well.

Recently, Marine Service Noord has witnessed a heavy interest aimed towards the capabilities of hydrogen. “If a customer has a low power requirement and only needs that power for a short period of time, then hydrogen is a great fuel option,” Mr van der Meer explained. “We have had a lot of interest for that particular fuel. However, for vessels requiring more power over longer time periods, it would make more sense to choose LNG, methanol or ammonia because of the energy density of the fuel.”

The company is known for its liquefied gas system designs. “Our Fuel Gas Supply Systems (FGSS) and Cargo Handling Systems (CHS) are a great example of Marine Service Noord’s capabilities,” Head of Sales & Design Department Gerard Eising said. “Chemical gases, like methane, propane or butane, when compressed or cooled become a liquid. We create systems suitable for handling these gases. We design it, build it and install it.”

On the topic of cargo handling systems, Mr Eising also commented on the possibility of trading CO2: “We don't see much talk about transporting CO2 at the moment, but we are sure that it will eventually become an interesting trade. Currently we see little transport of CO2 but if you want to make efuels like methanol you will need CO2. Also,


if we capture CO2 from factories it will have to be transported and that is not always possible through pipelines. If a ship needs to be built to transport liquid CO2, we are ready for that; we know exactly how to design those systems.”

Due to the alternative fuel transition being quite recent, the approval process for designs can be quite lengthy. However; thanks to Marine Service Noord’s experience with the risk-based design process, the company can complete it very efficiently and in a much shorter length of time.

State-of-the-art superyachts

Since its transition into the superyacht sector, Marine Service Noord has worked on a number of extremely impressive vessels. In cooperation with Oceanco, the company has also worked on the Jubilee – the largest superyacht constructed in the Netherlands.

Installing the piping systems for the engine room of the 110-metre yacht, Marine Service Noord also provided pre-engineering, 3Ddetailed engineering and the prefabrication of the carbon steel, stainless steel and cunifer piping.

To ensure the continuous fulfilment of customers’ requests, the company has made several recent investments, including a new bending machine. This machine enables Marine Service Noord to bend cunifer and Mapress piping for superyachts. With the size of superyachts increasing, these supersized vessels require piping systems with a much larger diameter. The new machine is capable of bending pipes with a diameter of up to 133mm and has saved the company considerable welding costs.

“We did a break-even analysis before we purchased the new machine we estimated how many bends we can make and what

Inside marine 201

the investment of the machine would cost. With that information, we deciphered how quickly we could make back the investment costs,” said Mr van der Meer. “Another smaller investment we made was to purchase Mapress tools for our people working at the shipyard. This purchase ensures all workers have enough equipment, which keeps the installation process efficient. As a result, we can save

our customers money. These kinds of investments are very important to maintain our operational efficiency.”

Excellent customer service

Customer satisfaction is incredibly important for Marine Service Noord: the company maintains contact with clients through every step of the process and even provides support following project completion, to ensure they remain happy. “It’s very important to


have a good service and after-sales department,”added Mr van der Meer. “It not only shows commitment to our customers but gives them the opportunity to provide feedback on the systems we design and build.

“We do everything from the first lines on paper to commissioning, and to get that feedback is very helpful. Whether it is posi tive or constructive, it enables us to incorporate improvements into our new system designs.”

“Ultimately, our aim is simple: we try to develop long-term relationships with our customers, and keeping them happy is a big part of that,” CEO Niek Koops said. “Of course, we work with other companies on a short-term basis as well. However, we try to focus on developing long-term

connections. These often last for many years and together with our customers we create innovative designs that make them want to return.”

Going forward, Marine Service Noord plans to continue providing exceptional service for customers. “As long as we maintain our focus on new, innovative projects, I think there will always be a place for us,” Mr Koops concluded. “We will continue to develop relationships with other companies in the market, such as ship designers and electrotechnical partners, because we need them for the successful development of our own designs.

“We will meticulously grow our business one step at a time, building great teams and relationships along the way.” n

Inside marine 203

Rice Propulsion is a family-driven company that has become a renowned manufacturer of marine propulsion equipment worldwide. Guided by the ethos of its pioneering founder of “best quality, high-durability and maximum performance”, the company is primed to maintain its place as Mexico’s biggest foundry for bronze-made propellers for large vessels, according to COO Perla Rice. Report by Andy Probert.

204 Inside marine

Mazatlán is a traditional Mexican resort town on the Pacific shoreline of Sinaloa State, with 21km of lush sandy beaches. It is renowned for big-game fishing – and Rice Propulsion; a giant of the propulsion industry whose mighty propellers help drive vessels and the company’s name across the seven seas.

“We make ships move,” said Perla Rice, COO. “My greatest satisfaction is being on board a vessel with our propulsion systems, offering the best performance.” The business has experienced continuous forward motion, priding itself on manufacturing the highest quality bronze castings by tapping into new technologies, while utilising cutting-edge software design and simulation to satisfy the industry’s most challenging demands. It offers more than 4,000 models for different propulsion systems, with a global clientele ranging from the US Coast Guard, the Secretaría de Marina de México, the biggest tuna fishing company in America and catering to the fishing sector in Mexico.

Four generations

Today’s high-tech approach to creating massive propulsion systems is a world away from

when Maximino Rice first set out on his career working in mines and foundries. With a forge, anvil, hand tools and the help of Luisa, his wife, he opened a blacksmith's shop in Mexico to service general and naval industries. In 1919, he patented a system to produce cast iron rings for internal combustion engines.

The second generation showed their flair for mechanical competencies by working with iron and steel. Luis Rice and his brother Andres developed several companies related to the naval industry, including Rice Propulsion, which launched in 1959. In the USA, he patented a device still used today to draw and machine the pitch for propeller patterns. He also developed nickel-aluminium alloys that combine high resistance and great elongation; now prototypes for international certification agencies.

The third generation saw Jose Luis Rice recognised for his technical mindset. He designed, developed and established the manufacturing systems for all the propeller and bronze production departments. He also expanded the company’s global reach, exporting over 80% of the production. He patented the nozzle manufacturing process in the USA and developed a parallel market with the propeller and nozzle combination. Having opened up to new markets, he established Rice Propulsion as the only propeller manufacturing company in Mexico and a renowned name in North and South America and across the globe.

With the fourth generation's arrival, Jose Luis Rice Junior, Perla's brother, took over the company in 2002. Due to the demand for larger pieces, he extended the foundry

Inside marine 205


and machining capabilities to manufacture propellers up to four metres in diameter.

Under his leadership, the repair service area grew, allowing access to newer, more complex markets that demand such specialised services. His objective for the future was to maintain Rice Propulsion's competitiveness in price and technology, catering to increasingly demanding international requirements.

“I started working in the family company in 2007,” Ms Rice said, “when, despite being told it was not an industry for women, it was fascinating for me to arrive in a foundry of huge bronze pieces, which, in my opinion, are still wonderful. To this day, it continues to be an industry that fills my heart.”

With a master’s degree in advertising, she transformed the place. She took the reins of the business image, updating the company logo, inserting a propeller inside the ‘E’ of ‘RICE’, updating brochures, dec -

orating and designing offices, creating a website, and taking care of the company’s presentations to clients and at fairs.

“Now, as owners, my brother and I are an excellent team at making decisions for every department,” Ms Rice continued. “I feel comfortable working with and surrounded by engineers, making production decisions on casting and machining parts.

“As an international company with six decades’ experience in producing marine propellers of the highest quality and durability, the company crosses borders into new markets and consolidates its existing ones. It is a leader in the industrial area as the biggest foundry in Mexico for manufacturing bronze pieces, having as our star product propellers for big vessels. That has only been achieved by four generations of hard work and commitment.”

206 Inside marine

The company has achieved many milestones, such as designing and calculating entire propulsion systems, designing specialist propellers for rough places: rivers with its heavy river wheel, and polar and ice class propellers for ice breakers. Manufacturing different alloys in-house and contracts with the US Coast Guard are stand-outs.

International operator

Today, Rice Propulsion employs 80 people at the facility where its kilns can melt 12 tonnes of bronze. Their machining area offers boring machines, milling machines and CNC lathes, machine tools for making parts, and scanning systems for analysis. The shaft-turning machines can work pieces up to 15m long and 8 tonnes in weight. The company has also invested in a new high-capacity vertical CNC lathe capable of machining pieces up to 50 tonnes of weight, 3.5m in height and 5m in diameter.

Ms Rice added that its processes are strictly supervised for the composition

and purity of its alloys, ensuring they meet world quality norms under ISO 9001. Each product is endorsed, under request, by certification agencies such as DNV-GL, ABS, ClassNK, Lloyd’s Register, CCS, RINA and Bureau Veritas.

Electrolytic materials with 99.9% purity are used, making it possible to offer mechanical properties that ensure highquality standards for each alloy. Models are designed using state-of-the-art CAD/CAM software, making manufacturing more efficient and precise.

“Our prime commitment to clients is to offer technical support before acquiring

Inside marine 207
Rice Propulsion COO Perla Rice

a product,” Ms Rice added, “so that along with our specialised service and required infrastructure, advanced technology, state-of-the-art equipment and well-trained personnel, we can guarantee a product of the best quality, high-durability and maximum performance.”

Rice Propulsion has enjoyed 15% business growth year-on-year and is increasing its sales force worldwide. Ms Rice said: “The business aims to become a leader in

manufacturing marine propulsion equipment with clear objectives in updating designs, technology and comparative knowledge to optimise product performance.”

While the company is active in supplying other industries, such as cement, electrical, metal, mining and sugar mills, it remains dedicated to the maritime industry. Despite challenges, such as competition from China and political and security concerns in Mexico, Ms Rice said: “The company has remained diligent with its suppliers and clients, keeping the best relationship possible with suppliers while maintaining the highest quality products delivered to clients.”

To become more sustainable, the company has studied implementing solar panels on its plant to enable cleaner processes and operations. It is also monitoring plans for new

business parks locally, which intend to use sustainable resources to reduce pollution.

To propel Rice Propulsion's ambitions globally, Ms Rice said the company would consider a business partner that wants to invest with the “aim to help Rice Propulsion’s expansion, make more parts in Mexico and have a greater presence on more continents.” n

Inside marine 209

Talleres Mecanicos Galicia SL (Tamega) has 65 years of experience providing critical components for the shipbuilding, offshore wind and military sectors from its manufacturing base in Narón, Spain. CEO Manuel Derungs Cachaza and COO Jose Martinez Rodriguez spoke about the company’s work scope and ambitions to expand production, in a discussion with Andy Probert.

Established in 1958, Talleres Mecanicos Galicia SL (Tamega or TMG) has been at the forefront of manufacturing small to complex components. Incorporating passion, experience and skill, the forwardlooking company is determined to remain a leader in parts supplies to shipbuilding, offshore wind and military vehicles.

CEO Manuel Derungs outlined how the family-owned company offered a flexible approach and a can-do culture for clients – no matter what project Tamega is called upon to excel at in the supply chain. The shipbuilding industry has been a natural mainstay of Tamega since Manuel Derungs Baño launched it in urbanised Ferrol.

210 Inside marine


Currently, the company is run by brothers Roberto and Manuel Derungs, located in Narón (5km from the Atlantic Ocean) and close to the Galician cities of A Coruña and Santiago de Compostela, in northwestern Spain.

As a small locksmith workshop designing and creating small parts for major contractors, the company's influence and standing have grown over the past few decades. Today, it employs 80 people at its 4,000sqm factory in Narón and has diversified its product range, manufacturing parts from mechanised items to large boiler-making structures and complex mechanical assemblies.

Quality supplier

Mr Martínez said the company has built up its reputation as a leading Spanish shipbuilding industry supplier and a direct supplier to regional shipyards. It has sup -

plied extensive specialised components for ships, including stairs, ladders, registers and pipe fittings.

One of their key projects was working with a contractor supplying a local shipyard whose end client was the Australian Navy. Tamega was tasked with manufacturing internal and external doors for a series of frigates.

“With constant growth, TMG’s activity has diversified organically into other sectors, including renewables, offshore, automotive and civil work,” Mr Derungs explained.

Renewable energy has become a major business growth for TMG, collaborating with clients across the sector by designing and manufacturing parts for land and offshore energy projects. Its engineering team has produced a multitude of components for wind towers, from machining parts, counterweights and footings to structures such as supports or defences.

Inside marine 211

“Currently, offshore wind is the sector that occupies most of our work, producing large numbers of secondary structure components, such as boat landing platforms, accesses and communication lines ,” said COO Jose Martinez Rodriguez.

One milestone for the company was the development of a prototype wave energy buoy for a wind farm. Developed with its partner, GM Renewables, this buoy has an energy generation capacity of 1MW, offering enough derived energy to supply 1,200 homes annually.

“TMG has been active in the renewables sector since 2000, mainly supplying to land-based windfarm projects in Spain,” Mr Martínez continued. “From around 2015, since renewables expanded offshore, the company has been equal to meeting client demands and products they require.”

The company is also a noted industry supplier of carbon and stainless-steel

212 Inside marine TALLERES MECANICOS

structures. It has completed projects, including supplying parts for a carbon crane for the port of Ferrol, on behalf of clients Industrias Mecánicas Del Noroeste, SA (IMENOSA) and ENDESA for the end customer, German engineering company PWH.

Tamega has also manufactured and supplied accesses, railings and stairs with a hot-tip galvanised finish (for greater corrosion resistance) for a series of Goliath cranes for Finnish company KONECRANES . Tamega has also previously worked on other projects with multinational General Electric.

Expansion plans

While the company completes around 130,000 production hours annually, business performance over the past few years has remained consistently strong, with a

median average growth of 20%. Tamega expects double-digit growth again in 2023, according to Mr Martínez: “The Spanish government has plans to promote offshore windfarms locally. I believe this will positively impact the local industry, which Tamega is primed to take advantage of.”

Current contracts include supplying components to Windar Renovables and Navantia as part of their joint venture with offshore windfarm contracts in Spanish waters. Tamega is also planning to support the Windar-Navantia consortium in a joint venture project in France, called Diéppe le Tréport marine park, for end client Ocean Winds.

The consortium will manufacture 62 jackets for offshore wind turbines at the Fene shipyard and is the largest commission to date. Dieppe Le Tréport will have

Inside marine 213

a capacity of 496MW to supply sustainable electricity to some 850,000 homes a year from 2026.

Mr Martínez highlighted how TMG’s flexible approach to client orders was underpinned by ongoing in-house training for its young skilled recruits, and continuous investment in modernising its manufacturing plant. “A new management system is also being implemented to make our operations more efficient and practical,” he added. “This aligns with plans to expand our facility as the needs of the regional offshore wind sector grow exponentially.”

The company, which is ISO9001, ISO14001, ISO 45001, EN1090 and ISO 3834 -approved, has developed an innovative and highly functional infrastructure, with investments in high-tech machinery, to produce efficiently and improve environmental protection.

Due to the high cost of energy bills and rising inflation, Tamega is seriously considering installing solar panels at the facility. For a long time, the company has minimised


waste because it works with metal and any off cuts are repurposed.

“Our long-term relations with clients and suppliers are based on seeking a common thread through which both can work successfully, harmoniously and profitably,” Mr Derungs concluded. “Our know-how and long-standing in the sector, the continuous training of young staff and modern machinery at hand will all ensure Tamega can continue to diversify and expand production for years to come.” n

Inside marine 215

seven seas, five oceans, one voice


enapor port authority of huelva port authority of the cayman islands port authority of the turks and caicos

i M
218 Inside marine ENAPOR I PROFILE

ENAPOR’s capabilities as the port authority of Cape Verde include handling the administration, management and economic exploitation of the ports, terminals and zones of port jurisdiction. CEO Ireneu Camacho outlined the exciting developments at ENAPOR, in conversation with Phil Nicholls.

The Cape Verde Government is increasingly focused on the blue economy. This requires that new projects consider the impact on the ocean and coastal areas, along with prioritising the social and economic inclusion of coastal communities. ENAPOR is playing an active part in this transformation.

“In addition to the major works and investments made over the years, the Ports of Cape Verde now face a new challenge: our place within the blue economy,” explained CEO Ireneu Camacho. “ENAPOR regards itself as a promoter of the integration of the blue economy business chain in Cape Verde. We have been implementing a series of measures aimed at the continuous improvement of our services and relationships with customers.”

Created in 1982, ENAPOR is a public limited company with public capital, directly and exclusively owned by the State of Cape Verde. The company is present on the nine inhabited islands of the country, connecting them to each other and to the world, through infrastructures that guarantee the provision of services with the required quality and safety.

Today, ENAPOR has nine facilities; one on each inhabited island of the archipelago. The company has over 980 employees, with the Port of Praia and Porto Grande having the largest number of employees.

Inside marine 219

A solid performance

2022 brought a return to normality for the Ports of Cape Verde, after two years of uncertainties that proved the resilience and robustness of the company. In the year in which it celebrated its 40th anniversary, the company recorded excellent financial,

commercial and operational results. 2022 delivered a superb performance, generating a net result of over 255,000 escudos, a growth of 63.7% when compared to 2021.

All segments of port traffic recorded increases, including a robust growth of more than 350% in cruise ship calls, with 127 stopovers bringing 60,000 tourists to the islands. Overall port traffic grew 12.9%, with 7,675 ship calls registered.

Regarding passenger traffic, the Ports of Cape Verde reached a new record with over 1.37 million passengers, an annual increase of 25.9%. Freight traffic showed similar growth, passing 2.5 million tonnes, up 144,500 tonnes compared to 2021.

220 Inside marine ENAPOR I PROFILE

Major projects

“I would like to highlight two major projects,” said Mr Camacho. “Firstly, the completion of the expansion and modernisation of the English Port, with a budget of around 15 million euros. This work will have a positive impact on both the economy of the island of Maio and the whole country. We have improved the quality of life of Maio’s inhabitants and those who visit it.

“The second project with significant progress in 2022 was the Mindelo Cruise


Excellence, integrity and transparency, these are the values that, since 1970, have guided both our work and relationships with customers.Today, Consulmar is a reference point for the consultation and development of marine engineering projects, giving evidence nationally and internationally. Thanks to constant adaptation, our team guarantees quality, sustainability and high performance.

We are proud to be associated with some of the most iconic engineering works, in over 20 countries, for the last 50 years.

Terminal on the island of São Vicente.

Here, we began the maritime works. This venture will enhance shore activities and hospitality to cruise tourists, establishing a key marketing message, with support and encouragement for the development of sustainable tourism products and services.

“The English Port expansion and the Cruise Terminal project symbolise the importance of the port maritime sector in the development of Cape Verde.”

A recent global event involving the Ports of Cape Verde was the 2023 edition of The Ocean Race. Porto Grande, Mindelo, São Vicente Island, was prepared to receive the boats and all the parallel events held around the passage of the sailors. Special arrangements were required to facilitate this race.

“We had to change the entire port operations plan and mobilise the local community around the event so that everything ran smoothly,” continued Mr Camacho.

D&D is the answer

As part of the drive towards the blue economy, the Ports must be increasingly competitive and sustainable. This twin goal is achieved through a combination of the two ‘D’s: digitalisation and decarbonisation.

“In terms of digitalisation, we are computerising our processes, making them faster and more reliable,” Mr Camacho explained. “We have optimised our

222 Inside marine ENAPOR I PROFILE
editorial mention
Inside marine 223

business intelligence tools, both internal and external. This includes areas such as the single port window, container park man agement and the customer portal, among others.

“As for decarbonisation, we are intensifying green practices. For example, we introduced electrical equipment for the movement of loads within warehouses. We also produce energy through solar panels and generally adopt energy efficient systems.”

Alongside a focus on sustainability, ENAPOR has a strong commitment to social responsibility. The company has established trust with local stakeholders, by making the population aware of the beneficial presence of ports. This ensures a satisfactory coexistence, along with the mutual and coherent development of urban and port spaces.

Strategic planning

The strategic plan and the management model of the Ports of Cape Verde is strongly oriented to the promotion of the commercial objectives of attracting cargo, passengers and investments. “We work with national and international partners,” Mr Camacho said. “Our focus is on the quality of service we provide: we take care in order to ensure our excellence.”

ENAPOR I PROFILE 224 Inside marine

Like all sectors, Cape Verde's ports have also suffered from the recent limitations imposed by the various global crises. “Our biggest challenge surrounds unlocking the full potential of the Ports of Cape Verde,” Mr Camacho continued: “we need to internationalise our brand. We must become a reference point for the international transport network, by demon strating our efficient operation.”

ENAPOR continues to improve its services and relationships with customers, in parallel to the ongoing digital transformation of port operations. Yet the focus needs to be on repositioning the Cape Verde ports within the framework of international trade.

“We are located on a transoceanic route – the Atlantic corridor,” concluded Mr Camacho, “which moves a substantial volume of cargo. Cape Verde has the potential to be a strong player in this global logistics chain.

“The port sector is challenging, diverse and constantly changing. Professionals in

the sector must have adequate technical and social skills to be able to meet the objectives we are set. Ports are a vital element for the economic and social development of any country.

“This is especially true in the case of Cape Verde, which is an archipelagic country. Our work is often Herculean, but I find it very motivating.”

Inside marine 225

The Port Authority of Huelva manages the second biggest port in Andalusia, and after 150 years of successful operations, the Port of Huelva is now entering a new chapter. Business Development & Commercial Director Jaime Beltrán explained what this means for the port. Report by Imogen Ward.

226 Inside marine

Under the management of The Port Authority of Huelva, the port is a bustling hub of commercial activity and a crucial player in the movement of goods within Europe, with an annual throughput of over 32 million tonnes of cargo. Now, it is focused on a gamechanging transition to global status.

“Every day, we utilise a perfect balance of our three pillars of activity to progress our strategy of becoming a global port,” said Business Development & Commercia l Director Jaime Beltrán. “We plan to achieve this through diversification.”

Currently the port’s operations are split between three main areas: the mining sector accounts for 13% of the company’s operations, with grain and general cargo absorbing 12%, and a further 75% from industrial and energy. Unsurprisingly,

the Port of Huelva is the largest industrial cluster in Andalusia and the second largest in Spain.

Energising a new sector

The Port of Huelva is an industrial hub in the production and use of hydrogen, ammonia, methanol and biofuels. Projects have been announced totalling a private investment of €7 billion over the next five to seven years, which will place the Port of Huelva in a leading position in the production and distribution of new clean fuels based on the hydrogen economy, as part of the transition towards green energy.

“Our vision as a global port, aligned with our 2023-2030 strategic plan, is to play an important role in the new energy transition,” Mr Beltrán explained. “Currently, green hydrogen is not used directly as

Inside marine 227
Business Development & Commercial Director Jaime Beltrán:

maritime fuel, nor are alternatives such as green ammonia and green methanol, as well as second-generation hydrogenated biofuels which are also considered clean fuels.

“Currently the industries of the Port of Huelva are the biggest consumers of Hydrogen in Spain, and it is already used for the production of ammonia, methanol, other fuels and chemical products. However; this private investment of €7 billion will enable them to develop it (greenly) in the near future.”

Biofuels are an important element of this investment – with €1.5 billion dedicated to the construction of a second-generation biofuel plant, thanks to the collaboration between two great energy production companies located in Huelva.

According to Mr Beltrán, the Port Authority sees these fuels as an extremely important aspect of the energy transition: “An emerging concept, which is not as well-known, is the importance of biofuels. These fuels will be crucial for a faster transition to a cleaner fuel

“The market considers us to be a very customer focused port, and we are very happy with this analysis, because our main goal is to help our customers”

scenario. That is why the Port of Huelva is involved in both the development of green fuels, and also the second-gen biofuels - specifically, hydrogen vegetable oil (HVO). It is very clean, environmentally friendly, and generates a net zero carbon footprint, thanks to the fact that production is based on circular economy processes and renewable energy.”

Efficient cold logistics

Due to a large area of available land to continue growth, the Port Authority has an ambitious investment plan for developing this space.

“Over the next two years, we plan to invest more than €250 million into the port, creating new facilities and infrastructure to meet the demands of the new

energy sector and the growth of general cargo,” said Mr Beltrán. “We have enough space to accommodate this expansion, allowing our clients to design logistics projects without space restrictions.”

As part of the port’s transition to global status it has also committed to crucial diversification of traffic. Included in this is the progression of general cargo. Still new to this sector, the port has several projects planned to really boost its position in this market.

One of the most substantial projects is a Cold Logistics Hub. Located in a privileged position on the South Wharf, between the container, ro-ro traffic and freight rail port terminals, it is a clear example of a private and public cooperation project.

Inside marine 231

Using residual cold energy produced from regasification at Enagas’ LNG plant, the company plans to pour this leftover energy into a refrigerated goods storage facility. With a predicted finish date of 2024, the project is being built in two phases: Phase one sees a capacity for 20,000 refrigerated pallets; this figure doubles upon the completion of the second phase. An increase in refrigerated cargo capabilities significantly progresses the port’s vision for globalisation, plus refrigerated and frozen cargo expansion.

“Five years ago, we embarked on a project promoting the circular economy,” Mr Beltrán explained. “We launched a public tender to build a storage facility dedicated to refrigerated cargo, which was granted to Friportsur. Once complete,

the LNG plant and the storage facility will connect via a port-owned cold pipeline, enabling us to refrigerate cargo without any impact on the environment.”

Building logistics

With general cargo logistics (containers and ro-ro traffic) accounting for the fastest growing port activity in recent years, the Port Authority is delving further into this sector to really advance its globalisation efforts.

“The logistics sector has evolved, with the door-to-door concept becoming more popular,” Mr Beltrán explained. “However, for this concept to work, the logistics chain must be strengthened, and suppliers become more efficient. The Port of Huelva is a great location for this global logistics


chain to concentrate the cargo and reinforce a reputation for reliability.”

Aiming to provide excellence in doorto-door service, the Port Authority has trademarked a new brand: Route 1400 Huelva-Canarias. “Route 1400 involves all the stakeholders in the logistics chain between Port of Huelva and the Canary Islands,” Mr Beltrán said. “This is a clear example of what collaboration can accomplish, because all involved –although usually competitors – united to prioritise the customer.

“So far, Route 1400 has been a resounding success, having increased passenger traffic by 50 per cent and cargo movements by 25 per cent.”

Following the positive outcome of this endeavour, Mr Beltrán hopes to involve more companies in the brand, including those from land logistics: “I want all participants in the logistics sector involved in Route 1400. Although the initiative is financed by the Port Authority, the results arise from the collaborative effort of all stakeholders.”

The Port Authority also intends to extrapolate this example of collaboration into other current regular maritime services

(Rotterdam, Tilbury, Casablanca), so as to promote the potential services of maximum interest. Potential partners include ports in the north of Morocco, around the Mediterranean and in the southern UK.

Finally, Mr Beltrán highlighted the importance of the recent shift to land and rail services: “The last five years have witnessed a huge growth in cargo delivery via trains. Thus, we now promote rolling motorways – where lorries are conveyed by rail: although common in other countries, this is a first for the Spanish section of the EU Atlantic Corridor. The implementation of the rolling motorway is a strategic one, as it really helps expand our cargo traffic.”

Despite the exciting new developments in place, customers remain the number one priority at the port. “The market considers us to be a very customer focused port, and we are very happy with this analysis, because our main goal is to help our customers” Mr Beltrán concluded.

“Being a global port will allow us to i ncrease this support, and being part of this transition motivates me every day.” n

Find out more about the Port of Huelva by visiting:

Inside marine 233

Since 1976, the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands has managed Cayman Port, located in George Town, Grand Cayman. Dealing with cruise and cargo vessels, the Port Authority is responsible for ensuring the people of Cayman have all their import needs met. Port Director Paul Hurlston discussed the latest news, in a report by Imogen Ward.

According to Port Director Paul Hurlston, the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands is crucial for ensuring everyone on the Cayman Islands is fed. “Everything that is consumed here has to be imported; we produce little or nothing on the Islands in terms of consumer goods. So, 96 per cent of all imports come via the sea. We basically handle everything that is imported into Cayman.” Cayman Port became a statutory part of the government in 1976: ever since then it has continued to exemplify why these islands in the Western Caribbean zone are such a popular destination for cruise lines and cargo imports.

Crucial cargo capabilities

With most of Cayman’s goods being imported through Cayman Port, cargo is an incredibly important element of its operations. In 2022 alone, 800,000 tonnes of cargo were imported through Cayman Port.

“Our biggest partners are the people of Cayman,” Mr Hurlston said. “We don’t just handle the containers, we also handle the cargo out of those containers,

Inside marine 235

and we distribute it to the population. So, they are the port’s biggest customers. Despite this, it is very difficult for us to have a direct impact on the number of imports that come in – it is based on the economy. However, we do project at least a five per cent growth in the next five years.”

The docking space at the Islands is fully utilised for all operations. Due to a limitation on space, the Port Authority has a long-standing rota in place to balance port activities. From 6am-6pm, the port is dedicated to cruise lines and tourist activities, with the night shift afforded to cargo operations. This system has worked well over the last 18 years; the Port Authority is now however, considering moving the cargo facilities from George Town to further inland.

“We are looking at enhancing our cargo facilities, by moving them further inland and building a new port,” Mr Hurlston explained. “This is in the early stages of development, but we are heading in the right direction.

“It is a long-term project that will be completed in phases. Currently, we are implementing a unique system that enables us to handle both cruises and cargo vessels in the same space. However, this does limit both enterprises to a 12-hour time slot, and there is no room for expansion there – we can’t extend the day or the night. That’s why we are looking at moving the cargo facilities, because having double the time would really expand our capabilities.”

Harboured in Cayman

The Cayman Islands are an incredibly popular tourist destination in the Caribbean, and the cruise industry has been a great benefit for the Islands’ economy, raking in between $6 and $8 million annually, depending on passenger flow (on average 1.5 million tourists come through Cayman Port every year).

“We don’t have berthing facilities for cruise ships, so we use small tender vessels to load and offload passengers,”


Mr Hurlston explained. “Even with that limitation, we have managed to maintain our position as a top ten destination in the Caribbean.”

The Cayman Islands are home to an impressive network of coral reefs; this is just one of the Islands’ features that have made it a tourist hotspot. These reefs are delicate infrastructures that can be affected by many external factors, from climate change to ship grounding, which is why the Port Authority is working hard to ensure these precious reefs are preserved.

“We work alongside other government departments to ensure that the marine environment is protected at the highest possible level,” Mr Hurlston explained. “We want to ensure that it is there for future generations to enjoy. We are very careful with ship anchoring and only allow vessels to anchor in certain areas, to prevent them from damaging the reefs. We have a huge diving industry here and our coral is pristine, we wouldn’t want to play a part in affecting that, so we take all potential risks extremely seriously.”


Over the years the Port Authority has made several tourist-targeted upgrades to the port and the surrounding area. In 1988, the company upgraded the landing dock dedicated to cruise passengers, adding visual appeal and improving customs security. Further to this, in 1990 the company commissioned a brand-new building dedicated to customs offices. Now, the Port Authority is in discussion with several cruise lines to find new areas for potential improvement.

“We continue to look at ways to upgrade our on-land facilities,” Mr Hurlston. “Although it is very early days, we are working with several cruise lines to identify areas where we can improve the fiscal aspect of our terminals. Currently, we are looking at passenger flow, and how to expedite passengers on and off ships. We would like to have solutions put in place ready for the start of the winter season in October.”

A team effort

The Port Authority also has a fleet of two harbour patrol vessels, which are vital for a safe and enjoyable cruising experience. As part of the Islands’ international secu rity arrangements, these vessels are mandatory. “Whenever we have cruise ships in, we have to have our vessels on patrol as a safety precaution,” Mr Hurlston explained. “These vessels are also used for search and rescue. We are surrounded by water, and there are a lot of water activities in the harbour area. Unfortunately, people do get in trouble,

and we are one of the closest points of contact to go and assist them. We do that on a regular basis.”

The authority also takes care of the Islands’ marine navigation aids, and regularly checks the buoys to decide if any maintenance is required. The harbour patrol vessels are used to complete these inspections.

With so many important jobs relying on these boats, the Port Authority must ensure they are in good condition. In the next few years, the company plans to upgrade its vessels and is currently assessing the practicality of hybrid engines. On top of this, it is also considering a small fleet expansion soon.

For those that work at the Port Authority of the Cayman Islands, it is more than just a job. Every employee is given the opportunity to make a difference and help protect the local environment. Their passion for the job is also encouraged through professional development and continuous training across all areas.

“I love ships: I have always loved ships,” Mr Hurlston concluded. “But the reason why I love my job so much, is probably the people that work here. We have a staff of 70, and I really enjoy seeing them grow and fully realise their potential. On top of that, our customers’ satisfaction is a number one. It thrills me to know that they’re satisfied with us and that we have helped them. Those factors are what excite and inspire me.” n

Inside marine 239



With a $60 million redevelopment of its ports underway, the Ports Authority of the Turks and Caicos is facing the horizon of opportunity with renewed vigour, having navigated the devastating effects of a 2017 storm and Covid-19. Port Director Delton Jones and Authority Chairman Tueton Williams bring Andy Probert up to speed on the exciting plans.

For many, a visit to the Turks and Caicos Islands will usually be on a cruise ship on a trip in the Caribbean or an extended exotic vacation away. However, the beating heart of the islands is a cluster of commercial ports through which the economy’s lifeblood flows. Each

acts as a transport artery fanning out to ten inhabited islands among the 40 islands and cays forming the British Overseas Territory southeast of the Bahamas. At the centre point of operations is the Ports Authority of the Turks and Caicos, a government statutory body which

240 Inside marine

employs 60 people to oversee four commercial ports: North Caicos, South Caicos, Grand Turk and Providenciales. The Ports Authority ensures all international shipments in and out of the ports are safe and secure and provides ongoing safety of port workers and visitors, alongside the protection of the environment.

Providenciales is the main port, seeing 90% of all trade from the US and the Caribbean. This trade is split equally between containerised traffic and breakbulk cargo, such as aggregates and steel for the construction sector, plus fuel importation.

The ports reported a 44% uplift in TEU trade in 2021 compared to 2020, and saw

Inside marine 241
242 Inside marine

revenues rise to $7 million. They received 754 vessel calls, a 21% uplift, and a 59% increase in imported cargo volumes on the previous year. The ports handled 594,500 tons of cargo compared to 374,200 tons in 2020.

“There are positive signs that port activity could hit pre-pandemic levels in 2022/23. This presents a welcome opportunity for the authority to invest significantly in our infrastructure and establish Turks and Caicos as a leading port operator in the Caribbean,” said Authority Chairman Mr Tueton Williams.

Offering a lifeline

He added: “The port at Providenciales has not had any significant investment since its inception nearly 40 years ago. A redevelopment is a long time coming as, over that period, the country and its economy have grown vastly.

“That’s why the authority is embarking on a huge redevelopment project over the next three to four years to accommodate the significant port growth forecasted for coming years.”

Port Director Delton Jones said a 2017 hurricane has necessitated efforts to be initially focused on rebuilding the smaller ports at Grand Turk and South Caicos, plus the development of Bellefield Landing Port on North Caicos.

The port at North Caicos, completed in 2022, is used for inter-island travel and can potentially become an iconic landmar k in the Caribbean, according to Mr Jones: “There is potential for further development

244 Inside marine PORT

there as, in partnership with the local community, we have created a masterplan, which includes provision for a marina.”

Activity at South Caicos port has ongoing rehabilitation plans, including a new concert bulkhead, sea defences and drainage system. Additionally, 3,700sqft of asphalt paving at a container yard and mapping of container storage locations is in the works. A port dredging project is also planned.

“Why focus on rebuilding the smaller ports first rather than Providenciales?” Mr Jones

said. “It was due to the ports’ limited complexity, scale, scope, financing and their handling capacities. The ports offer a vital lifeline in supporting transportation links between islands for social, health, relationship and education needs.”

All eyes on Providenciales

Mr Williams agreed, adding: “With those projects successfully in place, the Ports Authority is confident in focusing on Providenciales. It is not only a major

Inside marine 245

strength for the Turks and Caicos, but a key economic barometer of an import trade-dependent island system.”

The $60 million redevelopment of Providenciales envisages modernisation of the South Dock area and the addition of a new Port Office for the Ports Authority, the agriculture and immigration departments, and the department for motor vehicle importation. A new customs office, a warehouse and a bonded area for storing and inspecting imported vehicles is included in the new Port Office.

There will be two new terminals, expansion of an existing berth, construction of a new berth, dredging for a new vessel

turning basin and improved sea defences. New container yards, internal roadways, mast lighting, provisioning for fire service and drainage improvements, and office spaces for shipping agents will also feature.

“It is a massive undertaking,” said Mr Jones, “but the project is scheduled for completion within 48 months.”

The Ports Authority has also voiced determination to spearhead port digitalisation and modern information management systems to support decision-making and supply chain efficiency. Mr Jones said: “We are part of a Caribbean-wide data intelligence project that will help introduce digital platforms, computerise more


functions and transition the ports to a paperless-based environment.”

Climate change considerations will be addressed by adopting a ‘green port’ initiative focusing on investing and encouraging environmentally sustainable operations and developing pragmatic green port solutions. The authority plans to promote more staff internally into key positions and boost its workforce by 25% in the medium term to help the ports cope with an increase in trade and effectively discharge its mandates.

Exciting times ahead

“Challenges remain,” Mr Williams said, “such as traffic congestion at Providenciales, improving our safety record, and procuring for the projects. All this is underscored by maintaining good relations with our stakeholders.

“There are bound to be frustrations as we try to deliver port upgrades in an active port environment. But our relationships remain strong, open and transparent. Our stakeholders can see what we are trying to achieve and are generally happy with the authority’s approach. They remain central to our strategic vision.”

Mr Jones added: “Turks and Caicos stands alongside the likes of Antigua, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Monserrat, whose ports are under modernisation and positioning for anticipated increases in tourism and trade in the years ahead.”

“Our ports might be punching above their weight,” Mr Williams concluded, “but the authority wants them to be known internationally for the quality and standard of their operations. For us, exciting times are just around the corner.”

Inside marine 247

seven seas, five oceans, one voice


uniteam marine caliber maritime intresco tug malta mms americas llc

i M

Uniteam Marine offers an extensive range of services to ship owners and ship managers, covering full management, technical management and crew management. Managing Director John Hadjiparaskevas outlined the latest developments at Uniteam Marine in conversation with Phil Nicholls.

Uniteam Marine has the vision of being a leader in the provision of ship management services. As part of this portfolio of services, Uniteam Marine is expanding its workforce to remain the local cruise ship partner of choice in Myanmar.

“2022 was a great year for the Uniteam Cruise Services (UCS) brand,” explained

Managing Director John Hadjiparaskevas. “We were able to recruit many additional crew members to work onboard both ocean and river cruisers in response to the market bouncing back after the pandemic.”

UCS prepared all required formalities, including visa processing, and completed other processes to ensure that both existing poolers and newly selected

250 Inside marine

crews could embark their assigned vessels as scheduled. The cruise industry is working hard to come back to old strength, and passenger booking numbers are expected to reach pre-COVID levels and surpass them. UCS already has more cruise personnel onboard than before the pandemic.

UCS employs competent people for ongoing projects on river and ocean cruise ships and is still attempting to attract global clients by supplying hardworking and qualified crew from Myanmar for the up-and-coming year.

Growth and innovation

“In addition to supplying more and more crew to the cruise sector,” continued Mr Hadjiparaskevas, “our new brand,

Uniteam Healthcare Services (UHS), has started supplying personnel for medical professions to clients in Germany. With our existing logistical infrastructure, we can replicate the recruitment and ‘onboarding’ process for other industries and gain valuable experience in other potential expansion markets.”

S ince it was formed 37 years ago, Uniteam Marine has been committed t o providing the highest level of service quality to clients around the world. To maintain these standards, Uniteam Marine must keep growing and innovating. This principle includes the expansion of UHS noted above and the work of Uniteam Training.

Inside marine 251
252 Inside marine

This sister company based in Yangon, Myanmar, recently opened the new, upgraded integrated mooring station MV Uniteam Endeavour. Uniteam Training uses this station to teach safe mooring operation, maintenance and inspection of mooring ropes, accident prevention during moorings, maintenance of mooring equip ment, anchoring operation and emergency towing, plus chain locker inspection and maintenance. The station also teaches the communication and teamwork required during mooring operations.

To deliver this growing package of services, Uniteam Marine has offices in Cyprus (Limassol), Germany (Hamburg), the Philippines (Manila), Ukraine (Odessa), Myanmar (Yangon) and Singapore.

Supporting seafarers

Uniteam Marine’s 128 employees deliver an extensive range of services to ship owners and ship managers, covering full management, technical management and crew management. The company provides to clients the core support needed to operate and safeguard their vessels and achieve commercial success.

Mr Hadjiparaskevas outlined the distinct features of Uniteam Marine: “We work with our clients to build longterm relationships that achieve lasting competitive advantages. Through these strategic partnerships, we provide vital support and reassurance, enabling them to focus on their core business.


“At Uniteam Marine, we value long-term cooperation, and we work hard to understand our clients’ needs and provide tailor-made solutions to meet their specific requirements and expectations. We are committed to improving continuously by offering and helping clients adapt to change and achieve their commercial goals.”

Uniteam Marine's extensive team also upholds these commitments to partnership. “We support the mental health and well-being of our seafarers onboard, as well as our colleagues in the office,” said Mr Hadjiparaskevas. “Providing a working environment that takes care of the employees and their specific needs is a

top priority for Uniteam Marine.

“It is vital that our staff feel confident that their concerns are taken seriously. They can approach us with whatever they may have in their heart, and we will offer assistance.”

Nurturing relationships

Uniteam Marine’s level of delivery can only be achieved by having a close business relationship with suppliers, according to Mr Hadjiparaskevas: “The reliability of our suppliers and partners plays a crucial role in our daily work. Every company needs to have a solid relationship with its suppliers and partners to guarantee on-time deliveries at a competitive price.

Inside marine 255

“This can only be achieved by having a business relationship on equal terms, whereby the partner respect the needs and challenges, and communicate openly about bottlenecks and finding the best possible solution for our customers.”

Uniteam Marine has also started developing and implementing an ESG policy. It has begun several environment-friendly projects, such as planting trees on behalf of the staff onshore and onboard

“Every small step is important to protect our environment,” explained Mr Hadjiparaskevas. “At Uniteam Marine , we have committed to changing the landscape by employing dedicated personnel who will monitor the current fleet and propose improvements to vessel

owners, to lead the transition to the coming low-carbon economy. We will be able to benchmark these vessels against their counterparts and continue to improve energy efficiency throughout the lifespan of each vessel.”

As everywhere in the world, and in every business, Uniteam Marine has been affected by the current global issues. For example, the costs of flights increased dramatically after the pandemic. Since all players in the sector face the same challenges, this is not so much a competitive disadvantage, but it adds to the operating costs that need to be passed on to our clients.

“Travel restrictions have luckily been eased gradually,” continued Mr Hadjiparaskevas, “but the network


of available flight connections has still not returned to the frequencies of earlier times. This makes additional connecting flights necessary, adding to the travel time for seafarers – and the costs as well.

“Despite the rising costs, the high inflation globally and the fact that the provision of ship management services has become a lot more competitive in the last few years – with margins decreasing – I am very confident and optimistic about the future.”

This optimism and passion for the industry is evident at Uniteam Marine. “Shipping is a very dynamic field of business,” concluded Mr Hadjiparaskevas.

“Coming to the office every morning, you never know what awaits you. I love the true internationality of shipping; dealing with business partners all around the globe, making friends and f ostering business relations with different nationalities and cultures.

“This widens our horizons and helps us understand the challenges faced by others. Finding solutions that satisfy our clients is extremely rewarding.” n

Inside marine 257

Caliber Maritime is a relatively new name in the ship management space, but its vastly experienced team brings a fresh and invigorated look to the industry. Andy Probert sat down with Managing Director George Skrimizeas to learn more about the Greek company’s evolution and why the sector needs to do more for seafarers.

Since launching in 2019, Caliber Maritime has quietly thrived as a fully integrated ship management company, offering a full spectrum of services to its clients, both traditional shipowners and institutional investors.

From commercial to technical, operations to crewing, and IT&T to HSEQ aspects, everything is handled in-house by a dedicated, vastly experienced team.

“The concept of establishing Caliber came from our vision to establish a fresh,

258 Inside marine

innovative and even disruptive approach to all aspects of managing an oceangoing vessel, both in how the company operates and our r elationship with clients and industry stakeholders,” reflected Managing Director George Skrimizeas.

“We have the flexibility to adapt to shipping’s everyday challenges and the capacity to absorb extra tonnage without jeopardising the efficiency and effective ness of our service provision.

“Caliber always strives to be a pioneer: to develop, propose and implement new ideas innovatively. We hope this will lead to more colleagues following in our footsteps.”

Commitment to quality

Today, Caliber manages eight bulk carriers and two container ships with a 20-strong team onshore at the company’s Athens headquarters, and a crew pool of 300 seafarers from the Ukraine and Philippines. The vessels, primarily owned by US and European concerns, range between 37,000 and 82,000 DWT and operate globally.

Mr Skrimizeas added: “Our commitment to quality is of paramount importance, and we have infused this philosophy across our organisation. There cannot be any future in the shipping industry without actual and meaningful focus on quality. That’s why 100% of our fleet is enrolled

Inside marine 259

on the United States Coast Guard’s QUALSHIP21 program.

“Yet one cannot talk about quality without having a competent and loyal crew. We make considerable investments in human capital, because the best crew you can have is the crew you have developed.”

Caliber recruits seamen from maritime academies and develops them to the highest ranks. Continuous training is also key for the company’s personal and professional growth.

Since inception, Caliber’s business growth has averaged 55% per annum, and Mr Skrimizeas stated: “we are very proud to have formed a substantial presence in a short space of time.”

“I consider it a significant achievement that leading corporations and financial institutions (who have very strict and demanding criteria), entrusted Caliber to manage their vessels, and soon after rewarded us by increasing their business with us. We have proven we can be efficient and successful in difficult periods.

“I believe these organisations appreciated our philosophy: transparent modus operandi, high standards of governance, and the cost-efficient way we run vessels. Moreover, clients share the same vision with us, and are equally committed to creating an impact on the industry.”

Caliber has been contemplating several innovative projects for the last few years,


testing biofuels, installing different energy-saving devices on-board and using innovative painting solutions to reduce consumption and emissions.

Crew welfare

Another area where the business aims to be a pioneer is Caliber’s human element, especially the crew. “We were among the first to embrace the Code of Conduct, an initiative introduced by Rightship,” confirmed Mr Skrimizeas.

“We have already achieved intermediate level and aim for the excellent level in 2023. From day one, it seems our approach has been appreciated, and we have been in active discussions with Rightship on how to improve the Code further.”

Mr Skrimizeas highlighted: “Crew welfare should be first in the list of each ship management company. Life at sea is not easy. We have to significantly improve the quality of life on board to attract and retain highly skilled and competent crew. It is they who essentially make our plans and strategy happen.”

He revealed Caliber is primed for further expansion: aiming to increase its fleet to 20-25 vessels within the next three years

and establish offices in Singapore and Dubai. “Since Asia and the Middle East have more tonnage requiring management services, we feel our presence in these hubs will bring us closer to potential clients.

“However, we are very selective regarding new business, and we follow a strict due diligence process. We have to be assured any potential client is dedicated to the same principles, respects and appreciates the crew and is willing to invest in quality.”

Plans to establish manning agencies in Indonesia, Vietnam and India to help widen the pool of seafarers, and develop their careers, is also on the agenda.

Mr Skrimizeas acknowledged the biggest challenge during the pandemic was the crewing crisis, with crew changes almost impossible, forcing Caliber to find ways to better protect their seafarers.

“We worked daily on how to better handle the fatigue on board and safeguard the mental health of our seafarers. Unfortunately, despite the various voices and the loud statements of many different parties, only a few solutions were given.”

He added: “Even today, in many countries, crew changes follow very

Inside marine 261

strict procedures, yet many parties have exploited, opportunistically, the pandemic to increase their income.

“Hypocrisy in this matter must stop, and real solutions must be implemented. The human factor will be the biggest challenge of the future, and it is disappointing to see that in shipping, the human element and its contribution have been underestimated.”

He added compliance will be another challenge. “Not because ship managers and owners cannot cope, but mainly because on many occasions, new rules are imposed by parties

who do not understand shipping in its entirety.”

As a disruptive force in the sector, Mr Skrimizeas asserted that Caliber is a differentiator.

“To put it briefly, we go beyond theory; we are doers. We run ships at very competitive daily operating expenses, while achieving excellent utilisation rates. Our long-standing commercial contacts with first-class customers offer an extra attraction to shipowners who are assured the vessels are chartered to majors on attractive terms and with minimal counterparty risk.”

“From inception, it has been Caliber’s strategic decision to base its development on human element and innovative technology”

Long-term relations

Most importantly for Mr Skrimizeas is Caliber’s commit ment to operate transparently, offering tailored MIS with real data through constant financial tracking and live streaming of vessels via an in-house designed mobile app.

“We ensure every ship owner feels like their ship is managed in-house and Caliber Maritime serves their interests as if it were their own private entity. This enables long-term relationships with all our business partners.”

He asserted: “We strongly believe that only this strategy pays back and generates considerable benefits in the long run. The first parameter towards a long-term business relationship is to be very diligent when we choose our business partners. Whether it is suppliers, service providers, shipowners or charterers, they are all considered business partners who will contribute to Caliber’s development.

“We treat them with respect, clear terms and conditions, transparency and reliability. We make our expectations

clear, understand their needs, adopt a commercial approach and honour our commitments. And that is what we expect in return.”

Mr Skrimizeas said: “I firmly believe that, in the shipping industry, we should not stick to past successes. What worked well in the past is not necessarily efficient t oday and will most likely be obsolete soon. The rules of the game are changing drastically, and only those who adapt quickly and proactively will enjoy a secure, prosperous and sustainable future.

“From inception, it has been Caliber’s strategic decision to base its development on human element and innovative technology. We feel now ready for further expansion. I say ‘now ready’ because I am a firm believer that rapid expansion, as Caliber’s has been so far, requires breaks at certain intervals. These breaks allow you to assess the performance, identify weaknesses, decide about your next steps, your next investments, your strategy. I think we are well positioned for the future but are never complacent and always contemplating new ideas.”

Inside marine 263

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused thousands of deaths, the biggest population displacement since World War II, and devastated an economy the World Bank says will need a minimum $411bn ten-year repair bill. Maksym Khaulin, Director Odesa-based INTRESCO global ship management company, tells Colin Chinery how his company is succeeding in facing these challenges.

264 Inside marine

Early on February 24th, 2022, and in a major escalation of the eight-year Russo-Ukrainian war, Russian forces, massing across an east-to-west arc, launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Maksym Khaulin, Director of Odesa-based INTRESCO global shipping company, left Ukraine one week before that for a holiday in Europe, but on February 25th he headed for Greece.

Today, Mr Khaulin is directing his premium global ship management operation from offices in Athens and Odesa, which has been functioning normally throughout the war. INTRESCO is one of many Ukrainian shipping companies that de-camped to Piraeus; the capital of the world’s third-biggest ship-owning nation. From there, Mr Khaulin surveys the future with resolution and cautious optimism.

INTRESCO ever ready

“The war brought about many bad things, but our company was ready for any scenario,” Mr Khaulin explained, “and our strategy and growth – including the upgrading and development of our fleet – are not really connected to the war.”

Co-founded by Mr Khaulin in 1997, INTRESCO delivers integrated quality ship management services including vessel operations and maintenance, chartering, crewing, finance, purchase and sales.

“Cost efficiency, professionalism, safety and environmental pollution prevention are among our core attributes,” he continued.

Inside marine 265

A specialist in dry bulk, the 14-vessel fleet carries grain and grain products, steels, fertilisers and other commodities along worldwide shipping routes. Russia’s effective blockade of the Black Sea has put a near stranglehold on exports of steel – Ukraine is a major supplier to European markets – and grain.

Steel, once the top earner with 40 to 60% of cargoes, has now been replaced by fertilisers. This now accounts for 60% of INTRESCO’s business, trading into the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, the Baltic states and North Africa.

Opportunity knocks

For Mr Khaulin, entry into the dry bulk market was a matter of ‘opportunity knocks’. He joined a local tanker shipping company where he was taught different aspects of the industry. “And since it didn’t have a dry cargo department,” he said, “I was invited to make a go of it. I started to liaise with charterers, and having gained that experience in nine months, I opened my own company in 1995.”

Two years on, he met his two future business partners and launched INTRESCO (International Repair and Shipping Company), specialising in ship repair and modernisation. Commercial management soon followed, and five months into business INTRESCO bought its first general cargo vessel, the shallowdraft single-decker Sagitta for operations in the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Mediterranean.

Eighteen months later, increasing activity in technical management services saw the opening of a branch in Odesa. A natural transit point for goods traveling between

266 Inside marine INTRESCO I PROFILE

Europe and Asia, shipping accounts for almost 10% of Ukraine’s GDP. In 2001 the company took management of the first Handymax bulk carrier – the Selecta, and by the summer of 2006 was managing six vessels of this type, with the addition of the Supramax-class Santana.

A crewing facility opened in Odesa the next year. “Ukraine seafarers are in big demand because they are highly experienced, trained, versatile and speak excellent English,” Mr Khaulin said.

Then, four months before the 2008 global financial crisis, INTRESCO switched from ship repair to traditional ship management services, operating 20 vessels including 10 Handymax and Supramax bulk carriers. On order were a further four bulk carrier vessels.

Crash and re-focus

Then came the crash and a shipping meltdown that triggered cut-throat completion and corporate fatalities.

“INTRESCO suffered during that crisis,” explained Mr Khaulin. “Eight years on, despite battling to keep our bulk carrier division, we sold our last two bulk carriers.

“The financial crisis taught us many things: when we reactivated INTRESCO in 2016, we determined we would focus on smaller Handysize vessels to enable us to find our niche and become a player in the market.”

Today’s 14 vessel bulk and general cargo fleet ranges from 10,000 to 20,000dwt. 2023 is also seeing a major restructuring, according to Mr Khaulin:

Inside marine 267

“Starting from this year, we will be replacing the old tonnage; renewing it so that we will have no vessel older than 2008 or 2009.

“In addition, we are going to sell all vessels up to 12,000 dead weight, leaving us to manage vessels only between 12,000 and 20,000. Those below 12,000 will be sold and replaced with modern and bigger vessels. Fleet numbers will remain about the same, 14 to 15.”

With 20 sailors on board a typical vessel, and changes every six months, INTRESCO has a crew count of 500. And if quality crewing and recruitment are a constant challenge, the war has brought major new difficulties.

“Currently we have a big problem,” Mr Khaulin explained. “Many Ukrainian seafarers are living abroad now and cannot return because they might be mobilised, leaving their families without income.

“So, when you are looking for a Ukrainian crew – and 99 per cent of ours are Ukrainian – you must search all over the world to find them. It’s a big issue, and even with Skype

and Zoom interviews, the process is more difficult now.”

As well as crewing, INTRESCO covers every aspect of vessel performance, focusing on safe and environmentally sound operations, high-quality maintenance programmes and achieving customer goals. This includes everything from chartering, operation, repairs and dry docking, upgrading, technical maintenance and safety, to peripheral activities such as insurance, professional indemnity insurance, claims handling and accounting, plus quality bunker and lubricants supply.

Experience and excellence

“We have a reputation for providing excellent and expert technical support; our staff are highly trained and dedicated,” continued Mr Khaulin. “We have the experience necessary – the number one priority in the marine industry today. What makes our company special is our people; they have been with us for many, many years, indeed a minimum average of 10 years – when somebody comes to our company, they don’t leave.

INTRESCO I PROFILE 268 Inside marine

“Ever since 1997, we maintained longterm relations with charterers, and this will drive us into the future. They know they can rely on us to deliver their cargo without any problems.”

Meanwhile, the war that began with the 2014 covert invasion of the Ukrainian autonomous republic of Crimea by disguised Russian troops, was entering a new phase with Ukrainian forces poised for a counteroffensive. Strategic necessity goes beyond “regaining what is ours,” said Mr. Khaulin, dismissing Russian claims about language and ethnicity.

“When the war started, we, along with other shipping companies, provided a lot of assistance to the army and to the people, buying medical supplies and helping refugees,” he concluded. “This was quite an achievement for our company.

“I’m a positive man, I am Ukrainian, and want to go home to Ukraine and move all our team back to Odesa. So yes, I think we will have only good news. Everybody is working towards this.” In early May, Mr Khaulin returned to Odesa and continues his business activity from the Odesa office. n

Inside marine 269


tugboat INDUSTRY

Tug Malta Ltd meets the towage service requirements of the shipping industry and provides a variety of offshore support services. With an excellent safety performance record, trained and experienced crews and a modern, versatile fleet, Tug Malta has evolved as a leader in the port services field. General Manager Malcolm Custo told Hannah Barnett how the company has become a credible, niche player in the Mediterranean offshore segment.

270 Inside marine

INOctober 2022, Tug Malta’s managing group Rimorchiatori Riuniti agreed to sell 100% of its stake in Rimorchiatori Mediterranei SpA to SAS Shipping Agencies Services Sàrl, the subsidiary holding company of the Swiss shipping giant Mediterranean Shipping Company.

MSC is the world’s largest shipping company : it calls at 500 ports on over 230 trade routes, carrying some 23 million TEU annually. It is also the first ocean carrier to surpass a staggering five million TEUs in fleet capacity, which means the firm holds 17.5% of the global market share.

So, it is no surprise that, in the words of Tug Malta’s General Manager Malcolm Custo, “the acquisition will change the playing field completely.”

Inside marine 271

Company history

Founded in 1980 as a state-owned company, Tug Malta began operations with just three tugs acquired from two private towage operators. Its location in the important transhipment port and logistics centre of Malta meant that the company soon experienced an exponential increase in demand for towage services.

Plenty more changes came to the company in 2009, when Rimorchiatori Riuniti Group became the 100% shareholder. “This gave us the opportunity to invest in new tugs and a modern fleet, because previously we had tugs which were 20 or 25 years old,” said Mr Custo. “It also gave us the opportunity to venture into the offshore business and not be limited only to local harbour towage.” With this context, the recent acquisition by MSC is just the next rung on the ladder for Tug Malta. The company is a proud member of the International Salvage Union (ISU) and an active member of the European Tug Owners’ Association.

Fleet changes

Mr Custo was enthusiastic about the opportunities the takeover looks set to herald: “The synergistic potential of being part of a large group is huge. We already saw this when we became part of Rimorchiatori Riuniti. But now, with MSC, the opportunities and economies of scale are even bigger –both from a purchasing point of view with suppliers, and from our expanding client base.”

Tug Malta has already experienced some of the power a connection to a corporate behemoth can wield. Two years ago, MSC purchased 50% of Palumbo shipyards, a drydocking company in Malta, and started sending ships for repairs on the island. “As a towage company, that doubled our tug activity at the shipyards,” explained Mr Custo. “Now, MSC has added a new shipping route with Malta as a stop off, which means even more business coming to us.”

Tug Malta is already a thriving company; last year it clocked up an €18 million

272 Inside marine TUG MALTA LTD I PROFILE

turnover. €15 million of this it earned from freeport work and oil tanking contracts, with the other €3 million split between work in the Grand Malta harbour and its shipyard.

The company operates eight regular tugs, with an average bollard pull of around 74 tonnes. It has also invested in a smaller tug, with a bollard pull of nine tonnes, to offer services to larger yachts and smaller vessels. “With the larger tugs, we weren't able to offer the service, because the tug would be too large and too powerful, ending up damaging the ship,” Mr Custo explained.

Due to Tug Malta’s commitment to growth and reinvestment, five of the company’s tugs were purchased in the last four years. The newest one, Tug Senglea, was built by the renowned Dutch shipbuilders Damen shipyards, and purchased in 2020. Seven of the tugs have firefighting equipment, whilst three have the facility of oil recovery, which helps if ever there is a pollution incident.

“We keep investing in new and powerful tugs,” Mr Custo said, “We have tugs which have up to an 82-tonne bollard pull

Inside marine 273

capacity. This makes it easier for us to tow large container vessels which are 400 metres and above. The sea is very deep in the ports around Malta, so we get a lot of these larger draft vessels. We need to be well e quipped to serve them. And this can only be done with a modern, powerful fleet.”

Safety and supply chain

The MSC acquisition is likely to positively impact Tug Malta’s supply chain, too.

“Most of our tugs, and the tugs of the group, run on Caterpillar engines,” explained Mr Custo. “It makes it easier to come to agreements with the suppliers and get good prices. But it’s even

more important to have suppliers who can ship the parts you need quickly, and at short notice. Obviously, once you have a tug which is laid up, it means you have one tug less. But that also means there is a risk that there'll be certain situations where you will not be able to offer an emergency service. We try to avoid that.”

Requests for emergency service assistance are all too real in this industry: Mr Custo emphasised how important some of the company’s endeavours are. He described an incident in March 2022 , when two Tug Malta tugboats were required to provide salvage assistance to a 200-metre tanker.

TUG MALTA LTD I PROFILE 274 Inside marine

“The day was characterised by very inclement weather,” recalled Mr Custo, “and as a result, the tanker ended up with engine difficulties and was drifting close to the coastline. We had to send two tugs to hold the ship to avoid it running aground. They ended up there for two days until the weather calmed dow;. then eventually we managed to bring the vessel to a safe berth.”

Good to its workforce

For a company operating from a small island such as Malta, challenges in staffing are common, especially in the highly skilled tugboat industry. But Tug Malta has turned this into a positive, by ensuring it takes good care of its employees.

“Our crews need to be qualified and it is not easy to find them locally,” Mr Custo said. “We try and recruit apprentices who are studying at local maritime institutes but there aren't enough to meet industry requirements. Also, besides us, there are other key players hunting the same market,

for the same skills, so, it is not always easy to find the right people. But this is why we try to create and sustain a culture where if you join Tug Malta, you are happy to remain and grow with us.”

There is little doubt that Tug Malta is a company that looks after its people. Mr Custo emphasised the importance of the supportive, strong team he works alongside. But more than that, he has seafaring in his blood.

“My dad was involved in the maritime industry, I’ve always loved it,” he reflected. “I grew up within it, and that is where my passion comes from. What attracted me to Tug Malta was that it was part of an international group. That already gave me so many different opportunities. And now that we are fully owned by MSC, the opportunities are limitless.”

Inside marine 275



MMS Americas LLC. is a dedicated ISM and ISO9002 certified ship manager, providing high quality and cost-efficient ship management services on a personalised basis. MMS acts only on behalf of its clients and does not own or operate vessels of its own. Ismael Donadio Botello, Managing Director, told Hannah Barnett more about what the company does.

276 Inside marine

INtoday’s highly competitive environment, there is a growing need for high-quality ship management services which place an emphasis on safety and preservation of the environment, whilst remaining cost-effective and efficient.

Founded in 1989, Florida-based MMS Americas is firmly committed to upholding these high standards.

“Among the smaller companies in this area, we stand out,” said Managing Director Ismael Donadio Botello. “What separates us is that most of the small competitors are one-man companies with no structure, probably operating from home. But we are a small company keeping up with the big guys. All the large suppliers work with us.”

MMS may be small – currently it has only five members among its office staff – but each senior member has more than 25 years of experience within the shipping industry and qualifications as Captains and Chief Engineers. From the HQ in West Palm Beach, Florida, MMS offers ship owners, financial institutions and individual investors a comprehensive range of ship management services.

Significant projects

MMS currently operates ten ships in the busy maritime market of Florida and its surrounding areas, including the Mexican Gulf, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

Inside marine 277

The company specialises in smaller vessels under 3,000 tonnes.

One of the services MMS offers is technical consultancy. This involves expertise and supervision for dry-docking or repairs, surveys, pre-vetting inspections and other marine-related services, advice on vessels’ registry, consulting on transportation studies, and new business development.

Technical consultancy also involves assisting owners with refurbishment and upgrading of vessels. One large project MMS recently completed was the dry docking of a vessel in in Veracruz, Mexico.

“The Technical Manager was in Veracruz for almost 20 days,” said, Mr Botello. “And we have been deeply involved for the last three or four months, in all the requirements and procurement.

We had to get the parts and materials to satisfy class and flag, then finalise this project in the best, most cost-effective way for the owner of the vessel. It kept us very busy at the end of 2022 and into the first quarter of 2023.”

The project involved repairs on the shaft, rudder and cargo hatches, as well as organising a survey for a ballast water management certificate. “I believe we achieved our goal by managing to keep the costs to what was expected. I am satisfied with the completion of this project,” reflected Mr Botello.

Investing in facilities

MMS has recently refurbished its facilities, installing new computers and upgrading company cell phone plans.


Improved communication all round may be a gamechanger for Mr Botello.

“It means we don’t need to be in the office all the time,” he said. “So, when we are in the field, we can monitor everything from our phones. Even though we are a small company, we have good technology. I can work from anywhere.

“We are partnered with another company, who provides services to bankers and the cruise industry, to switch to a system that can be monitored through the computer. We are in a transitional period at the moment: I still have to sign papers, which is very time consuming and not eco-friendly. But we are moving towards an updated system where we can store all our data and sign documents electronically.”

A strong supply chain

MMS works with several different suppliers. Mr Botello named Integrity Marine, the leading manufacturer of rub rails to boat builders and also highlighted relationships with a number of classification societies including DNV, as integral to the success of MMS.

Mr Botello explained how the company owes much of its success to the work of its former President, who passed away two-and-a-half years ago. “He built this company with solid business ethics,” said

Inside marine 279

Mr Botello. “Meaning we are respected by the big suppliers because they know we are a responsible company.”

A strong relationship with the supply chain is vitally important for a shipping management company. As Mr Botello put it: “The success of this business is not only dependent on us, but also the services that we can arrange and provide through thirdparty contractors. If they comply with us, then we are happy and the owner is happy.

“We have forged these relationships over the last 33 years. This means if we contact one of the biggest companies, they always

open a space for us because they know when they work for us, we’re reliable and trustworthy. At the end of the day, everything is related to money: if they know you pay and are responsible, believe me, they are always going to be there for you.”

Trained and ready

In order for MMS to keep on its successful course, like any company it must keep abreast of trends and invest in the professional development of the workforce.

“One of the most important aspects of this business is human resources,” Mr Botello explained. “We like to invest in our employee training. We believe in giving good service and must be trained to be aware of how the technology of the future will affect owners and the business overall. We manage ves -


sels that are 40 years old and others that are ten years old. So, we need to be aware how new rules might impact vessels of dif ferent ages.”

All crew members must pass extensive training from outside sources and are drilled for a wide variety of scenarios, from onboard incidents to oil spills, groundings, fires and abandoning ship.

“I get a lot of queries from owners,” said Mr Botello. “If I don’t know the answer, I never say: ‘I don't know.’ l say: ‘let me investigate, give me a few days and I'll give you an answer.’ But I try always to be ready to give a reasonable and accurate answer to clients. And to do that, I need to study every day and learn from the situations I experience.”

One particularly memorable situation arose recently when a crew member at the dry dock in Mexico suffered a stroke on the boat, requiring MMS to be involved in a complicated logistical process involving the Mexican Navy. That the company were able to organise the right help likely saved

the individual’s life. Just another day at the office, as Mr Botello sees it.

“I used to be the guy that schedules everything,” he explained. “But I would only achieve maybe 30 per cent because I would always end up doing other things. I mean, planning is important – I don't want that misunderstood – You have to plan, or you don't get anywhere.

“But the business is so strange and there is always a situation that arises that you could not foresee. And that is the beauty of the job. Expect the unexpected and be sure to perform under pressure.” n

Inside marine 281
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.