Gibdock has got off to a sound start in 2017, with encouraging signs of underlying recovery in several markets.
Richard Beards, Managing Director, says: “Many of our ferry clients have had a reasonable year in 2016 and are investing back into their vessels.”
A steady stream of ferries operating in regional waters has been visiting for their regular drydockings, in a season running from January to May.
The yard has also seen a slight upturn in offshore work, perhaps indicating the first signs of recovery after a challenging period for the market. “We have handled four offshore vessels in recent months, so hopefully the worst may be over,” says Beards.
The recent docking of the Thompson Majesty also suggests there remains a healthy demand for cruise ship work in the Mediterranean, which Gibdock is well-placed to meet, he says, while activity on behalf of the Ministry of Defence is also on the up. “We are starting to see more naval ships, and this augurs well for the future.”
Gibdock is also beginning to see work resulting from regulatory changes including both the Ballast Water Management Convention and ongoing moves to limit emissions levels. “More of our clients are enquiring about ballast water treatment system retrofits as part of their overall drydock specifications,” says Beards. “We offer a flexible solution, either simply fitting the necessary pipe work to allow for future installation, or installing fully working systems.”
Meanwhile, the uncertainty created by the Brexit vote last year has eased for the time being, he says. “Needless to say, management at the yard is taking action to prepare for Brexit, but so far it is simply not a factor; it is very much business as usual.”
Leading French shipowner, Louis Dreyfus Armateurs, docked its first vessel with Gibdock last December, marking a significant business win for the yard. The 2002-built, 140m cable layer Ile de Brehat spent 16 days in dock for a full external blasting and coating package as well as the overhaul of three of its thruster units.
Gibdock was also tasked with upgrading the vessel’s hydro-acoustic systems, various minor steel repairs, the installation of a new ballast water treatment system, the renewal of the vessel’s A frame, and load testing of 11 onboard cranes.
Gibdock has drydocked a number of vessels for the Italian-based Grimaldi shipping group over the past year. The yard was recently able to offer the company an alongside repair service for the 2010-built, 26,653 dwt ro-ro container ship, Grande Senegal. The vessel had suffered damage to its anchor pockets, and needed an urgent repair. Gibdock responded, and Grande Senegal was alongside for 10 days while the work was carried out, allowing it to re-enter service with minimal delay.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.