Strategic Marine: Diversification and the Uptake of LNG
MarEx spoke to Ron Anderson, Executive Director, of shipbuilder Strategic Marine to see how the company is remaining strong despite the current oversupply of offshore vessels.
What market trends does Strategic Marine see at present in the crew boat and OSV sectors?
The offshore service sector as we typically think of it in terms of supply vessels for oil and gas projects is generally dead due to the oil price crisis, and many operators are focusing on selling existing vessels rather than building new vessels.
The offshore wind farm service sector remains resilient with solid political backing for additional offshore windfarms and new and smarter vessel solutions available.
How do you view the ferry market at present?
We are seeing solid activity and interest from operators of both traditional and fast ferries wanting to acquire new vessels to better service the needs of their customers. The low oil price is reducing one of their major costs thereby improving the economy of many ferry routes.
How is Strategic Marine dealing with the current downturn in offshore demand?
Strategic Marine has been focusing on diversifying our product portfolio to better handle downturns in any of our product segments for a number of years now. This strategy have allowed us to escape the current downturn in offshore relatively unscathed as we have ramped up our focus and attention on our other product segments in order to maintain optimal yard throughput.
Furthermore, we continue to focus on our vertical product chain for aluminum vessels to ensure quality cost effective solutions across our range of vessels.
We continue our focus on the patrol boat sectors which remain reasonably resilient with a number of new projects on the horizon. Strategic Marine has secured a number of contracts in our market segments, and more are in negotiation.
What recent contracts have you won?
We have secured a new contract with Rederij Doeksen (Royal Doeksen), one of the largest ferry operators in The Netherlands, for the construction of two LNG-powered aluminum catamarans.
The vessels will have a capacity of 600 passengers and 64 cars each and are scheduled for delivery early 2018. Designed by BMT Nigel Gee in the U.K., these two eco-friendly RoPax ferries will feature single-fuel LNG main propulsion plants driving fixed pitch azimuth thrusters through mechanical gearboxes.
Ship’s power is delivered by a hybrid LNG/electric plant where electric power is generated by two single fuel LNG generators and additional electricity is stored in battery banks for use with the electric bow thrusters as well as main grid stabilizing/peak shaving purposes.
The vessels will operate on the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Wadden Sea and great attention has therefore been given to reducing the vessels’ environmental footprint wherever possible.
What future do you see for LNG as bunker fuel?
Strategic Marine foresees an increased focus on the environmental aspects of marine transportation, with LNG emerging as the fuel of choice for many vessels such as ferries, and we are committed to be on the forefront of developing LNG and other emission reducing technologies further for the benefits of our clients and the environment.
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