A busy winter with plenty of passenger ships was followed by a spring in which special ships dominated the scene: the half-year report of Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven mirrors the current climate in German shipbuilding.
“It’s a changeable market,” says Rüdiger Pallentin in a comment which also describes prospects for the coming months. And yet the Managing Director of Lloyd Werft is not dissatisfied with the situation overall.
The conversion and repair of cruise liners in particular, along with lucrative orders from the special ship sector have made it clear that the yard’s innovative capabilities along with its international viability continue to enjoy a very good reputation and are its most valuable assets for the future.
Lloyd Werft has exploited this international market significance in shipbuilding. It has restructured and extended its network of agencies in Europe as far as Scandinavia with the JML Shipyards & Marine AB (Fjällbacken/Sweden) while extending in the Far East to Singapore with Coway Marine Service Pte Ltd.
Since April, the yard’s important USA presence has also been newly structured with Vogler Marine Agencies LLC, which now represents the shipyard in the USA, Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, the Bermudas and Costa Rica.
Lloyd Werft has also changed internally as well as externally by filling a key management position with an experienced new man. Friedrich Norden, who has headed up projects like the construction of all four Combi Dock heavy transport new-buildings, has now taken over the Purchasing and Materials Management sector.
Alongside the creation of these structures, some of them new and forward-looking, shipbuilding and all its various business sectors will remain, as they should, the centre of activity on the company’s modern and future-oriented site.
That activity includes the conversions and repairs of five cruise ships, the conversion of a new dock ship for offshore support specialists, a range of repair and classification contracts and the completion of the two RWE wind turbine installation vessels “Victoria Mathias” and “Friedrich Ernestine”.
Lloyd Werft’s half-year report combines proven competence and forward thinking.
The 28,613 GT, 205.56 metre-long MS “Black Watch” is one of the classic ships of the cruise liner fleet. Fred Olsen Cruises sent the one-time “Royal Viking Star” to Lloyd Werft for extensive repair and conversion work.
In early summer 2011 the yard converted the new flag ship of Phoenix Reisen within just a month. After the comprehensive conversion programme the former P&O liner “Artemis”, built in 1984, became the 44,588 GT, 231 metre-long MS “Artania” for 1,200 passengers.
Pleased with this work, Phoenix sent two more of its cruise ships to the Bremerhaven yard in November 2011. A new bulbous bow was installed on the 28,518 GT, 830 passenger MS “Albatros”, which is 205.46 metres, to make her more energy efficient and she was repaired and overhauled for a world trip.
At the same time, the 192.5 metre-long MS “Amadea”, built in 1991, was also docked at the yard for extensive steel works and for work on her stabilisers and shaft.
By contrast, Lloyd Werft had more than three months to carry out the thorough conversion of the 135.10 metre-long “Minerva”, which was built in 1995 and is of 12,499 GT. Operators Artica Adventure & Cruise Shipping Ltd wants to put the now newly outfitted and more upmarket ship into service mainly for English customers.
The 176.2 metre-long cruise liner MS “Marco Polo”, of 22,080 GT, made a technical stop-over at Lloyd Werft for shaft inspection. As “Alexander Pushkin”, that 176.2 metre-long ship was built in Wismar in 1965 and used to be a regular visitor to Bremerhaven’s Columbuskaje Terminal.
Lloyd Werft underscored its interest in the forward-looking offshore wind energy sector by converting the heavy-lift dock ship MS “Combi Dock 1V” into the 162.3 metre-long offshore support specialist “OIG Giant 11” of 17,341 GT. The yard built “Combi Dock 1V”, the last in a series of four specialised vessels, and delivered her to Bremen shipping company Reederei Harren in 2009.
Just eleven months later, Harren had the new-building modified at considerable expense turning her into the ultra-modern “OIG Giant 11” platform, which is now used for installing offshore wind energy turbines.
This future market is one which the yard wants to be more deeply involved in with a new business division of its own. Part of that is the completion of two giant installation ships for RWE. The two self-drive hub platforms “Victoria Mathias” and “Friedrich Ernestine”, both 100 metres long and 40 metres wide, were for RWE Innogy GmbH in Essen and were completed and outfitted at Lloyd Werft for their deep sea operations.
The current market for large-scale ship repairs and conversions is quiet and Rüdiger Pallentin believes there is no sign of any revival in the second half of the year. Despite that, Lloyd Werft’s quays are, for the most part, currently fully occupied with routine class work, repairs and conversions.
One example is the comprehensive technological and hull renovation of a regular visitor to the yard – MS “Polarstern”. The now 30-year-old Polar icebreaker serves with the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven.
Lloyd Werft’s skilled personnel have worked on nearly 60 ships in the first half of the year. Along with the already-mentioned passenger and research ships and specialist offshore vessels, they were mainly freight carriers like container and general cargo ships, but gas, product and oil tankers as well as bulkers, car transporters and dredgers also all featured in the Lloyd Werft order books.
Offshore WIND staff, August 21, 2012; Image: Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven