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Albwardy demonstrates the value

Shiprepair & Conversion Technology: 3rd Quarter 2015

Albwardy Marine Engineering (AME), a joint venture between Albwardy Investment of the UAE and Damen Shipyards which operates under two different ‘brands’, reports that it is experiencing high levels of demand to date in 2015 across a broad portfolio of service capabilities.

AME and Damen Shipyard Sharjah (DSS) operate from four locations, Dubai (Al Jadaf and Dubai Maritime City), Fujairah and Sharjah Hamriyah free zone.

Marcel Van de Kreke, general manager, repairs and conversions, is upbeat about prospects locally for these two business ventures. “I honestly have to say that 2015 is treating us quite well so far,” he says. “We have fully booked yards for repairs and a wide range of vessel types will be docked this year at our main yard in Sharjah, as well as our facilities in Dubai Maritime City and Fujairah. This includes work to tankers, general cargo ships, tugs, barges and PSVs, for commercial and government customers, as well as regional navies.”

AME’s shiprepair-related business in the UAE can be divided into three main segments. One is the shiprepair, drydocking and conversion of vessels up to 120m at its three yard locations within the country. In addition, AME provides afloat, port and voyage repairs for vessels of all sizes around the UAE, and also has a diving division that provides hull and propeller cleaning, in-water surveys, and underwater repairs.

As well as shiprepair facilities, AME has a newbuilding division at the DSS site, for steel and aluminium vessels, and has recently set up a new oil & gas division. The latter is now focusing particularly on the rig repair and conversion market.

DSS and AME have handled a number of complex repair jobs in 2015. One particularly significant project completed earlier this year was the upgrade and modification of a PSV so that it will function as a deepwater dive support vessel instead. This involved the installation of a huge, heavy lift heave-compensated crane onboard. The DSS yard has also recently started work to upgrade and modify a cable laying vessel for an international operator. Among other things this project includes a significant increase in the accommodation onboard.

Van de Kreke adds: “Shiprepair is a daily challenge and it is not just one project, product or process that makes us innovative. The whole set-up of the company, which every day has to cope with significant numbers of complicated repairs, enables the people within it to create new, advanced repair methods.”

DSS and AME have a policy of continuously investing in people, equipment and facilities. AME recently acquired a new plot in Dubai Maritime City for the further expansion of the group’s repair business in Dubai, and is also working on several new partnerships. It is particularly it looking to work with others to deliver ballast water treatment system retrofits, and scrubber installations.

Van de Kreke concludes: “The UAE is one of the international hubs for shiprepair, but there is a lot of competition and prices are under pressure. However, the quality which we stand for still pays off, with reasonable price levels.”

He also points out that AME has now been certified by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA) for aligning its safety and environment management system with the internationally recognised ISO 14001 (Environmental) and OHSAS 1801 (Occupational Health and Safety) standards, as well as ISO 9001-2008, which it has had for some time. The company has also reached a milestone of 5 million man-hours Lost Time incident (LTI)-free. Such a safety record is almost unprecedented, Van de Kreke suggests.

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