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Engineering capabilities give Singapore yard an advantage in niche markets

Shiprepair & Maintenance: 4th Quarter 2018

ST Engineering web

During the third quarter of the year ST Engineering’s Marine Division secured a series of new repair contracts for both commercial as well as defence projects. These covered a broad spectrum of vessel types, and ranged from the repair of dredgers, offshore vessels and oil and chemical tankers, to the modification of fittings on a container barge.


The division has recently taken steps to further diversify its capabilities. Building on its extensive experience upgrading ro-pax vessels, ST Engineering has started marketing refurbishment services to mega yacht owners in Asia, reportedly with some successes. Further areas that are being targeted by the company include specialised conversions in the floating energy and wind farm support vessel sector, upgrades to heavy lift and construction vessels and the lengthening of livestock carriers.


ST Engineering also anticipates growing demand for ‘green’ retrofits. To meet this need, it has developed CoSCRUB, claimed to be the world’s first marine combined scrubber for SOx and NOx, that complies with the IMO emission standards. CoSCRUB is designed as an integrated, fully automated system that uses a single reagent to simultaneously treat both SOx and NOx gases by reducing them to harmless nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water before safely discharging this into the atmosphere.


Ng Sing Chan, president, marine, ST Engineering, says: "As the marine arm of ST Engineering, we see ourselves as a niche player with strong and deep engineering capabilities. We are also one of few shipyards in the world with the full range of capabilities to support the entire lifecycle of a ship, from shipbuilding and ship repair to maintenance integration and upgrade. This gives us a key competitive advantage as we have the flexibility to enter different maritime sectors to seek out new opportunities, while delivering more value and offering innovative capabilities to existing customers in both the defence and commercial sectors."


One of the most notable projects recently worked on by the marine division involved the conversion of an existing Platform Supply Vessel (PSV). This was undertaken during an intense 58 day stay in Singapore and entailed the replacement of the existing cement tanks in the PSV’s cargo hold with a methanol tank system that was designed, fabricated and installed at the yard. As well as the large 400m2 methanol tank, the project required the installation of a methanol transfer system, a N2 inert gas charging system, flow and quantity monitoring technology as well as a fire suppressing foam systems.


Installing a methanol tank that had a 30% larger capacity was a significant challenge, which ST Engineering’s design team overcame with an innovative proposal to use existing mud tanks and converting them to provide an additional storage space. Space between the ship’s existing bulkhead and methanol tank structure was also reduced to the bare minimum that still met Class requirements in order to increase the capacity of the methanol tanks. At certain parts of the structure the clearance was as little as 200mm, which was barely enough for welding work to be carried out, ST Engineering points out.


Safety was of the utmost concern as the team had to work round the clock within a confined space that had limited lighting and ventilation. Additional safety inspections and daily safety reminders as well as briefings were put in place to ensure an optimum work environment for the repair teams, the yard states.


To further add to the challenge, while installing the new methanol tank system ST Engineering also had to carry out repair and restoration work on various items of machinery onboard, as well as the piping and electrical systems, as the vessel had been laid up for an extended period of time.


To support its marine business, ST Engineering has made a number of investments over the past year. This includes acquisition of PTC’s Windchill Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software, which facilitates the storage, tracking and retrieval of information. While this software is also used for shipbuilding work at the yard, it also has benefits for the repair sector. As ship configurations are now stored automatically, customers do not need to maintain duplicate sets of engineering databases. With quicker access to technical data, the downtime required for repair has been ‘vastly’ reduced, ST Engineering states.