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Mixed fortunes for Swedish shipyards

Shiprepair & Maintenance: 2nd Quarter 2021SRM Q2 Finbo


In 2020, Damen Oskarhamsvarvet enjoyed one of its best years on record, generating revenues around double those seen in 2019. This is largely the result of the yard’s success in booking two large life extension projects, which were mainly carried out over the course of 2020. KBV 1981 left the yard after almost a year at the yard in April this year, while Ocean Surveyor is scheduled to be completed by mid-2021.


As Flip van der Waal, Damen Oskarhamsvarvet managing director, reflects: “Due to these large projects we did not have the capacity to do anything else besides them last year, and so the pandemic did not impact us commercially. Volumes will still be high over the first half of 2021, as we have a lot of work to complete on them both. The outlook for the second half remains to be seen, but forward bookings look okay and we are generally optimistic about our prospects.”


Built in 1984, the 38m-long Ocean Surveyor is owned by SGU, Sweden’s national geological survey agency, and is going through a major life extension programme that will keep the vessel in the yard for over 12 months. Damen Oskarhamsvarvet has been awarded an extensive package of work, including the replacement of all the machinery, bridge and auxiliary systems and the overhaul of all remaining equipment. Another key element of the project is the conversion of the propulsion system from diesel to diesel-electric.


Damen Oskarshamnsvarvet has also been undertaking a modernisation and modification project for Kustbevakningen (KBV), the Swedish coastguard, involving the research and environmental monitoring vessel, KBV 181. The programme of work, which is expected to extend life expectancy by 20 years, has involved the enlargement of the aft deck area, the reconstruction of the hull above the waterline to maintain its ability to manoeuvre in ice, and the fitting of a new bulwark.


The latter includes a transom door that folds outwards to become an additional deck extension able to support oil recovery equipment. Both of the vessel’s existing deck cranes have been replaced with new ones, while a further 90tonne capacity deck crane has also been installed.


In addition, Damen Oskarshamnsvarvet has removed bulkheads from the main deck to make way for a new laboratory and replaced all of the communication and navigation equipment on the bridge. Other work included upgrades to the crew accommodation areas onboard, with the renewal of HVAC equipment and measures to reduce noise and vibration levels.


Another leading Swedish shiprepair yard, Oresund Drydocks, was less protected from turbulent market conditions last year and is experiencing more negative impacts. As its chief commercial officer, Magnus Malmstrom, observes: “Last year the volume of business decreased, not so much in terms of the number of projects, but the turnover each generated. We also had some projects postponed and others cancelled.”


One of the biggest projects that the yard did complete was a hull ice protection upgrade on ro-ro vessel, Finbo Cargo. This was, in fact, Oresund Drydock’s biggest order for many years in terms of time and turnover. During a 10-week, time critical repair window, the yard managed to install around 420tonnes of steel.


The current year has started slowly for the Oresund yard, with a reduced number of orders for both the floating dock and its alongside repair quays. Malmstrom comments: “Overall we are not that optimistic about 2021, and we are reducing staff levels and putting investment plans on hold. We still have plans for a new, larger dock, and hopefully we can confirm that investment next year.”


A positive trend seen by Oresund Drydock lately is the growing demand for ballast water treatment system installations. Seven projects of this type are scheduled to be carried out by the yard over the next few months.