The past year is viewed as one of consolidation by UAE-based Nico International, which offers a range of afloat repair services to shipowners and managers operating in the Middle East region. During 2019, the company carried out over 1,500 afloat repair jobs from its operational bases in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Fujairah, which represents a steady increase compared with recent years.
As many as 200 riding squads were deployed at any given time for various shipping companies, including Maersk Line, Thome Ship Management, Mideast Ship Management, BW Fleet Management, MOL Tankship, Bernhard Schulte and ADNOC L&S.
The scope of work for these projects included main and auxiliary engine overhauls, boiler condition assessments, economiser repairs, deck preservation work and ballast water treatment system installation.
As well as repairs to piping, pumps, propulsion motor fans, cargo refrigeration and air conditioning systems. In addition, Nico engineers undertook various structural modifications and installed pilot ladders onboard while the vessels were on voyage.
A number of significant long-term agreements to provide shipboard maintenance and repair services to shipping companies based in Asia and Europe are under discussion, the company states.
According to general manager, Pilakkal Thamban: “Shipowners and managers are favouring riding squads for onboard jobs in order to reduce the length of port stays. The demand for onboard repair and maintenance work during voyages and at anchorage has consequently increased, and was a notable trend over the past year.”
Nico’s position as an afloat repair services provider has been strengthened by investments in its supporting workshops in Abu Dhabi, Fujairah and Dubai, which are capable of overhauling technically sophisticated equipment items including main engine components, turbochargers, fuel pumps and gear boxes.
A 50tonne crane has been added to the Dubai base to upgrade lifting capabilities. In-house hydraulic, laser alignment and in situ machining capabilities have been developed and there are plans to develop the capacity for in-house retubing of coolers and condensers.
Thamban adds: “Further enhancement of our workshops is in progress and is an integral part of our ongoing improvement plans. We are also investing in our underwater division, including our anchor search and recovery capability, as this is a market where we expect to see substantial growth in 2020.”
Nico’s diving team has recently provided support to the Maersk container fleet, undertaking rudder repairs in conjunction with Trident BV.
In addition, more than 20 drydocking jobs were accomplished in 2019 in Dubai and Fujairah. Overall, the volume of onshore work jumped by almost 20% compared to 2019, Nico reports.