• 2017 September 25

    Port fleet: looking forward

    Intensive development of port infrastructure requires no less intensive development of port fleet. Fleet renovation is quite good in some segments while others leave much to be desired. Key trends in this sphere were discussed by representatives of design organizations, state bodies and industry related companies at the 2nd International Conference “Advanced port fleet - the basis of safety”.

    The event is organized by Media Group PortNews in partnership with Russian Maritime Register of Shipping. General Sponsor – DAMEN. Conference Sponsor - Baltic Sea Tug Agency.  In the framework of the conference its participants could see the tugboats built by Damen: Chernaya Barabulka (Baltic Sea Tug Agency) and Malik (Baltic Fleet).

    A spoon of tar in a barrel of honey

    It is well known that port infrastructure is among the segments of Russia’s economy showing the most sustainable and the fastest growth. However, port fleet renovation falls behind this development, being a ‘spoon of tar” in that ‘barrel of honey’. 

    According to Vladimir Skepko, Seniour Specialist of the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, said at the Conference, average age of tugboats in Russia is 27 years. Gennady Yegorov, Director General of Marine Engineering Bureau, who also spoke at the 2nd International Conference “Advanced port fleet - the basis of safety”, said that recent years have seen considerable success and about a half of Russia’s towing fleet has been renovated. According to the speakers, most of new tugboats were built by Damen, Pella, Craneship and Yaroslavsky  shipyards.

    Meanwhile, the situation with renovation of Russia’s bunkering fleet is worse, said Gennady Yegorov. Modernization of old takers or purchase of chemical carriers is among the key methods of this fleet renovation today. However, chemical carriers are not perfect for bunkering as they feature high superstructure and poor maneuverability at low speed.

    Vladimir Shtrambrand, head of Rosmorport’s Fleet Construction and Development Department, said in his turn that the company is looking into construction of an LNG bunkering tanker of 3,000 to 5,000 cbm in capacity. According to Vladimir Shtrambrand, the tanker is to be built at Onezhsky shipyard. The hull of unfinished tanker of Project RST22 is to be used for construction. Rosmorport  is not going to perform bunkering activities itself being in negotiations with three undisclosed bunker supplying companies. Vladimir Shtrambrand says Rosmorport is close to signing a contract under this project.

    When it comes to icebreakers, the industry is in the need of shallow-draft and less powerful ships as compared with those under construction. In this respect, Rosmorport expects signing a contract for construction of a 6.4MW shallow-draft icebreaker within several months. According to Vladimir Shtrambrand the icebreaker is to be built by Zvezda shipyard and to operate in the Azov Sea Basin.

    According to Gennady Yegorov, such shallow-draft icebreakers will be in demand at many ports of Russia which not very deep.

    FSUE Rosmorport is also going to build ships running on alternative fuels. The company is looking into construction of a boat with a diesel-electric propulsion, a buoy-inspection launch and a 900-cbm open barge that can be powered by LNG.

    As Vladimir Rachin, head of the Sea Transport Programme board, USC, said at the Conference, Central Design Bureau Iceberg has developed a basic design of a new 40-MW icebreake. According to him, the basic design can be modified to meet the requirements of specific customers.

    No risk – no inspections

    As for state supervision of safe port/auxiliary fleet operation, the industry is to undergo a reform with introduction of a risk-based approach. 

    Sergey Saritsky,  Deputy Head of the Federal Agency for Transport Supervision (RosTransNadzor), said at the Conference that each company will have a risk category (high, significant, average or low). Categories will be assigned depending on significance of possible emergency implications and risk of non-compliance with safety requirements.

    High risk companies will be inspected once a year, those with significant risk category – once in 3 years, average – once in 5 years, low – if there is a cause for inspection.

    Companies operating port fleet and small size vessels not involved in passenger transportation fall under the category of low, or, in rare cases, average risk.

    Introduction of a risk-based approach will let stop the practice of regular inspections of each and all companies, decrease the load on business without reducing the safety level.

    So, the segment of port and auxiliary fleet in Russia is seeing a trend towards import substitution, reduction of administrative barriers and construction of state-of-the-art ships able to run on alternative fuels.

    Vitaly Chernov