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  • 2014 April 7 14:12

    Lloyd Werft treads new paths in specialised shipbuilding

    Bremerhaven yard reports satisfying 2013. Cruise ships and special tonnage determine the future, the company said in its press release.
    It’s been a positive 2013 for Rüdiger Pallentin and Carsten J. Haake, Chairmen of Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven AG and they see no major obstacles this year either that the company, re-organised a good year ago, would not be able to tackle. "We are already well-booked until October", Rüdiger Pallentin said. In that, however, it is not just the actual number of ships which called for repair and overhaul at Lloyd Werft that has determined the positive situation. Rather it is the intrinsic value content of the contracts themselves that has contributed most to increased Lloyd Werft profits. The first year of a new work division concept within the Kaiserhafen shipyard alliance has also brought further positive results.

    Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven, German Dry Docks and MWB Motorenwerke Bremerhaven – out of the three formerly competing facilities a single shipbuilding family has now emerged, whose members complement each other in terms of work, specialisations and capabilities. Rüdiger Pallentin is satisfied with 2013 results as far as Lloyd Werft is concerned and is happy with "the very good work load" in the yard’s hub skill sectors of shipbuilding, pipe-work and engineering. He also has praise for the Kaiserhafen alliance which has, he says, had "a positive effect" on the jobs of about 600 employees in the three companies and has ensured that all six dry and floating docks at Lloyd Werft and German Dry Docks have been well occupied and remain in demand.

    Pallentin says the "cross-company utilization" of employees has also been one of the positive results of the new Kaiserhafen shipyard alliance in Bremerhaven. As part of that, Lloyd Werft and its currently 330 employees intend in future to "concentrate even more" on the oil and gas business, he reveals. "We will further expand this very innovative, labour intensive and also challenging sector of specialised shipbuilding and intensify our efforts to acquire new orders", he says. Part of this intensification will also involve "expanding and underscoring" co-operation with the MWB Motorenwerke Bremerhaven to further strengthen the utilisation of that company’s engine expertise.

    Despite the satisfactory 2013 review and the positive outlook at the start of the New Year, Lloyd Werft as yet still sees no sign whatsoever of the long-hoped-for silver lining on the German shipbuilding horizon. "Even though we are quite satisfied with our results and with short-term prospects, unfortunately that does not mean that a turning point is in sight.

    "So we need to do even more to bring orders into the yard and to hone our profile using traditional competencies like innovation, know-how, flexibility and engineering skills", says Pallentin. He believes these are the main tasks facing Bremerhaven’s Kaiserhafen in the near future.
    Nearly 160 years of shipbuilding have laid the foundation for Lloyd Werft’s new priorities. The repair and conversion of cruise ships, an internationally acclaimed brand feature of the yard for many years, will continue to be part of the profile. Above all however the future will be stamped by the dedicated expansion of the yard’s ability to build or convert special ships for the oil and gas business, by entering the deep-sea construction market with the building of a new pipe-layer, or by introducing new skills in the repair or completion of offshore installation vessels for wind farms.

    One long-term contract is the complicated conversion currently of two former offshore platform supply ships into specialised vessels designed to revitalise low-performance oil sources. Rüdiger Pallentin says the conversions of "Island Centurion" and "Island Captain", each 93 m long and 20 m wide "demand high levels of competence – and that’s just the way we like it".

    Lloyd Werft hopes to expand its future profile even further with the 33,000 GRT, 199.4 m long and 32.2 m wide "Ceona Amazon". The hull of that new ship is being built elsewhere for the yard, something that has now become routine procedure at Lloyd Werft. It is being towed to Bremerhaven in a few weeks time for completion.

    Lloyd Werft is meanwhile following a similar path with a 139 m long, 38 m wide offshore installation jack-up vessel built at Sietas Werft in Hamburg and now being completed in Bremerhaven. The newbuilding is being fitted with its four legs at a berth specially built for the job. It is work which the yard has already carried out on other offshore installation vessels and which serves to reinforce Lloyd Werft’s intention to remain part of the offshore business sector in the future.

    2013 was also a good year for cruise liners. Lloyd Werft has made positive headlines with such ships often enough in the past, pointing up its traditional know-how, flexibility and deadline reliability. Skills such as these are of enormous importance to operators on a cruise shipping market dominated by tight schedules.

    For the first time, AIDA Cruises sent two of its ships to Bremerhaven in 2013. The 251 m long and 32.0 m wide "AIDAbella", of 69,203 GRT, came for repair work in April and docked in the big Kaiserdock. She was followed in October by the 193.3 m long and 26.6 m wide "AIDAcara" of 38,557 GRT – the ship which launched AIDA’s successful Club Ship concept in 1996.

    The 112 m long and 16.5 m wide Polar adventure cruise ship "National Geographic Explorer" of 6,471 GRT came to Bremerhaven in April 2013 for comprehensive and complex technical work within a short space of time. A pleased Rüdiger Pallentin said at the time the contract was "just right for us".

    P & O is an old and regular customer of Lloyd Werft. Between November and December it sent its 82,505 GRT cruise ship "Arcadia" to Bremerhaven once again, for comprehensive conversion and repairs. The 285.3 m long and 32.25 m wide ship has previously undergone several conversions and repair dockings at the yard. In the meantime the entire Fred Olsen fleet called at Lloyd Werft last year. In November it was the turn of the 206.96 m long and 25.22 m wide cruise ship "Boudicca" of 28,551 GRT. She was the fourth Olsen ship to visit in 2013 and followed "Black Watch", "Braemar" and "Balmoral" into the yard. An extensive list of technical jobs were completed inside just six days before the elegant, now 40-year-old "Boudicca" left right on time for her winter ocean cruising season.

    2014 will see even more cruise ships berth at Lloyd Werft. A start will be made in April by the "National Geographic Explorer" from Lindblad Expeditions, followed by TUI's "Mein Schiff 1" and then in May the floating university cruise ship "Explorer". The University of Virginia is sending the "Explorer" to Bremerhaven for repairs and make-over work.

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