• 2019 September 24

    Fleet that supports

    Support fleet in Russia still consists, to a great extent, of obsolete ‘soviet’ series vessels. There is a great demand for tugboats, bunkering ships, icebreakers. Also, classification of vessels is to be revised. Leading international manufacturers are ready to assist in construction of required ships.

    Shipbuilding horizon

    The number of support fleet vessels representing soviet series is forecasted to shrink three times to about 900 units by 2030, Gennady Yegorov, General Director of Marine Engineering Bureau, said at the 3rd international conference “Development of Icebreaking and Support Fleet” held by PortNews Media Group in Saint-Petersburg on the zero-day of the Neva-2019 exhibition.

    According to him, Russia will be in dire need of new bunkering ships and river-going push-tugs of over 1,200kW starting from 2025. Gennady Yegorov says 69 old series bunkering ships operate in Russia today with their average age exceeding 36 years. The fleet of river-going push-tugs of over 900 kW numbers 202 units with average age of over 30 years.

    As Vladimir Skepko, Chief Specialist of the Department for Marketing and Information Policy, Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, said in his turn, 170 vessels of RS class are under construction today, primarily fishing ships, tugboat, dry cargo carriers and passenger ships.

    So, the market of newbuilds in the segment of support ships is to broaden considerably in the coming decade. However, vessels should comply with the recent standards on fuel efficiency, sustainability, power and automation. Domestic competence is not sufficient, perhaps. So partnership with global leaders in this field can help in this case.

    Currently, new ships built by Damen are especially popular in the market of Russia. When speaking at the conference, Bart Kaal, Manager Services, Damen, told about the company’s plan to open a service office in Saint-Petersburg in the first quarter of 2020. It will employ local engineers speaking Russia and trained by Damen. Among the advantages of establishing a local office Bart Kaal mentioned short reaction time, less bureaucracy, local rates instead of the expensive Dutch rates, opportunity of payment in rubles and guaranteed deliveries from Damen warehouse within two weeks.

    Besides, Damen  offers solutions to facilitate construction of vessels in Russia, that is in line with the local production trend. The company also offers various schemes for financing of ship construction.

    It should be noted that Russia’s leading companies appreciate the ships built by Damen.

    As Vitaly Pleshakov, head of harbour services fleet of Vostochny Port (operator of the largest and most advanced coal terminal in Russia), told the conference participants, the company’s port fleet was expanded half a year ago with a powerful azimuth tugboat Aleksandr Kozitsyn built in 2018 at  Damen Shipyards’ facilities in Shanghai. With the introduction of the new tugboat, the company increased the capacity of its port fleet, reduced the docking time and enabled vessels of Vostochny Port work under contracts in other harbors of Nakhodka.

    “Our company operates a port fleet justly considered to be the most advanced and efficient among the Far East ports of the country, both in terms of total power of tugboats’ engines and the level of technologies involved. Therefore, monitoring of technical innovations in shipbuilding and their further practical introduction is among our priorities. We should keep our standards high”, emphasized Vitaly Pleshakov.

    Moreover, Russia needs technical hydrographic, survey and other vessels.

    According to Oleg Chepkasov, Deputy Head for Fleet, Marine Rescue Service (MRS), MRS is currently building 12 ships with the federal project on development of the Northern Sea Route foreseeing the construction of 16 more ships.

    Cold start

    Active development of the Arctic necessitates the construction of icebreakers and support ships for the northern seas.

    As for icebreakers, they are ordered by FSUE Rosmorport and FSUE Atomflot. According to Vasily Strugov, Deputy General Director, Fleet Management, FSUE Rosmorport, technical readiness of the largest diesel-electric icebreaker Victor Chernomyrdin is 99%. The ship is leave for sea trials on 30 September 2019. Upon completion of remedial actions, the ship is to be delivered to the customer in November 2019. Ice tests in the Arctic seas are scheduled for April 2020.

    Under the Comprehensive plan for upgrading and expanding core infrastructure till 2024, Rosmorport plans the completion of nine vessels with total cost of RUB 52.8 billion including an icebreaker of Project 21900M2 (the construction is to begin in the fourth quarter of 2019 at Pella shipyard), two dual-fuel LK icebreakers of 12-14 MW designed by FSUE Krylov State research Center (the construction is to begin in the third quarter of 2020), one ship of Project 22740М is to be built by SC Zvezda with an option for three additional units, one shallow draft icebreaker of 6-8 MW designed by Nordic Engineering (the construction is to begin in 2021).

    The shipbuilding projects currently implemented for Atomflot include three nuclear-powered icebreakers LK-60. Konstantin Knyazevsky, Deputy General Director, Fleet Construction, Atomflot, said at the conference that technical readiness of the lead LK-60 icebreaker, the Arktika, is 88.91%, that of the serial icebreakers, Sibir and Ural, - 59.21% and 44.61% accordingly. An agreement on construction of the third and the fourth serial ships (the fourth and the fifth hulls in the series) was signed in August 2019.

    In the future, there is a plan to build three Leader class icebreakers of 120 MW in capacity. According to Konstantin Knyazevsky’s comments, a decision was taken to have these vessels built to the same design (different modifications we proposed earlier).

    Apart from construction of line icebreakers, Atomflot has a programme for the development of its port fleet.

    As Atomflot Director General Mustafa Kashka said at the conference, FSUE Atomflot, together with Craneship, is developing a project on construction of a 7MW icebreaking tugboat of Icebreaker 6 class. According to Mustafa Kashka, the ship will be 38.5 meters long and have an ability to break through 1.25-meter thick ice. The tugboat is to be built under the Port Fleet 2 project that also foresees the construction of an icebreaker of Ob design, two icebreaking tugboats of Pur and Tambei design and two icebreaking tugboats of Icebreaker 6 class.

    The head of Atomflot believes it is necessary to revise classification of icebreaking vessels and hull requirements since characteristics of such tugboats are comparable with those of icebreakers.

    Ice class tugboat Pur and Tambei, icebreaking tugboats Yuribei and Nadym as well as port icebreaker Ob were built for FSUE Atomflot under the Port Fleet project.

    Yury Mikhov, General Director of Hydrographic Company, told in his turn that the construction of two survey ships and two large hydrographic boats for HC is to be completed by the end of 2020. The first quarter of 2021 is to see the beginning of profound renovation programme for three hydrographic ships which are to be completed before 2022. Besides, a hydrographic ship of Arc7 class is to be built by 2024.

    Arctic development opens Arctic tourism prospects.  Currently, Arctic cruises involve icebreakers not designed for accommodation of cruise passengers. Taking this into consideration, Vympel Design Bureau JSC (a company of United Shipbuilding Corporation) has developed a concept of an Arctic cruise ship for high latitude waters. According to Sergey Milavin, Deputy General Director for Designing, Chief Designer, Vympel Design Bureau, the design is at the initial stage while a high demand is forecast for such vessels.

    It should be noted that two ships for Arctic cruises are under construction at Helsinki Shipyard (Finland).

    An interesting project is the construction of a drifting ice-resistant station that will let raise polar expeditions to a whole new level. The keel-laying of the station was held in April 2019 at Admiralteiskie Verfi shipyard in Saint-Petersburg.

    Arctic development is impossible without a professional personnel. As Aleksandr Gorobtsov, Vice-Rector for Conventional Training and Sailing Practice, Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and Inland Shipping, told the conference participants, the University is the world’s first educational institution internationally recognized for training of crewmembers in compliance with the Polar Code. The educational programme includes practical training involving Russia’s largest ice simulator of Krylov State research Center. It has six navigation bridges: four multifunctional 180° view navigation bridges and two full-scale multirole 360° view navigation bridges.

    Starting from 2019, the University’s Training Center has been offering courses for masters, mechanics, navigators, engineers and other specialists to work on multipurpose nuclear-powered icebreakers of Arktika design, Project 22220.

    According to Konstantin Anisimov, Vice Rector, Russian University of Transport, Vice President of Russian Chamber of Shipping, the construction of ships in Russia will be facilitated by state support measures such as the preferential leasing programme, ship scraping subsidy, compensations for SC Zvezda, technological advance subsidies, active work to adjust the plan of activities on import substitution in shipbuilding industry.

    Konstantin Anisimov believes that the production volumes in the segment of support and auxiliary ships will be driven by the development of SC Zvezda, construction of a center for manufacture of large offshore facilities in the Murmansk Region, implementation of Zhatai Shipyard project in Yakutia, modernization of Onezhsky Shipyard in Karelia.

    So, Russia features both the demand and the supply of new ships in this segment. The priority is to ensure their competitiveness, quality and compliance with the recent requirements. The country’s foreign partners interested in localization of their competences in Russia can assist in this respect.

    Vitaly Chernov

    Photo release from 'Development of Icebreaking and Support Fleet' conference >>>>

    Record of the conference live webcast in Russian >>>> and in English >>>>.