Cruise ships dominate repair at big German yards

'Arcadia' in the Blohm + Voss dry dock 'Arcadia' in the Blohm + Voss dry dock
Industry Database

Cruise ships have dominated recent action at Germany’s two biggest repair and refurbishment facilities.

A string of notable visitors have called at Blohm + Voss (B+V) in Hamburg despite earlier fears that might change following the take-over of the famous facility by yacht specialist Lürssen. However, B+V appeared as busy as ever late year with seasonal cruise ship refurbishment and overhaul.

Callers included Fred Olsen’s 43,537gt Balmoral –in for work including shaft, propeller, stabiliser, thruster and safety valve overhaul and exhaust pipe renewal. Olsen’s 24,344gt Braemar also docked for similar overhaul and other routine work. The much bigger 84,342gt Arcadia docked at B+V for work including the installation of scrubber plant. Hull cleaning, work on thrusters and stabilisers as well as general and class repairs were also handled.

The list does not end there. Both Hapag Lloyd’s 28,890gt Europa, built in1999, and its 2013 successor Europa 2 of 42,830gt, also visited the Hamburg yard in recent months. Both came for “drydocking”, reported the yard simply, but local reports spoke of the complicated exchange of a drive computer in one of the two ABB azimuthing, low-vibration Azipods on the old Europa. The reports said access panels had to be cut in the external hull as well as between Decks 2 and 3 to facilitate the exchange.

The 44,656gt Phoenix Reisen cruise ship Artania – closely associated previously with Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven (LWB) – was at B+V for modernisation and class work, hull coating, rudder and tail shaft work and thruster and stabiliser overhaul. Also overhauled, reports said, were the ship’s fuel-efficient Wärtsilä 12V32 engines. They were installed in 2014 to replace Pielstick units during modernisation of the now 33 year old ship at LWB.

The Bremerhaven yard’s links with the ship are substantial. It also converted Artania from Artemis in 2011 after earlier converting it from Royal Princess.

LWB has also been busy building up its repair and refurbishment base following a change of plans by owners Genting. Officials said recently it now has “a very good basic workload”.

The 117m German research ice-breaker Polarstern left late December for the Antarctic after a longer than usual stay which involved work described as “comprehensive”. It included a new shaft-driven generator, the overhaul of lifting gear on the working deck and ice-resistant sub-surface coating.

LWB also carried out machinery and public area maintenance on the 37,301gt Saga Cruises flagship Saga Sapphire and equipment work on the 1,753gt expedition cruise ship Polar Pioneer.

Earlier, the yard completed the multi-million Euro refurbishment of the 51,044gt cruise ship Crystal Symphony. That project was the first internal contract between LWB and Genting subsidiary Crystal Cruises which will upgrade another ship next year. LWB will be hoping for that work as well.

By Tom Todd

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