ST ENGINEERING ADAPTING TO MARKET TRENDS

ST Engineering reports that its shiprepair, maintenance and conversion business has been relatively busy to date in 2021 compared to the same period last year, when its marine division was directly, and adversely, affected by the ‘Circuit Breaker’ type lockdowns imposed in Singapore.

Business has now bounced back strongly, however, and the company’s list of ongoing projects covers both naval and commercial vessels, including patrol boats, offshore, dredgers, chemical tankers, container ships and yachts. Lim Nian Hua, deputy president, engineering and operations, marine, ST Engineering, says: “Besides undertaking ballast water treatment system installations on a wide range of vessel types, we are also seeing increased activities related to the renewable energy market, in line with the overall industry shift in focus towards renewables.”

Reflecting that trend ST Engineering has recently carried out major repair and maintenance work on a wind farm installation vessel, Seajacks Zarantan, and also grillage fabrication and installations for a wind farm support vessel Bokalift 1.

In addition, the yard is seeing increased demand for conversion work, particularly in the offshore segment, including for example transforming existing mid-life vessels into an offshore support craft. “Such complex conversions enhance the capabilities and capacities of existing vessels, allowing them to take on new roles,” says Lim. “With our extensive engineering and operational know-how, we are in an excellent position to provide customised solutions to ship owners to reposition and upgrade their vessels economically.”

One of the most significant projects carried out to date in 2021 by the yard involved the successful conversion of a cable vessel to a cable laying and repair vessel.

“During the process, we also had to overcome logistical and supply chain issues, while assisting the owners on crew change and entry visa matters to navigate the travel restrictions at that time,” adds Lim.

The yard is also now constructing and outfitting a 45m mid-ship block weighing 2,700tonnes that will be used to lengthen another ship.

In the shiprepair sector, ST Engineering this year carried out major drydocking works for Four Seasons Explorer, a 39m long, three-deck passenger catamaran. The yard says it was under extreme time pressure to complete various underwater side shell repairs in conjunction with an overhaul of the propulsion system and intensive paint work within a demanding schedule. The paint scope included both underwater hull painting and topside coating, with the latter requiring a high gloss finish.

BESIDES TYPICAL DRYDOCK PLANNING AND REPAIR, WE HAVE ALSO EXPANDED OUR SERVICES TO COVER DEFECT RECTIFICATION, PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE, SPARES MANAGEMENT AND PREDICTIVE ANALYSIS

Additionally, ST Engineering has been responding to evolving customer requirements by broadening the range of services offered, to be able to provide a more comprehensive maintenance offer. As Lim observes: “Besides typical drydock planning and repair, we have also expanded our services to cover defect rectification, preventive maintenance, spares management and predictive analysis. Such turnkey services build further on our design and system engineering capabilities to drive higher utilisation of our customers’ assets.”

While the outlook is generally more positive, with travel restrictions in place the yard is still facing manpower problems due to a shortage of workers. To overcome this constraint, ST Engineering continues to adopt new technologies and digitalise processes to boost productivity and operational efficiency. Recent initiatives under its DigiYard programme include introducing digital Permit-to-Work systems; integrated, task-driven spares planning; and the digitalisation of inspection processes.

This article was first released onThe Royal Institution of Naval Architects, 4th Quarter 2021 Shiprepair & Maintenance publication.