Damen shipyards Galati
Nearly 15 years after Damen acquired Galati, the Romanian shipyard has undergone a complete metamorphosis. “It is the difference between night and day,” Bert Jan ter Riet, Managing Director of Damen Shipyards Gorinchem says. Over the years, Damen has pumped more than EUR 75 million into the yard to bring about this dramatic modernisation.
A pearl within the group
Located on the banks of the Danube and resembling a small city, the shipyard occupies a huge, 45-hectare site. Damen Shipyards Galati employs 2,400 people directly and every day up to 1,500 subcontractors work at the yard. Damen Shipyards Galati is right at the heart of Damen, with around a third of the Group’s turnover flowing through this yard. Galati builds everything from prototype ASD hybrid tugs to DP2 offshore cable layers, sophisticated navy vessels and even world-class, superyacht hulls.
“Step by step we have continuously upgraded the facilities and the processes,” adds Bert Jan. Five years ago, Damen invested EUR 17 million in a huge construction hall capable of building the most complex, high quality vessels undercover. This was highlighted in 2014 when the yard constructed a hull for an 83-metre superyacht. Bert Jan stresses: “This was a tremendous achievement, this yacht required ultra-thin field plates, aluminum constructions and the very best quality painting. The project was on time and on budget.”
This was one of the last special development projects of Victor Dobrea, who was the Production Director at the yard for many years. Damen has asked him to take up the role as Interim Production Director at Damen Shipyards Yichang before he officially retires.
In 2014, the yard was fully booked with a broad range of projects and 2015 is showing a similar picture. Another new level of achievement was the completion of the first 140-metre Damen Offshore Carrier DOC 8500, which is being used as a cable layer by Van Oord, within a physical construction period of less than 14 months. Damen Shipyards Galati is now working on a second DOC 8500 for Maersk Supply Service and DeepOcean.
Additionally, four 90-metre Platform Supply Vessels 5000 are under construction for Atlantic Towing as are two state-of-the-art, ice-class 90-metre ferries for the Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Government.
Every year, Damen builds up to 20 tugs in Galati, with a variety of special features. In 2014, Damen’s first two ASD hybrid tugs were delivered, one for Iskes Towage & Salvage and the other for Multratug. These diesel-electric driven tugs have large-capacity batteries, as well as dedicated power management automation for minimalising fuel consumption and emissions.
Other major projects underway include 14 complex ASD tugs for the Kuwait Oil Company and another three hybrid tugs for the Royal Netherlands Navy and two for the Swedish Navy. “We regularly have very distinguished visitors and guests at Damen Galati such as the top management of Maersk, Atlantic Towing and Exxon, government and navy officials. They have all been very positive about the quality levels they witnessed here, and this is something we are very proud of. They have trust in the quality control procedures, safety standards and management.”
The previous Galati Managing Director, Flemming Sorensen, has actually just taken on a new role at the yard of one Damen’s clients in Canada. Damen has recently appointed Mr. Christopher van der Stelt from May 2015 as his replacement.
The process of improvement of facilities continues and, in 2015, the yard will pump millions into creating new painting sheds. This follows on from an aluminum workshop, which was built last year. The new workshop was put into use straight away for some yacht constructions and the superstructures for two 70-metre military patrol craft. This year and next, the company will complete the investment in the painting shed and will also work on upgrading all of the roads and parking places, as well as the sewage and drainage system. Damen is also mulling over the possibility of a 40-metre extension to its 70-metre undercover facility, allowing another two 110-metre vessels to be built indoors. A decision is likely to be taken soon.
While investments in infrastructure are important, equally important are investments in standards, the organization and the people, stresses Bert Jan.
Oil & Gas standards
“Health & Safety is always very important of course, but recently with our many oil and gas clients we are upgrading our safety procedures to achieve the stringent standards demanded by this sector. It is our ambition in 2015 to exceed the local regulations and to reach full ‘oil and gas HSE standards’ within 2-3 years.”
Damen Shipyards Galati has already been awarded ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certification. “But we have the ambition to go further, to continuously improve. This has high priority.”
The shipyard has its own HSE officer, who has been busy working on better procedures, upgrading non-conformity reporting and systematic analyses, which will lead to improvements. Damen Shipyards Galati also has an ongoing training programme in place regarding HSE issues.
The environment too, is high on the agenda and in 2014 the yard installed environmentally friendly LED lamps throughout. It has identified the largest consumers of energy and is looking to make reductions wherever it can.
A new 5-year initiative, The Damen Galati (lean production) 2020 Programme, aims to bring efficiency up and the cost price even further down, through production and process optimisation.
Damen Shipyards Galati has also very much taken the lead when it comes to utilising modern IT opportunities and tooling, such as ERP. The yard was the first production location in the Damen Shipyards Group to get upgraded and the knowledge gained about implementing the IFS ERP for all production planning methods, work preparation, production process support, procurement and logistics was being used to introduce the system to Damen Song Cam Shipyard in Vietnam in 2014 and this year it will be rolled out in Damen Shipyards Singapore, Damen Shipyards Bergum and a start will be made at Damen Shipyards Changde in China.
Bert Jan is very confident about Galati’s future opportunities. “It is a pearl in the Damen Group, in terms of securing controlled, cost attractive production capacity with tremendously high efficiency and predictability, i.e. delivery time and budget control. The technical skills and competences of Damen Shipyards Galati personnel make sure that projects are built to the highest western quality standards. Everything is in place to handle the most challenging complex shipbuilding projects with the appropriate care and control.”