A step forward for the Indonesian dredging industry
Pelayaran Fortuna Nusantara Megajaya
Delivered back in May 2015, the Trailing Suction Hopper Dredger Barito Equator marked some significant achievements for both the Indonesian dredging and shipbuilding industries.
First of all, the 80-metre long vessel was the first of its kind to be built in Indonesia; construction taking place at Steadfast Marine shipyard in the country’s Kalimantan region on the island of Borneo. With Damen Technical Cooperation assisting the build process, the local yard could benefit from the transfer of a considerable amount of knowledge and technology. And then, for the vessel’s owner – Indonesian dredging company Pelayaran Fortuna Nusantara Megajaya (PFNM) – the arrival of the Barito Equator represented a major step forward in the development of local dredging skills and experience. The vessel has also played a critical role in improving and then maintaining vital cargo and transport links that, in turn, have been advantageous to the local economy.
Since delivery, the Barito Equator has been operating out of the port of Banjarmasin, the capital city of South Kalimantan. Before construction of a 15.5km canal in 2008, the port was accessible just eight hours per day. “The local government realised how important it was to keep the port open 24 hours a day – and the creation of the canal was finally agreed upon to guarantee the 24/7 accessibility,” says PFNM Operations Director Arie Hermanto. The Barito Equator’s primary task has been the maintenance dredging of this port access canal. “Every year we have to take out around 4 million cubic metres of mud from the canal to keep the depth to 6 metres.”
Looking at the subject from a regional picture, he confirms, the vessel has also contributed to economic growth in the area. “The agricultural, mining and industrial sectors in South Kalimantan depend heavily on the Barito River for trading outside the region,” he says. “Because the port itself is on the Barito river – it is very important to keep it properly maintained.”
Now, just over two years since vessel handover, Mr Hermanto is in a good position to give Damen some hands-on operational feedback of the vessel’s performance. “We are happy with the Barito Equator’s performance. The capacity of mud we take out is more than our target. The vessel is very effective and efficient, with low fuel consumption. We can work 24 hours a day with a maintenance period of around 36 hours per month.”
Within the first two years of dredging, PFNM has increased the depth of the canal by 1 metre; reaching the current desired depth of just over 6 metres. A regular maintenance programme has helped accomplish such impressive results. To this end, PFNM keeps spare parts on stock. “Right now I have a lot of spare parts ready for routine maintenance to make sure that we can work 24 hours a day. Our biggest problem is long lead times for the bigger parts, but this is because our working area is in a small town – and all the expertise lies in Europe.” From the vessel’s crew, Mr Hermanto has heard positive reactions. “The vessel demonstrates the development of dredging expertise in Asia. The crew enjoy working on a vessel like this – it is very modern with luxury equipment. And in terms of day-to-day maintenance and operating the vessel, it is very straightforward.”
Looking at what PFNM and the Barito Equator have achieved in the first two years since delivery, the local Indonesian dredging sector is looking towards an exciting and productive future.
The Barito Equator was also a notable vessel for Damen. Not only was it the company’ largest standard TSHD built to date, but construction involved support from a number of sister companies. Damen Technical Cooperation assisted the process, with Damen Shipyards Gorinchem taking of the engineering, Damen Dredging Equipment providing the complete trailing dredging system, and Damen Marine Components delivered a large amount of the components, including gearbox and rudder.