Damen Shipyards Sharjah three years young
From newbuild ASD Tugs to repairing VLCC’s – a trusted partner in the Middle East
Damen Shipyards Sharjah
Officially opening three years ago, Damen Shipyards Sharjah specialises in both newbuilding and repairs, and has recently added rig refurbishment to its growing portfolio.
Located in the Sharjah Hamriyah Free Zone, Damen Shipyards Sharjah is part of Albwardy Marine Engineering which operates from four locations in the United Arab Emirates: Dubai Al Jadaf (including yacht repairs), Dubai Maritime City (a dedicated docking and repair facility), Fujairah (workshop and diving division) and Hamriyah Sharjah.
Based on a huge, 210,000 m2 site, Damen Shipyards Sharjah has a 1,000 metre quay and water depths of 5 to 9 metres. The yard employs 1,100 people from 26 nationalities. It has direct and unrestricted access to the sea and meets the highest standards of modern ship construction and repair such as ISO 9001, ISO14001 and OHSAS18000.
The facility is equipped with a 120 x 26.5 metre ship-lift, with a 5,200 tonnes capacity and is connected to eight dry berths, each of 125 metres in length. It features a fully enclosed blasting and painting shed and an undercover, newbuild construction hall.
Damen Shipyards Sharjah has the facilities to build and repair all types of vessels and has delivered tugs, workboats, Multi Cats, Shoalbusters, support vessels, dredgers, crewboats, landing craft, floating docks, barges and pontoons. Damen Shipyards Sharjah Managing Director Lars Seistrup has had a varied career including spells working for shipping lines, power plants, and a Danish brewery. He worked at the A.P. Møller-Maersk towage and salvage subsidiary Svitzer for 23 years, which he says enables him to understand customers’ needs from the ship operator’s point of view.
He took over the helm at Albwardy Marine Engineering LLC in Dubai in 2013 after Hennie Den Toom. Lars comments: “The main reason we decided to establish Damen Shipyards Sharjah was to serve the local market and to become ‘the’ newbuilding yard for the Middle East.”
“We have already established a reputation as a very flexible high quality yard, able to build series and one-off vessels.” The shipyard’s turnover is roughly 70% from the repair business and 30% from newbuilding.
When it comes to recent newbuilding work, ship-handling tugs have been the main focus this year. Sixteen vessels have been delivered, 14 of which are tugs, including the Damen ASD Tug 2810, ASD Tug 2411 and two Stan Tugs 2208, as well as two Fast Crew Suppliers 3307. To ensure the fastest delivery times for customers Damen Shipyards Sharjah builds for stock. Recent deliveries include two Damen ASD Tugs 2411 for Bugsier and URAG in Hamburg and an ASD Tug 2810 for Emar in the Nederlands.
But the ASD Tug building boom has subsided somewhat, Lars adds, given the challenges of the current market. “This is leading to a change in the vessels we are building, I think the ASD Tug peak was reached in 2016. Next year we are building different types of tugs such as three Rotor Tugs and other vessel types such as selfpropelled, shallow draught jack up pontoons. “Different types of vessels will be built and we are fighting to find other alternatives to the tugs.”
Lars admits that although he is well used to the cyclical nature of the maritime industry, certainly times are tough at the moment. “Most of our customers are hit by the low oil price in one way or another.”
Although Damen Shipyards Sharjah does deliver vessels worldwide for the most part it was set up to serve the Middle East region. “I think this is one of the toughest times the industry has faced, everyone is hit from the oil related business to the container sector, only cruise liners are relatively unscathed.”
In terms of repair activities, customers are only carrying out the maintenance that is absolutely necessary to maintain Class, he adds. Damen Shipyards Sharjah can drydock vessels of up to 120 metres and carry out afloat repairs on the largest vessels. Damen Shipyards Sharjah has also conducted major harbour repairs on vessels up to VLCC size in local ports.
“Given the current situation we are adapting our strategy. We are thinking outside of the box and looking into alternatives.” Even though the market is difficult, Lars is pleased to see that the yard has recently started to get a foothold in the rig repair and refurbishment market for the oil & gas industry.
Additionally, the company took the decision to expand the facilities at Dubai Maritime City with a new repair workshop in 2017.
Next year Lars believes activity levels will probably be similar to those of 2017. “Even if oil prices go up to around the 60/70 dollar per barrel level it is still likely to take another 12 months to have an impact. So I would say we are cautiously optimistic about 2018.”