Boatbuilding in China

Posted by Irina Tabakina

While much of the focus on coverage of the Chinese shipbuilding industry is on big shipbuilding, Maritime Reporter switches gears this month to explore activities in select boatbuilding sectors.

Damen Yichang Shipyard
The Damen boatbuilding name is ubiquitous around the world, and China is certainly no exeception. The Damen Yichang Shipyard in China started ops in 1999 as a JV between Damen Shipyards Group and Sinotrans CSC, focused on building cargo vessels from the Dutch company’s portfolio. Recently Damen said it intends to broaden the market audience courtesy of an increased portfolio of vessels from the yard, with a continued focus cargo vessels up to 15,000 dwt, with the addition of dredgers, pontoons and barges, LNG/LPG tankers and offshore support vessels.
As with most Damen decisions, once the decision is taken the progress toward goal is rapid, and the yard is already building a number of specialized pontoons, while plans for dredgers are now being finalized. Additionally, finalization of plans for LPG tanker construction is expected imminently.
In step with its portfolio broadening will be an expansion of its market reach, as vessels from Damen Yichang Shipyard  cargo traditionally have aimed for the Western European marketplace. “Already we are building pontoons for specialized projects in the Far East and Latin America, as well as for stock. The dredgers also have an international market,” said Hans Voorneveld, Executive Director, Damen Shipyards Group. Current capacity at the yard is sufficient for Damen to simultaneously build 10 pontoons along with two dredgers, LNG/LPG tankers or offshore support vessels.
While Damen and Sinotrans are investing in the yard, Voorneveld said. “Everything is already in place, the yard is completely up and running. There’s an experienced workforce of around 1,000 personnel.”

Guangzhou Hangtong Shipbuilding

In recent years, a number of shipyards in southern China have grown, not only in size, but also in the sophistication of the vessels that they are building. At the Guangzhou Hangtong Shipbuilding this is illustrated by the 83.6 x 22-m construction and accommodation design that it is building. With one of these big boats already delivered to a contract in Mexico, it were, in mid-March, putting the finishing touches on a sister ship. Fitted with a four way mooring system, a hefty deck crane, a large clear after deck and a variety of other attributes, the vessel is well outfitted for marine construction work. The large exhaust stack for all engines, main and auxiliary, is mounted on the port side to allow for ease of crane work over the starboard side. This also allows space on the starboard side for a Zhejiang Hengxin Ship Equipment (HXN) rescue boat and davit. A pair of large HXN enclosed lifeboats are also mounted port and starboard.
The multi-decked superstructure is located well forward and provides accommodation in a variety of rooms for up to 200 people. A mess hall and galley suitable for this number is also located in the deckhouse.
The bridge is outfitted with all the latest in controls to provide operational status on the two Cummins QSK60-M main engines as well as the three Cummins KTA38-DM-powered electrical generators.  In addition to the forward console, an aft set of controls allows for safe use of the cranes and other construction utilities while giving the operator a clear view of the after working deck.
The large engine room space is located midships in the 7.2-m deep hull. The three Cummins-powered 590 kW generator sets provide for the extensive electrical needs of the accommodation block as well as the deck cranes, bow thrusters and active stabalizers designed for the comfort of personnel. The twin Cummins QSK60-M main engines each produce 2200 hp at 1800 rpm and turn fixed-pitch propellers through Twin Disc MGX5600 gears with 5.76:1 reduction. One of the two main engines has a fire pump linked to the front of the engine with a power take-off.

Xin Yue Feng

From the four-story office tower, housing 100 technical engineers and administration staff, to the 65,000 sq. m. yard with extensive fabrication and machine shops and a huge dry dock, the Xin Yue Feng Shipyard ( has been building every more sophisticated vessels. Although the majority of the yards work is in steel, they maintain a set of skilled aluminum workers as well. In mid-March this group was building a small aluminum service vessel for a Singapore customer. Over in the yards assembly and launch dock, four big DP2 anchor handlers were in various stages from fabrication with the aid of an overhead gantry crane. Nearby another AHT was being finished at the fitting out dock.
Also in the water, and awaiting delivery by ship to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, were two 15-m and one 12-m line handling or mooring boats. Each of these is powered by a pair of Cummins NT855 each delivering 261 kW at 1800 rpm. Back in the office block the walls are lined with photos of recently delivered vessels. Shipyard Chairman Mr. Luo Chaoneng points out the 39.8 x 10.5-m BADR 5, a 1200 hp handy-sized tug delivered this year to a Saudi Arabian customer. 
Nearby sporting a hefty knuckle-boom is a picture of the 34 x 10-m anchor handling tugs Swissco Garnet. Delivered this past January, the AHT has a molded depth of 4.7 m. Classed by BV it received the notation [1 +HULL +MACH, tug, Special service Anchor Handling, Unrestricted Navigation]. Powered by a pair of Cummins KTA50-M2 mains producing a total of 3200 hp to give the boat a 40-ton bollard pull and 11-knot speed. The Swissco Garnet is a repeat order and sister ship to the Swissco Opal delivered in 2013.

Guangdong Bonny Fair Heavy Industry Ltd.
With an array of about 20 boats building in an assembly line-like manner, the Guangdong Bonny Fair Heavy Industry Shipyard (formerly known as Guangdong New China Shipyard) is a model of efficiency. Three ferries currently are fitting out alongside. Designed by the Australian firm Sea Transport Solutions, the 50 x 17.5-m catamarans are each powered by four 485 kW diesels with two in each hull.
Shortly to be delivered to owners in Batangas, Philippines, the three ferries, part of a 10-vessel order, are designated FastCat M7, M8 and M10. Capacities include 275 passengers, 16 crew and 130 meters of vehicle lanes. They all bear the common logo of a Cat and the proud designation: Fast Cat: FerrySafe, FerryFast, Ferry Convenient.
The yard builds its efficiency on a large area with overhead cranes for construction of modules. In another area, three railway lines with overhead cranes allow step by stem assembly of the modules. These rails continue onto at a floating dry dock that can be shifted from one line to the other as required. This highly efficient dry dock is 89.8 m long with a beam of 34 m and a 27-m clearance between the walls. The Guangdong Bonny Fair shipyard is designed not only for efficiency but also to support ever more sophisticated vessels.

Feijun Shipyard
On lower reaches and estuaries of China’s great river the ubiquitous sand boats, with their low profile and long elephantine conveyors protruding from the bow transport untold amounts of dredged material to dry land. In the past year, the Feijun Shipyard, located in the Pearl River estuary, delivered 20 new vessels, the majority of which were sand boats.
As with so much in China’s maritime world these boats have grown in size and complexity. Recently the shipyard’s manager, Mo Qianfa, took a small group on a tour of one such boat as it neared completion. The boat, 88.2 x 19.5-m, has a hold capacity of 3400 cu. m. Looking aft from the bow, the holds, with the extensive piping for fresh water flushing after the salty sand has been removed, show their V-shaped bottom to allow the sand to slide to the bottom. There is one long hold space divided by partial bulkheads, running nearly the full length of the vessel, along the bottom of the hold there are 150 shutter doors controlled by hydraulic rams.
The off-load conveyor extends about 35 m out from the bow to allow the sand to be placed well up on the shore. Descending into the fo’c’sle the group saw the workings of the off load system. A heavy oil, 1000 kW auxiliary engine, turns a large drive wheel for the conveyer that discharges over the bow. It also turns a second drive to keep the huge belt that extends under the length of the hold just below the 150 shutter doors. This second endless belt is 76 x 1.4-meters wide and 14 mm thick.
Walking aft, under the holds and beside the conveyor, the group was able to climb to the deck level just ahead of the accommodation and wheelhouse that are mounted well aft over the engine room. The boat has a total of eight engines in addition to the one mounted forward to drive the conveyor belts. Two Cummins KTA38-M engines of 780 hp each provide propulsion power. There are also two locally built 150 kW, one 120 kW and one 50 kW gensets. Mounted half way up the side of the holt, two fresh water pumps for washing the salt out of the hold. One of these is a 500-hp Cummins KTA19-M while the other is a large locally built engine. While prices vary depending on how the boat is fitted out, Qianfa indicated that they range around $3 million.

DongGuan Nanxiang Shipbuilding
Chairman Zhu Fu Lin welcomes guests with fresh brewed local tea and explains the range of work at the DongGuan Nanxiang Shipyard. From a large fishing boat building for a Hong Kong customer to a variety of heavy lifting crane-vessels of various sizes for a range of customers.
Although not the largest, the 400-ton capacity 62.2 x 26.2-m crane barge that the yard had under construction in mid-March was a good representation. A pair of Cummins KT38-M mains, generating 780 KW each, powers the 4.8-m deep barge. The two main engines are located in separate port and starboard engine rooms. Each engine room also has a KTA19-D powered 350 KW generator. This electrical power is required to run the electric and hydraulic systems for the three-drum winch and pedestal-mounted crane. A smaller hotel generator is provided for that deckhouse and running lights. Accommodation is provided in the aft-mounted deckhouse for a crew of up to 20 in eight, two-person staterooms and two, two-person rooms. Designed and built in China for a domestic China customer, the crane barge is a reminder of the importance of the domestic market to Guangdong Province’s shipyards.

(As published in the April 2015 edition of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News -

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 90,  Apr 2015

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