Page 12: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (February 2019)

Ferry Builders

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Chad Fuhrmann

Fuhrmann graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1998 and sailed internationally for 10 years as a licensed engi- neering offcer. In 2008, he shifted focus shoreside consulting in dynamic positioning and marine operations, taking his current position with MAC as North American Operations Manager for Maritime Assurance & Consulting in 2014.

Keel-to-Keel Precycling

A modest proposal that, during inevitable future market downturns, would help to give quality hulls a second life.

t would be an understatement to Unfortunately, marine assets such as This is not an entirely new concept sectors have demonstrated some innova- say that the ofshore oil and gas in- drill ships, rigs, and Ofshore Support in the maritime industry. Far from it. tive approaches of late as alternatives to dustry experienced an oversupply Vessels (OSV) were designed with lit- Throughout history, merchant vessels scrapping. Nevertheless, the industry in of marine assets during the recent tle more than single functions in mind. have repeatedly been modifed to serve general has exhibited a remarkable lack

I downturn. Much like industrial landflls, With narrowly focused industrial mis- functions in support of military sealift of imagination.

forsaken land plots piled high with the sions and limited fexibility in design and national defense operations. The The National Science Foundation re- unusable remains of human consump- these advanced platforms are considered reverse is likewise true of military to ci- cently awarded a $121.88 million grant tion, “slipflls” located in hidden bay- useless in lean markets or when the next vilian conversions. Civilian and military to Oregon State University for a new re- ous and backwaters around the Gulf of generation of technology is introduced. assets have also been modifed to serve search vessel. This vessel would be the

Mexico and elsewhere are overfowing It is perhaps time that the same precy- alternate purposes as deemed necessary frst of three vessels with potential fur- with the remains of the boom market of cling philosophy is considered for appli- by market, political, or even social en- ther funding to increase to $365 million. the pre-2014 oil and gas sector. cation on a larger scale to marine assets. vironments including disaster response Likewise, with the support of local gov- having apparently outlived their use- activities and other missions with hu- ernment representatives the U.S. State fulness, these assets are left to the efects Past to Present – Recycling manitarian objectives. Maritime Academies have increased of rot and rust, unceremoniously stacked by Any Other Name ... This trend continues with current ef- eforts pushing for the funding of much and hidden from view like so much un- Vessels and rigs are generally not “re- forts at repurposing available assets for needed training vessels.

usable junk. But this is not junk. These cycled” until the end of their service life, unique applications in a changing indus- A comparison between idle OSVs and vessels and rigs are multi-million dollar, at which point they are broken down in try. Ofshore wind and fshing industries the specifcations for these new vessels technologically advanced marvels of in- a resource heavy, labor intensive and en- serve as two examples. As demand for might indicate that, while additional dustry designed for the safe and efcient vironmentally detrimental manner. The ofshore wind energy gains momentum work and redesign would be required support of some of the most complex remaining materials are then disposed of here in North America organizations are (along with innovative thinking), exist- feats of engineering humanity is – so far permanently or sold as scrap. Vessels looking to existing assets to provide the ing assets could be converted for compa- – capable of undertaking. Value Ltd. has stated that as of March project support needed for various stages rable functions more economically and

In the general consumer market, the 2018, 43 vessels had been sold for scrap. of installation and maintenance includ- with less environmental impact than un- concept of precycling has been intro- That number is up a total of 153% from ing drill ship conversion projects for dertaking a newbuild approach. While duced in an efort to cut down the ev- the same period in 2017. This is a small wind farm installation functions. Like- this may very well be an arguable point, eryday trash humans produce. Briefy percentage of the 3,500 OSVs in the wise, companies are looking to fulfl the the potential economic benefts certainly speaking, this concept espouses the global market. Bearing in mind that ap- needs of the fshing industry with the justify consideration.

avoidance of unnecessary material proximately 1,200 vessels remain in lay- conversion of existing OSVs into fshing Unfortunately, it is accepted with little which cannot be eventually reused for an up and the market is not yet stabilized, trawlers and processing vessels. More dispute that a singular purpose in design additional function outside of its original that number is likely to increase. recently, industry organizations such as limits the service functions to which ex- intended purpose. This begs a question, that if a laid-up the National Ofshore Safety Advisory isting assets may be applied. Ignoring

The precycling concept attempts to ef- asset is deemed to have some useful ser- Committee (NOSAC) have been tasked a vast supply of relatively new vessels, fectively eliminate the need for recycling vice life remaining could many of these with addressing the needs for response commercial and academic organizations or outright disposal by addressing end- idle assets be repurposed for other appli- and recovery activities using assets that are continuing to choose much more ex- of-service-life concerns at the product cations outside of their original design are already available, specifcally OSVs. pensive newbuild options over repurpos- design stage. missions? Indeed, numerous entities and industry ing existing assets.

12 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • FEBRUARY 2019

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