Shiprepair & Maintenance: 1st quarter 2018
Charleston’s Detyens Shipyard is poised to benefit from a substantial programme of investment, which is expected to lead to efficiency gains as well as extend the operational capabilities of the yard.
Much of the work now underway centers on two currently unused buildings, Building 2 and 2A. These are going through a major transformation to bring them back into useful employment as a hull and pipe shop, covering more than 200,000ft2.
Building 2, which was originally built in 1906, will be converted into a plate yard, with steel and pipe fabrication, forming, shaping and cutting capabilities, and will be equipped with two 25 ton capacity overhead cranes. In addition Detyens is relocating two plasma cutting units, pipe bending machinery and presses, among other plants, inside the refurbished building. Meanwhile, Building 2A, built in 1937, will become an assembly and pre-fabrication area, and will feature two 50 ton overhead cranes.
Investment is also being targeted to convert Detyens’ old hull shop, Building 80, close to Drydock 5, into a thruster repair facility. This will be designed to better enable external specialist service companies to dismantle and overhaul azimuth and bow/stern thrusters – an area where Detyens sees considerable potential for growth – by providing more space.
Bradley Kerr, Detyens’ sales director, says: “A lot of changes are taking place this year, and these will make us more productive and efficient and add more service capabilities to the site. We will be able to undertake more prefabrication and steel work for conversion projects in house, for example, and there will be more space available for machinery strip downs and overhauls, as a result of the investments we are making.” If all goes to plan the various yard upgrades will be completed by the end of this year, he adds.
Overall, 2017 was a highly successful year for the yard, with revenues generated by shiprepair and conversion projects exceeding those of the previous year. Detyens carried out a number of significant programmes for Military Sealift Command (MSC) and MARAD, involving fleet auxiliary vessels and other government owned ships. The commercial sector, both local Jones Act ships and international, trading vessels, still makes up about 40% of the yard’s workload, however. Last year the yard docked a number of smaller cruise ships and ferries for example, as well as dredgers, tugs, barges, containerships, tankers and bulk carriers.
The scopes of work for these vessels included regular routine maintenance, steel and aluminium repairs, hull blasting and coating, tank cleaning, engine overhauls, propulsion system repairs, electronics upgrades, among others.
One notable recent project involved the conversion of the MSC vessel, USNS Guam, now HST 1, which was formerly Hawaii Superferries’ fast ferry, Huakai. The yard was tasked with a wide range of work, including the installation of new galleys, crew quarters, a laundry room, relocating a new stern ramp, mooring systems winches, port and starboard gangways and enhanced facilities onboard for passengers, upgrading the high speed transport vessel. Another former Hawaii Superferries vessel now operated by MSC, HST 2 – which was previously known as USNS Puerto Rico and Alakai – also recently visited the yard for a regular winter refit programme.
Prospects for 2018 are uncertain, with the US shiprepair market becoming increasingly competitive. Nonetheless there is a sense of confidence at the yard that the potential for securing both local and international ship repair and conversion work is still positive. Kerr says: “This year has started off at a slow, but steady pace, but we are excited about the potential works we are currently quoting. IMO and other regulatory changes are likely to have a significant influence on the market, with a number of owners exploring LNG dual fuel conversions.”
Detyens Shipyard is one of the biggest facilities of its type on the US Atlantic seaboard. Facilities include three large graving docks, and a floating dock, which are able to take ships up to 229m in length and 33.5m wide