• 2021 January 21 15:13

    Battle stations for boat-handling systems

    The reliability of davits used to launch rapid-response craft from a naval vessel can mean the difference between success and failure of a military or humanitarian mission.

    The clock is ticking. Timing is critical. As is the covert Nato mission in the dead of night to intercept suspected armed pirates en route to attack a UN humanitarian aid ship moored off Eritrea to supply refugees caught up in the Ethiopia crisis. Human lives, as well as valuable cargo and assets, are at risk.

    While this is a hypothetical scenario, it reflects real-life challenges for navies and coastguards in tackling such missions that are critically dependent on rapid deployment of high-speed craft, as well as the functionality of technology used to launch such vessels.

    Readiness is key and this necessitates the reliability and efficiency of davit systems to perform repetitive missions at sea in a failsafe manner, as well as effective follow-up maintenance to ensure these systems continue to work efficiently.

    “The sea is a very difficult environment in which to conduct military missions as one is up against a dual enemy: volatile marine conditions as well as the actual enemy,” explains William Goodall, a former surface warfare officer in the British Royal Navy and now area sales manager with Bergen-based davit supplier Vestdavit.

    “It is therefore vital that a davit system is available for operations as and when required, that it functions correctly and has the widest possible operational window so that it can be deployed in extreme sea state conditions if needed.”

    Reliability and regularity

    Navies use a variety of launch craft for a range of vital tasks including counter-terrorism, operations to combat piracy and prevent drug smuggling that entail protection of human life, as well as recovery of arms and ammunition, explosives and contraband.

    Such craft are also deployed in humanitarian efforts, for example to rescue stranded refugees or vessel crews in the event of a maritime accident, along with more routine tasks such as inspection of fishing vessels to ensure national fishery laws are being upheld and supervision of territorial rights.

    These tasks demand a high level of durability, reliability and regularity for davit systems, which can be used as many as 12 times a day for launch and recovery of craft in the case of fishery inspections.

    Delivery of dependable boat-handling systems requires these to meet both technical and performance specifications that enable them to respond as expected in real-life situations.

    “We believe we need to walk the talk. That means not just supplying standardised equipment for our clients only to meet technical specifications but making sure it is fit-for-purpose and able to fulfill functional requirements in practice,” Goodall says.

    “The system has to deliver when you press the button, with highly motivated personnel and equipment all ready to go,” adds the ex-officer who served tours of duty in the South Atlantic, Pacific and Persian Gulf where energy security was a priority, as well as carried out patrols in British and Norwegian waters, during his eight years in the Royal Navy.

    Vestdavit has a long-established and proven track record in supplying efficient davit systems, having delivered more than 2000 such systems since 1965 including recent reference deliveries on vessel newbuilds for the US, French and Australian navies, as well as the US Coast Guard.

    Goodall points out that a pair of davits supplied for two British naval warships, HMS Echo and HMS Enterprise, in 1997 are “still going strong” even as upgrades are now being considered for the vessels that have a design lifetime of 25 to 30 years.

    Davit diversity

    He attributes the “impressive longevity” of Vestdavit’s systems to durable components and regular preventive maintenance involving both weekly checks, and annual and five-yearly inspections in line with IMO guidelines.

    This is necessary to counter the stresses and strains from repetitive operations in tough sea conditions on a davit’s moving parts - such as shock absorbers and winches - to ensure it remains fit for an operational window of up to sea state six.

    The functionality of such components is also vital to safeguard both personnel and valuable equipment inside the craft being dropped to the water, such as a remote-operated vehicle that may be used to detonate a mine at sea.

    Vestdavit is able to deliver a diversity of davits required to handle the wide range of craft used in operations for naval, coast guard and seismic customers that form its core clientele.

    The company has also developed davits for hostile environments like the Arctic with measures such as protective housing and hot cables to de-ice components to withstand temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius, enabling polar vessels to operate in extreme and remote conditions.

    This was demonstrated last year with a pair of Vestdavit’s PLR-5002 davits on Norwegian Coast Guard vessel KV Svalbard that was used to retrieve data sensors in the Beaufort Sea and the US Coast Guard has recently ordered the company’s HNFE-5000 davit systems for one of its polar security cutters.

    Goodall believes the proven durability of Vestdavit equipment justifies a premium price tag as lifecycle costs are relatively lower due to reduced expenses on spare parts and servicing, with some clients requesting retrofits of its davit systems to replace existing ones that are less reliable.

    Thought leadership

    Vestdavit is focused on high-end, sophisticated equipment based on a proactive approach to client requirements as it exercises thought leadership in the field of davit systems.

    Technical director Helge Gravdal says the company’s experience with previous deliveries enables it to determine the correct specifications for a davit based on the client’s operational requirement.

    “Clients such as navies may have very specific requirements, such as the need to deploy a craft rapidly at speed in a high sea state, and this influences the design of davit we deliver. So dialogue with the end-user is very important to us,” Gravdal says.

    Vestdavit is also taking a technological lead with, for example, development of davits using electrical rather than hydraulic power and Gravdal believes there will be more hybrid systems in future.

    It is now taking a further step forward beyond traditional davit systems with its innovative MissionEase solution that facilitates deployment of multiple craft from a single ‘garage’ inside a vessel using an automated track system.

    One such system is already in operation on a crew-change vessel and another designed for 13 boats is now being installed on the Nexans Aurora subsea cable-laying vessel under construction at Norway’s Ulstein shipyard, marking the first commercial contract.

    Goodall believes this will pave the way for future such installations of MissionEase on naval vessels and that the system also has potential for the expeditionary cruise market.

2021 March 3

11:14 Aleksandr Smirnov appointed as General Director of Rosmorport
11:12 Associated British Ports signs Mental Health in Maritime Pledge
10:25 Rates approved for investment harbor dues in Big Port Saint Petersburg, Vysotsk, Primorsk and Ust-Luga seaports
10:03 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Mar 03, 2021
09:53 Bunker prices continue rising at the Port of Saint-Petersburg, Russia (graph)
09:32 Oil prices go up in expectation of OPEC+ meeting
09:18 Baltic Dry Index as of March 2
08:41 The Port of Sagunto will reduce energy consumption in roads by 54% with the installation of LED lights

2021 March 2

19:00 Zelenodolsk Plant lays down two high-speed passenger hydrofoils of Project 03830, Meteor-2020
18:45 Crowley promotes Dan Warner to Chief Financial Officer
18:05 The RSS Sir David Attenborough delivered to LR Class
17:54 Manufacture of auxiliary drilling modules for ice-resistant platform LSP “A” is underway
17:47 TORM purchases eight MR product tankers with chemical trading capabilities from TEAM Tankers in a partly share-based transaction
17:39 Inchcape’s new Port Cost Estimator is missing link in voyage cost puzzle
17:28 CMA CGM acquired a 50% interest minus one share in TTIA container terminal in Algeciras, Spain
17:25 First hydrogen filling station opened in Amsterdam port
17:21 Framo will supply pumping systems for foundations of Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm project
17:06 Haldor Topsoe joins Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping as Strategic Corporate Partner
16:21 USCG, partners rescue two pilots from downed aircraft off Lanai
16:15 The Prax Group agrees exclusive crude oil supply arrangement with Trafigura
15:48 Ardmore Shipping takes on commercial management of four Carl Buettner chemical tankers
15:47 Ocean Infinity acquires MMT
15:00 Bunker sales at Vladivostok port in 2M’2021 fell by 34% YoY
14:38 Tenderers sought for upcoming Port Hedland channel marker project
14:22 Local contractor wins Mt Bassett water reservoir demolition job
13:46 Mega RO-RO vessels handled in record time thanks to investment by PSA Zeebrugge
13:16 Wallenius Wilhelmsen returns three more vessels from cold lay-up
12:08 CMA CGM introduces PSS for cargo from Pakistan to North Europe, Scandinavia, Poland, Adriatic, North Africa, Morocco & the Mediterranean
12:01 Port of Antwerp carries out the first trial for increasing draught on the Western Scheldt river
11:42 Throughput of port Azov in 2M’2021 surged by 68% YoY
11:09 Four companies join forces in HAV Group ASA
10:55 Port of Tallinn comments on the claim filed by Tallink
10:38 Tallink Grupp brings legal action against Port of Tallinn
10:09 Port of Vancouver cargo throughput increased by 1% to 145.5 million metric tonnes in 2020
09:51 Oil shipments via CPC Marine Terminal in 2M’21 fell by 8.4% YoY
09:49 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Mar 02, 2021
09:34 Oil prices go down in expectation OPEC+ meeting
09:18 Ports of Bremen container throughput down by 1.4 per cent to 51.1 million tons in 2020
09:09 Baltic Dry Index as of March 1
08:00 TORM purchases eight MR product tankers
07:53 Diana Shipping announces time charter contract for m/v Ismene

2021 March 1

17:39 Depth 2021 competition opens in the framework of the International Army Games
17:17 Vitol launches Green LNG offering
16:48 CMA CGM introduces PSS for cargo from/to North Europe to/from the Mediterranean & Black Sea
16:12 World’s largest steel company, China Baowu Steel Group, and Sibanthracite Group become strategic partners
15:34 NUTEP terminal sets new record of container handling
15:30 APM Terminals Kalundborg now operational
15:26 SEACOR Marine signs the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change
15:11 RF Navy’s small missile ship Orekhovo-Zuevo passes the Black Sea straits towards the Mediterranean Sea
13:33 Average spot market price for Russian M100 product climbed to RUB 22,193 pmt
13:12 Port of Antwerp to launch a new shipping guidance system
12:46 MOL to expand sharing of ship operation data
12:37 Finnlines announces bunker surcharge for Malmö-Travemünde-Malmö
11:48 China ports container volume rises 13.2% in January of 2021Ningbo Containerized Freight Index keep rises in February
11:46 Russian Railways' network loading declined by 0.9% in 2M’2021
11:23 Global maritime leaders to exchange ideas at Singapore’s Annual Maritime Public Leaders’ Programme
10:59 Nevskaya Environmental Dredging Company supports 4th International Congress “Hydraulic Engineering Structures and Dredging” as its Sponsor
10:41 New research: unlocking a triple-win for UK ports and shipping
10:25 MABUX: Bunker market this morning, Mar 01, 2021
10:10 Austal Philippines delivers largest high speed ferry constructed in The Philippines