Princess Cruise Lines used two drydocks to boost Grand Princess’s energy and environmental efficiency. Vigor Industrial explains what was involved
Princess Cruise Lines has carried out a refit of its Grand Princess cruise ship with a major focus on energy efficiency.
It chose Vigor shipyard in the US to complete the drydocking project on Grand Princess. This comes on the back of another drydock project in 2017, where energy efficiency was also a major part of the works carried out.
The 14-day drydocking included routine maintenance and interior refurbishment, and saw Vigor perform hull cleaning and painting, weight testing of davits, maintenance to the bow and stern thrusters and minor steel repairs.
Vigor ship repairs director of sales Kellan Lancaster explains. “Typically cruise ship operators paint their underwater hulls every 3-5 years, performing maintenance on underwater items they cannot address while they are in the water.
Mr Lancaster adds “Vigor also provided logistics support for the 1,200+ contractors and 1,000+ crew members performing additional work through around-the-clock crane and forklift support and material movement. We supported reps for underwater work and specific work that only a shipyard trained-technician can perform.”
He highlighted the importance of the project for energy efficiency. “Painting the underwater hull is critical to reducing fuel costs and improving efficiency on cruise ships. Vigor blasted 3,700 m2 and applied 22,300 m2 of paint in under six days.”
The shipyard used Hempel Hempaguard X7 which uses a fouling preventing biocide and hydrogel silicone for potential fuel savings.
Elsewhere, exhaust gas scrubber work took place to reduce air pollution. High-efficiency washers and dryers were also installed to reduce water use.
Mr Lancaster highlighted the main challenge being the time constraints due to the ship’s schedule.
This is the second docking for Grand Princess at Vigor Industrial shipyard. In 2017, it had an 8-day drydocking at the facility, where Vigor made steel repairs throughout the vessel and replaced three AC chillers. A special loading platform was fabricated in advance to accomplish this along with side shell cuts for access. All three units were replaced and access sealed in six days.
Elsewhere, there was a complete renewal of all propulsion shaft bearings, bow thruster replacement and overhauls, regulatory inspection on all sea valves, seal replacements on rudders and stabilisers, lifeboat and tender davit repair and modifications.
Hull coating maintenance was carried out and the Livery logo was painted on the bow. Vigor, together with Princess subcontractors, also upgraded the pools and the Movie under the Stars screens and equipment.
Cruise ship refits are a major focus for Vigor. Mr Lancaster says “As Vigor continues to service the cruise industry, we focus on continuous improvement and best practices with respect to labour and work management specific to cruise ships. Cruise ships are unique in both scope and speed of work which we continually work to improve while maintaining a focus on safety and quality.”
He singled out how the yard was focused on meeting both environmental and logistics needs when it came to retrofitting cruise ships. Mr Lancaster says “We continue to focus more on UHP blasting for environmental benefits. Our 60-acre facility has ample laydown area. We can handle up to 500 containers and provide logistics support for 3,000 contractors, 1,200 workers and 800 shipyard workers on a single project. In addition, the Pacific Northwest has a vibrant industrial base with an exceptional network of skilled workers and local suppliers. All major crafts are employed on site so Vigor can react efficiently to unplanned work or other unexpected issues.”
The shipyard offers shore power of up to 9,600 amps at 480 volts, 11 kV or 6 kV to port or starboard.
Grand Princess is also slated to be transformed into a Medallion-class ship in March 2020 and following this, will use Singapore as its home port.
Grand Princess is part of a wider Medallion-class retrofit plan. Four other ships will also be converted in 2020 – Ruby Princess, Enchanted Princess, Coral Princess and Island Princess.
MedallionClass Vacations are available on Caribbean Princess, Regal Princess and Royal Princess, with Crown Princess starting 24 July and Sky Princess beginning 12 October 2019 when the newest ship in the Princess fleet departs the shipyard as the first newbuild with the Ocean Guest Experience Platform.
Designed to offer guests a fully personalised cruise experience, the Ocean Medallion can be worn or carried by passengers to anticipate their onboard needs. The fully automated device gives guests access to personalised dining experiences, interactive entertainment and games, wayfinding capabilities, transaction-free payments and expedited embarkation and disembarkation. Other benefits include touch-free access to staterooms, enhanced interactions with crew members and other guests, and the ability to connect to portals throughout the ship to see a real-time overview of shipboard events and activities.
Aside from its recent work on Grand Princess, Vigor also carried out a retrofit of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Star during an 11-day drydocking. Work included approximately 3,500 kg of steel work on the stern, Azipods, thrusters and fin stabiliser overhaul, and blast and coat.
Significant renovations were done on the lido deck and aluminum bulkhead repairs and inserts were made on the pool deck and atrium level.
Elsewhere, more than 2,500 Vigor workers and contractors completed a 12-day docking of Carnival Legend. The project scope included work on the bow thruster and Azipods, complete paint removal and recoating, internal pipe work and logistics support for major onboard renovations such as installing Guy’s Burger Joint.
Energy efficient ferry fabrication
In addition to its work in cruise ship repair and refurbishment, Vigor has a robust fabrication programme for passenger vessels. Between 2015 and 2018, Vigor built four all-aluminum, 400-passenger ferries for WETA (the Water Emergency Transportation Authority) in San Francisco. Hydrus, Cetus, Argo and Carina are part of WETA’s planned expansion of ferry services on San Francisco Bay.
Designed by Incat Crowther, Australia, the 41 m x 12 m all-aluminum catamarans are environmentally friendly and efficient. They are equipped with a selective catalytic reduction after-treatment system and are powered by two MTU 12V4000 M64 engines.
Vigor vice president, marine sales and business development Josh Pruzek says “They are able to burn biodiesel B5 and thereby further reduce emissions, a high priority for the City of San Francisco.
“Each ferry has a service speed of 27 knots and a smooth, quiet ride thanks to its ’floating house.’ The superstructure has 180 independent mounts. The engines and wheelhouse sit on isolation mounts while the gears are hard mounted. This configuration greatly reduces vibration, increasing passenger comfort.”
Alaska Marine Highway System contracted Vigor to build its two newest ferries, Tazlina and Hubbard.
Mr Pruzek says “The vessel design for the Alaska-class ferries had to overcome the challenges of Alaska’s heavy seas, high winds and freezing spray.”
Testing was performed on the hull form in a wave tank at Force Technology Denmark to allow designer, Elliott Bay Design Group, to optimise performance in heavy seas and improve passenger comfort. The vessels are classed ABS Ro/Ro and carry 300 passengers and 53 vehicles via both a bow and stern door.
This year Washington’s legislature authorised a contract extension for Vigor to build up to five Olympic-class, hybrid-electric ferries for Washington State Ferries (WSF), the largest ferry system in the United States. Mr Pruzek comments “Greening its fleet is a major objective for WSF and its leaders have visited Norway and conferred with experts there to better understand best practices and available technologies.”
Vigor has built the last 12 ferries in the WSF fleet. The most recent include the first four Olympic-class, 144-car, 1,500 passenger ferries, Tokitae, Samish, Chimacum and Suquamish.
Mr Pruzek comments “The Olympic-class hull form is one of the most efficient in the fleet with less drag through the water and a small wake for a positive environmental impact.”
The new hybrid vessels will use this hull form as well. They will be capable of 100% electric operation on most routes once the infrastructure renovation needed for charging stations is complete.
Mr Pruzek says “Over the life of the vessels, a 94% reduction in carbon emissions is anticipated along with the added benefit of significantly reduced operating costs for the ferry system. Vigor expects to be in the design and engineering phase in Q3 for the first two ferries and expects construction to begin in 2020.”