Rauma Marine Constructions reveals how it is cementing its position as a leading ferry builder
Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) is building on its legacy of constructing ferries with its aim to establish the shipyard as a world-class car ferry builder.
The shipyard has a strong history of building ferries, having built 40 when it was under previous ownership for major operators including Tallink, Stena Line, P&O Ferries and Brittany Ferries.
Rauma shipyard was closed by the former owner in 2014 and the same year the shipyard area was bought by the city of Rauma, which relaunched the shipyard facilities as RMC.
Certainly, the yard has enjoyed success since it started again as RMC. With a clutch of ferry newbuilding contracts, it has shown itself to be a leader when it comes to using innovative and environmentally friendly technology.
RMC president and chief executive Jyrki Heinimaa tells Passenger Ship Technology “RMC’s product portfolio is largely based on the legacy of Rauma shipyard. Back then, the shipyard was already considered a world-class car and passenger ferry builder. In the same way, RMC’s expertise today lies in the people who have created the success story of Rauma shipyard over the course of the 21st century. It is only natural that RMC is once again aiming to re-establish the yard as a world-class car ferry builder.”
The shipyard has built, is building and has won contracts for high profile ferries which use cutting edge technology. RMC’s first newbuilding order and first ferry commission since it re-established itself as RMC was Molslinjen’s ferry, placed in June 2016.
Currently, Rauma shipyard is building car passenger ferry Aurora Botnia for Finnish shipping company Wasaline and car passenger ferry MyStar for Estonian shipping company Tallink Grupp. Both vessels use LNG as primary fuel.
Mr Heinimaa says “Rauma has always been a frontrunner in terms of technology, innovations and environmentally friendly solutions. Rauma is no stranger to the use of LNG as fuel, as the first LNG-powered vessel was built in Rauma almost 10 years ago.”
Aurora Botnia will be the first ever ropax ferry with a Clean Design class notation. Mr Heinimaa comments “The vessel will have a hybrid power generation system and an electric propulsion system rarely used in car and passenger ferries. The ferry is one of the most environmentally friendly, large ropax ferries currently under construction.”
Aurora Botnia will be approximately 150 m long and will have a gross tonnage of 24,600. It will accommodate 800 passengers and will have a freight capacity of 1,500 lane m for cargo and cars. The vessel is designed to be environmentally friendly, with machinery running on a dual-fuel solution. With ice class 1A Super, Aurora Botnia can use both LNG or biogas in addition to diesel fuel in power generation and will feature a battery system and electrical azimuthing propulsion.
Tallink’s MyStar shuttle ferry will be approximately 212 m long with a gross tonnage of roughly 50,000 dwt. It will accommodate 2,800 passengers. Compared to Tallink’s newest shuttle ferry Megastar, which also operates between Helsinki and Tallinn, the new ferry will have an increased passenger area with more seating, and more crew cabins.
Mr Heinimaa says “From a technical standpoint, the ferry will have powerful shore connection equipment and will also be equipped with LNG fuel tanks, approximately one third larger than Megastar. The new enhanced design will allow the ferry’s CO2 emissions to be reduced by 10%. The vessel uses the newest technology and innovative solutions, with the aim of building the most environmentally friendly and energy-efficient vessel possible. This includes machines that run on dual fuels with the option of a battery solution, with the main source of fuel being low-emission LNG.
RMC signed a memorandum of understanding for two fast car and passenger ferries for Australia’s TT-Line in February this year.
The vessels will be built at Rauma shipyard with construction scheduled to start Q1 2021 and delivered to the customer in Tasmania, Australia, at the end of 2022 and 2023. The vessels, set to operate under the brand Spirit of Tasmania, will replace existing vessels Spirit of Tasmania I and II (ex Superfast III and Superfast IV), built in Turku, Finland in 1998. The ferries will accommodate 1,800 passengers and will have an approximate gross tonnage of 48,000. The ferries are set to operate in challenging conditions on the Melbourne, Australia to Devonport, Tasmania route.
Mr Heinimaa says “Building these vessels is a natural continuation to the similarly sized MyStar, which RMC is building for Tallink Grupp. The memorandum of understanding enables RMC to resolutely move forward on its planned growth path, and ultimately increases the building of large car and passenger ferries in Rauma. This signifies a steady growth for the shipbuilding industry in Finland. During the upcoming months, TT-Line Company and RMC will be working in close co-operation to finalise the contract for constructing the vessels.”
Other notable ferry work carried out by the yard includes a general overhaul on the Finnish Environment Institute’s ice-reinforced research vessel Aranda at Rauma shipyard in 2018. Simultaneously, the vessel was equipped to operate for short periods on battery power only, such as when approaching the harbour. The capacity to use fuel cell technology in the future was also implemented.
In 2011, P&O Ferries’ car passenger ferry Spirit of Britain was completed at Rauma shipyard, for which the world’s first SRtP (safe return to port) capabilities were implemented.
Newbuilds SuperSpeed 1 and 2, which were delivered to Norwegian shipping company Color Line in 2008 from Rauma shipyard, were the first in the world to comply with the SOLAS 2009 stability rule, including the Stockholm Agreement.
Developing partner networks and facilities
RMC has also been busy developing its facilities and solutions. The shipyard operates on the premises of Seaside Industry Park, owned by the City of Rauma, and in this regard the company already operates in a pre-built environment. “The aim is to develop and invest in business and production facilities. The multifunctional corvettes for the Finnish Defence Forces will be built indoors, which is why we are currently considering investing in our facilities,” says Mr Heinimaa.
Furthermore, RMC has built up a strong partner network within the maritime cluster in both Rauma and Finland.
RMC’s operating model has been adapted to correspond to the need for passenger car ferries and naval vessels to be built simultaneously at Rauma shipyard, explains Mr Heinimaa. “RMC’s network-based operating model has been developed from the operating model of the late 1990s, in a way that further emphasises a network-based mode of operation. RMC is a project management and technology company, responsible for designing, planning, co-ordinating and commissioning the shipbuilding projects, as well as being responsible for deliveries for clients.”
He adds “We want to co-operate with partners that have innovative abilities and know how. This can mean new kinds of technologies or designs the prospective partner has, or can be found from the partner’s network. The partnerships of the future require you to have the ability to select the winning team with whom you will negotiate the ship trade. Competitive, well-established innovation capability will lead to long-term, exclusive relationships.”
RMC’s network will continue to grow in the future. The shipyard has good co-operation with Merima Oy, a Finnish provider of passenger and cruise ship interiors. Due to the co-operation, Merima has decided to expand its own business to manufacture cabins, with facilities near the shipyard in Rauma.
RMC is certainly in a good position to grow its footprint within the ferry shipbuilding market.