Abu Dhabi Ports’ maritime services arm Safeen has turned to Singapore-based Rocktree to design and manage a transhipment vessel for imports of ore to an Emirates Steel plant at Musaffah Port
Together, they will manage the conversion of a post-Panamax bulk carrier into a transhipment vessel. When this vessel is completed, it will receive iron ore from bulkers up to Newcastlemax size (210,000 dwt) at a deepwater anchorage.
The transhipment vessel will load ore on to 12,000-dwt self-propelled and self-discharging barges, which will shuttle ore to the steel works.
Safeen chief executive and head of Abu Dhabi Ports’ maritime cluster captain Adil Banihammad said this project was the second step in Safeen’s journey into the transhipment sector of maritime business. “Our transhipment contract serving Emirates Steel adds one more feather to Safeen’s cap after the ongoing management of a similar project in West Africa,” he said.
Work to convert 101,648-dwt Niki is underway at China’s Cosco Guangzhou shipyard and is scheduled for completion during Q4 2020. It will be renamed Hafeet and from January 2021, the 253-m long vessel will begin iron ore transhipments. Hafeet will have capacity to store iron ore pellets inside seven cargo holds while waiting for the shuttle feeders
Rocktree chief executive Daniele Pratolongo said his team has designed this transhipment vessel and is overseeing the conversion project. Rocktree is also being “entrusted with the initial ship management on behalf of Safeen,” said Mr Pratolongo.
Both Rocktree and Safeen have technical teams working with the shipyard and equipment suppliers for Hafeet.
The vessel will have a new cargo handling facility and ancillary equipment consisting of four 32-tonne grab cranes, two double hoppers, a 3,000 tonne/hr conveyor system, and one luffing/slewing barge-loader. Hafeet will also be fitted out with three new diesel generators and additional mooring and fendering systems. Additional steel work will add 2,328 tonnes to the vessel’s lightweight.
Rocktree demonstrated the potential of transhipment operations in the Middle East in 1998, with a vessel produced for Bahrain Steel.
It has built technical and operational expertise from developing around 38 floating logistics solutions such as floating cranes, self-discharging vessels, transhippers and large floating terminals.
Rocktree manages transhipment vessels in Indonesia and off Sakhalin Island, Russia. It operates a fleet of 14 tugs, all classed by RINA and built between 2005 and 2009, and operates 18 RINA-classed barges.
Rocktree could be operating another transhipment service in Australia in the future. In November 2019, it completed front-end engineering and design for a new floating terminal for Australia’s Metro Mining. This was part of a feasibility study for Stage 2 expansion of the Bauxite Hills Mine, about 95 km north of Weipa, Queensland.
Metro Mining aims to increase bauxite exports from about 3.5M tonnes to 6M tonnes per year by 2022.
“We anticipate Rocktree’s presence in other areas will grow,” said Mr Pratolongo. “We not only expect further expansion in the regions in which we currently operate – Russia, Indonesia and Australia – but also in the Middle East,” he said.
Safeen operates a fleet of 12 harbour tugs and is responsible for pilotage, mooring, vessel handing and towage at Abu Dhabi harbours and terminals.
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