Singapore-based West Marine has produced a containerised walk-to-work gangway well-suited for the Asian offshore wind market that can be easily transferred between vessels within a fleet
West Marine managing director Raymond Tian spoke to Singapore Solutions about his company’s innovation, and his views on competition between LNG and exhaust gas cleaning systems, or scrubbers, for compliance with IMO’s 2020 sulphur cap.
Mr Tian’s core business designs, engineers and manufactures lifting appliances, he said, adding that the company is bringing to market a 13.5-m active motion-compensated gangway aimed at the offshore energy industry. This is suitable for installing on smaller vessels that lack their own dynamic positioning (DP) system, with the gangway able to fully compensate for motion from wind and waves. West Marine’s system is fully containerised, allowing it to be transferred between vessels as required. At the time of writing, this system was under review with ABS for approval, Mr Tian said, adding that vessel owners active in Taiwan’s offshore wind industry had already expressed interest.
West Marine is also involved in the exhaust gas cleaning systems business, in partnership with the Shanghai Marine Diesel Engine Research Institute (SMDERI), Mr Tian said. The units cost around S$1.5M (US$1.1M) for an open-loop system suitable for a 7,500-TEU container ship, with a service life of around 20 years. He noted West Marine can also offer custom solutions for shorter service lives.
Looking ahead to 2020 and IMO’s sulphur cap coming into force, Mr Tian said “I think the right strategy for the big shipowners must be balance.”
Owners should not put all their eggs in one basket, he said, advocating for owners to mix use of scrubbers and other fuels such as LNG in their fleets.