International Maritime Industries talks about providing tugs for its new shipyard in Saudi Arabia and Smit Lamnalco gains a multi-tug contract in Bahrain
As a consortium of companies and organisations construct a new shipyard in Saudi Arabia, they have announced how they will provide tug services. International Maritime Industries (IMI) is building a US$5.2Bn shipyard at Ras Al Khair on the Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia.
According to IMI chief operating officer Yi Seong Kang, this will be the largest full-service maritime facility in the Middle East and will be able to compete with the largest shipyards in Asia for construction. When completed in 2020, it will be owned 50.1% by Saudi Aramco, 19.9% by Saudi shipping group Bahri, 20% by drilling rig builder Lamprell and 10% by Hyundai Heavy Industries.
IMI will focus on ship, offshore vessel, rig and workboat construction, and their through-life maintenance and commercial ship repair. It will require services from a fleet of tugs, which Mr Yi told Tug Technology & Business would be owned by the Saudi Government’s port authority.
He said the shipyard will build at least four tugs for the port authority and lease them when required. They need to be large enough to manoeuvre the very large crude carriers Bahri plans to build at the facility and maintain through their lifetime.
These tugs will also handle offshore drilling rigs as they are either brought into the facility or are built there, and merchant ships of all sizes as IMI will be operating one of the biggest ship repair facilities in the region from 2020. Construction at the site is under way with dredging and associated activities in progress, requiring tug assistance.
There are other shipbuilding facilities in Saudi Arabia and plans to construct more. Riyadh-based Al Blagha Group operates marine infrastructure in Saudi Arabia including a shipyard in Dammam, which manages construction projects for shipowners in the Middle East.
It also operates a shipyard in Jeddah, which builds ships and repairs vessels for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, Royal Saudi Coastguard and Saudi Aramco. Zamil Shipbuilding operates a shipyard at King Abdul-Aziz Port in Dammam that constructs offshore support vessels for Zamil’s own fleet and for Saudi Aramco. Zamil has plans to construct other shipbuilding facilities in consortia with other companies in Saudi Arabia.
Bahrain terminal support
In Bahrain, Smit Lamnalco has won a contract to provide escort and towage services to a floating LNG import terminal. The National Oil and Gas Authority of Bahrain handed out a 20-year contract for marine services at the terminal.
The centerpiece of the deal is to provide four 70-tonne bollard pull tugs to assist with escorting, berthing and departure of LNG carriers visiting the facility. As part of its overall package, the towage and marine services provider will help develop infrastructure that supports the project.
The Bahrain LNG import terminal will use a floating storage unit and a jetty-mounted regasification facility located offshore 5 km east of Khalifa Bin Salman port. Commercial operations at the facility are scheduled to start in 2019.
Smit Lamnalco will initially employ four escort tugs from its existing LNG terminal support fleet. However, in the fifth year of the contract these vessels will be replaced by four new purpose-built tugs for the remaining 15 years.
In addition to tug operations, Smit Lamnalco’s full portfolio of LNG-related terminal services encompasses emergency response, pilotage and mooring, logistics and shore base management, environmental response, vessel traffic management, marine consultancy, terminal management and inspection, repair and maintenance.