We Had a Very Clear Intent – We Had Eight Days

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captain eric clarke imtech rightship

When Holland America Line commissioned Imtech Marine USA to refit the bridges of three of its renowned cruise ships, Eric Clarke, Director Service Americas of Imtech Marine USA, was delighted but also knew this represented a considerable challenge – even with his company’s vast experience and 100-strong branch network.

For the three-vessel contract, Imtech Marine has to refit FCR-28×9 X-band radars, FAR-2837 S-band radars, FMD 3300 ECDIS, FAP 2000/3000 Track control and GP150D GPS systems – all Furuno equipment.

“Although we have worked for Holland America Line for a number of years delivering service and spare parts or equipment, this is the first time they had asked us to take on such a large project. We are proud to have been given this opportunity and it is a real chance to show the cruise ship market what we can do.

Considering integration is what we do, the scope of work wasn’t particularly daunting, however we only had an eight day window to complete the task… Otherwise there were going to be 2,300 angry passengers waiting for their cruise!

Undoubtedly the reason for the successful completion of all the work was preparation. We wanted to mitigate all the risks therefore we set up a complete mock-up of the whole installation and tested it thoroughly before the vessel arrived in the shipyard. And we invited our client to witness the acceptance tests.

MV Westerdam holland america line
MV Westerdam, Holland America Line

The refit was also a considerable challenge because of the large quantity and length of cables involved. Given the huge distances, which could be up to 100 m, Imtech Marine used special fibre optic cable to make sure there is no danger of any signal loss.

In addition, and because we clearly couldn’t install radars until the ship was in drydock, we had to check everything in advance. Preparation was again vital. Our engineers sailed for a few weeks beforehand checking every connection, signal, all the junction boxes, etc.

We also had to modify all the consoles, take measurements and fabricate new parts where necessary. We worked very closely with Holland America Line to modify the outer plates of the consoles and to create an entirely new design based on their requirements. All the components are where the Captains want them; there are now monitors on the bridge wing stations and consoles close to the Captain’s chair.

And because of a cruise ship’s strict safety requirements, this makes this project was significantly more complex than a bulker or container ship.

For example, there are many screens for the captain, officers and all the passenger displays. I believe there are at least 12 to 13 display units per vessel. The levels of redundancy are very high and way above the average vessel. Imtech Marine also created a new Briefing Station where the young cadets can be trained using wireless systems. It was great to see the young officers immediately take to the new systems and see their potential.

Imtech Marine is also thinking ahead and a team of 14 technical engineers was trained during the retrofit so they can be completely up to speed and ready to service the three cruise liners wherever they are sailing in the world.

And for Holland America Line the beauty of the system is that it has something tailored to its needs, which can be replicated across its fleet, giving the company an official company standard making it much easier when crews change.

This was an important project for us. We assembled an international team from the best suppliers and the best people. We had a very clear intent – we had eight days – and we had to have the best people in the industry.

This is the first time this has been done in this way. I am very proud of the team and never had any doubt we could do it.”

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