Last year I had the unique opportunity to tour Sembawang Shipyard on the northern coast of Singapore.
The last time I had been there was in 2001 and it was my first point of entry into Singapore while my ship, USS Paul F. Foster (DD 964), spent a few days having work done mid-deployment.
It was exciting to be back to see, with a bit more perspective on the industry, all the truly interesting work that is ongoing at this historic yard.
First and foremost, Sembawang shipyard is a capable repair yard for vessels of all shapes and sizes. This could include a complete refit, a drydocking for hull cleaning, painting or damage survey, a FPSO conversion, a ballast water treatment system install, life extension, class survey, or any number of other tasks that cannot be done at sea by the ship’s crew.
Built in the 1930s when Singapore was still under British control, Sembawang directly supported the Royal Navy and originally featured the King George VI graving dock which still operates with its original crane (pictured below). The graving dock measures 303 meters by 39.6 meters by 13.1 meters-deep.
In 1975 however, an extra graving dock was brought into service which is large enough to handle vessels up to 400,000 tons deadweight, or in the case below, a modern LNG carrier.
Above and below, hydraulic arms protrude from the sides of the graving dock to support hull cleaning and painting operations.
Strategically located with deep water access in the Strait of Malacca, Sembawang is one of the most popular repair facilities for operators of LNG carriers. During my visit, there were four such vessels at the yard, out of a total of 17 that were docked.
In the past, Sembawang avoided building new ships for one primary reason however… steel.
Former company Chairman, Lee Ek Tieng remarks in an interview published in the book Of Hearts & Minds – The Story of Sembawang Shipyard, “[in the 1980s] the Japanese and Korean shipbuilders were very big, and they had steel. Shipbuilding needs steel. You’ve got to buy steel from them. They can squeeze you out!”
For specialized new building, such as the 2012-built Seven Borealis, Sembawang makes the exception because in cases of these types of vessels, the main value of the ship does not lie in the steel of the vessel, but rather the engineering and expertise required to integrate the machinery and equipment.
“The risk for timely delivery, high quality, engineering content, equipment integration and safety requirements form a part of an Owner’s decision for choosing the right yard to build such vessels than just the steel price,” says Sembawang.
Below, a LNG carrier sits in Sembawang’s President floating drydock getting its hull cleaned.
Below, a semi-submersible drilling rig is moored next to the KFD floating dry dock.
Above, workers inspect a controllable pitch propeller system.
Sembawang’s machine shops and many of the yards other facilities were upgraded in the 1970s and 80s in a $100 million upgrade project. Much of the equipment is still in use and going strong nearly 40 years later.
In Sembawang’s Premier graving dock, barnacles are being blasted off the hull of a LNG carrier.
Above, drilling risers sit ready for overhaul at Hull Shop No. 9.
American shipping companies operating the U.S.-flag Great Lakes fleet will invest nearly $87 million at shipyards and facilities across the region this year, according to new figures released by the...
By Vera Eckert (Reuters) – Container shipping firm Hapag-Lloyd said surging demand for bulky goods like exercise equipment from locked-down consumers may flatten out in the second or early third quarter,...
By Brendan Murray and Kyunghee Park (Bloomberg) — Some of the world’s largest container-shipping lines are ordering new vessels amid surging demand for ocean-cargo services, giving a long-awaited boost to the...
February 17, 2021
Total Views: 2435
Sign Up Now for gCaptain Daily
Just enter your email and get hot news every morning
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.