C-Job doesn’t just work on new-build ship projects; a major part of the business also involves engineering tasks for existing vessels. This includes conversions, modifications, refits and retrofits. “We have completed projects across the entire range of maritime sectors,” states C-Job’s Head of Engineering Tim Vlaar. “From heavy lift vessels and ferries, to pipe-layers and offshore construction vessels.”

Scrubber Conversions & Modifications

 

“This type of work is not just about extending the lifespan of a ship, but also about maximising its efficiency and productivity,” Tim continues. “This can be necessary for a number of reasons. First of all, for project requirements, when a vessel needs certain modifications to take on a specific project. This can be related to market trends too, such as we are seeing in the offshore wind sector. Existing offshore wind installation vessels are now requiring substantial crane upgrades to be able to handle the increasing size and weight of wind turbine components.”

 

Rules & regulations

Changing regulations are another reason that ship-owners are compelled to carry out vessel modifications: “A number of years ago, for instance, offshore regulations regarding accommodation changed, which meant that the offshore fleet required accommodation upgrades. The implementation of Sulphur Emission Control Areas is another good example, which has resulted in many ship-owners deciding to invest in scrubber retrofits to comply with this new legislation. This work requires considerable adjustment to a ship’s layout as it involves piping and storage tanks and modifications to the ship’s funnel.”

 

When comparing the two types of engineering work – new build vs. conversions and modifications – it can be said that they are inherently different. “Working on an existing vessel can be quite unpredictable,” Tim notes. “You try to assess the situation on board as well as possible in order to bring the engineering to the office, so that the vessel can continue daily operations without interruption. And once the work at the yard has started, there is still a lot of potential to find something different than what you are expecting.” It is because of this unpredictability that it is necessary to adjust the work process in order to find order in what at first sight can seem to be quite a chaotic process. “Quite often you have to modify your plan and engineering on the spot, in close consultation with the client – especially with regard to production costs.”

 

Speeding up the process

To minimise the amount of unexpected surprises, C-Job begins its work on vessel modification projects by performing 3D scans of the vessel concerned. “As an engineer you want to be organised and not leave anything to chance. These 3D scans and Point Cloud software definitely speed up the process, however for some aspects you just have to wait until you are on site.”

 

You might expect Tim to say that working on vessel modifications is more challenging than new build projects. “Yes, it can be more of a challenge because of the fact that it is more unpredictable. However, working on an existing situation can actually reduce the number of choices available to an engineer, thereby making things more straightforward. What’s more, a new build project can be potentially much more challenging because there are so many options open.”

 

Time is of the essence

Bearing in mind C-Job’s experience with conversion and modification contracts, what factors make these projects a success? “When a vessel is in dry-dock, they are still costing the owner a lot of money per day,” he says. “So minimising downtime is probably the most important factor. We have to be flexible and, at times, be able to mobilise quickly.”

 

On the subject of mobilisation time, Tim points out that this varies from project to project. “In some cases the planning process can be quite extensive in order to make the docking time as efficient as possible. For these more complex projects we are capable of providing the concept, basic and detailed designs. For other projects – admittedly more straightforward ones – we can get an engineering package ready in a matter of weeks or even days.”

 

Knowledge for the future

Facilitating C-Job’s work process with conversions and modifications is the company’s attention to practical knowledge. “For an engineer working on an existing vessel, the value of this experience cannot be overestimated. Our hands-on knowledge comes from our services relating to Building Supervision and C-Job On-Site, where we get close to the production process. For us as engineers, we can use this practical knowledge to contribute to the success of future projects.”