November 14 -
The ice-class ARC7 28,500 dwt ships, which are being built at GSI's LongXue Shipyard in Guangzhou, China, will be PC-3 module carriers, capable of navigating year round above the Arctic Circle, and designed for the transportation of ultra-large and heavy modular cargoes to major onshore LNG projects, and to large-scale offshore developments.
The sterns of each ship will be completely flush and open, with an open space measuring 8,170 sq m.
These two vessels will go into service immediately upon delivery in January 2016 and HLPFI believes that they will be providing module transport services for cargoes destined for Russia's huge Yamal LNG project, which is designed and commissioned by a consortium consisting of Technip, JGC Corporation and Chiyoda Engineering.
At 43 m in width the two new ships will be the widest polar ice-class vessels with ice-breaking capabilities and will be able to transport modules weighing up to 20,000 tonnes.
ZPMC-RED BOX Energy Services was incorporated in Hong Kong earlier this year as a limited liability company and is a partnership of Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry Co (ZPMC), Zhenhua Logistics Group (ZHLG) and RED BOX Founders HK Limited (RBF HK Ltd).
The individuals involved in the latter are a group of marine heavy transport professionals who have worked previously at Fairstar Heavy Transport, Dockwise and Mammoet.
They have extensive experience in both onshore and offshore energy logistics projects, including Gorgon LNG, Ichthys LNG, Tombua Landana and Golden Eagle.
One of them is the redoubtable Philip Adkins, ex-ceo of Fairstar prior to its acquisition by Dockwise, who was responsible for the construction of several notable semi-submersible vessels including the Fjord, Fjell, Forte and Finesse, as well as Fathom, which has been renamed the White Marlin.
When contacted by HLPFI, Adkins was tight-lipped on the overall plans for ZPMC-RED BOX Energy Services but did advise that his new company would: "focus on high-value niche markets in the offshore and onshore energy services industry where high standards require capital, technical skill, operational capabilities, client focus, dedication to safety and environmental stewardship.
"That is something we introduced to this industry with the creation of Fairstar and you could say I have some unfinished business in this sector."
Suggesting that the two new ships represented the start, not the conclusion of ZPMC-RED BOX Energy Services' newbuilding plans Adkins added that "there is no coincidence in the choice of RED BOX within the new company name, since that was the label given to the ground-breaking operational strategy that was developed and implemented by Fairstar" prior to the aggressive and hotly-contested takeover by its rival, Dockwise.
Peace of a kind did eventually break out in that takeover saga, after many weeks of increasingly acerbic announcements from both sides, whilst the deal struck saw Adkins step down as ceo on July 16, 2012, saddled with a two-year non-compete clause.
At the time, HLPFI was left wondering whether this would be the last that the heavy lift shipping sector had heard from someone who has previously described himself as a self-confessed shipping outsider, who had a minefield to navigate when he took over at the helm of Fairstar.
We expressed a wish that we hadn't heard the last from the straight-talking Adkins and it is always a pleasant surprise when a wish is granted, although many will be wondering what Dockwise, and others involved in marine heavy transport, is making of the news.