There is much to be said for aligning a business close to its customer base. This of course has obvious benefits such as reduced transportation costs and improved communication which itself can lead to a better understanding of customer needs. For Metalships and Docks S.A.U., being located in the Port of Vigo offers the perfect platform to serve the vast fleet of ships that dock in port.
The Port of Vigo, located in the Galicia region of north-west Spain, is the biggest fishing port in the world and one of the busiest in transportation. In 2006, it was home to thirty quays and covered 5,495,228 square metres. For this reason, Vigo has provided the perfect base for Metalships since the company was formed in the 1980s.
Metalships & Docks S.A.U provides ship repair and conversion services but is also involved in the building of ships and other sea-faring vessels. The company formerly known as ASCON, was founded in 1986 and is also a former subsidiary of Rodman-Polyships, S.A.
Vigo’s shipbuilding tradition began in earnest in the early Twentieth century, with the appearance of the first small steam fishing boats. By the 1960s new freezer trawlers were under development which would revolutionize the fishing industry, further heightening the international importance of Vigo and increasing the need for secondary ship servicing businesses.
Metalships and Docks have now been established for almost quarter of a century and have completed over a thousand jobs for ship owners from around the world. The vessels themselves have been of all shapes and sizes, including: offshore, reefers, container vessels, tankers, bulkers, LPG vessels, fishing vessels, special ships, ferries and yachts.
Each job has its own idiosyncrasies and varies from the renewal of propulsion packages, the installation of new main and auxiliary engines, through to machinery work, the repair of steam boilers, the lengthening of vessels, construction of new accommodation blocks or the building of fish processing plants.
Aside from its location, much of the yard’s success is down to its terrific facilities. Metalships operates on land covering no less than 80,000 square metres, with 21,000 square metres of roofed area dedicated to offices, warehousing and workshops.
The factory is equipped with two floating docks covering 127.6 metres and 162 metres in length, capable of lifting 5,000 and 8,000 tons respectively, which are able to dry dock vessels up to 160 metres long.
A slipway covered by telescopic sheds, portal cranes and 740 metres of wharves with up to 9 metres draft, complete the facilities making them ideal to efficiently carry out shipbuilding, ship repairs and conversions on medium sized vessels. These are complemented by four more portal tower cranes of 25 tons and two jib cranes of 5 tons and the shipyard’s facilities are completed with a Kamag transporter of 250 ton capacity.
It is from here that a variety of high quality tasks take place, the company having attained certificates for quality, environmental and occupational risk prevention based through ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001:2004 and OSHAS 18001:1999 standards.
At present Metalships employs (both directly and indirectly) roughly one thousand workers with skills covering the whole gamut of disciplines required to keep a fleet at sea: from paint and steel work, to piping, machinery, electricity, automation, carpentry, insulation, hydraulic and pneumatic work. Such labour skills are dovetailed with experienced project management and excellent logistics to guarantee on-time delivery of services.
Most of the vessels in the yard are offshore vessels (the specialty of Metalships), fishing vessels and ferries.
The inclusion of ferries is a relatively recent development, the business having won a contract to supply a series of five big “construction umbilical vessels” for Dutch/Norwegian interests, two of them already delivered, two others in advanced building condition and one in the engineering drawer.
In 2007 it was announced that Oceanteam Power & Umbilical AS had ordered another EUR 40 million cable laying ship from Metalship and Docks. The North Ocean 105 is being built in Vigo for delivery in early 2011 and will be used on large cable projects in association with Swiss group ABB. The 137 metre vessel will have 2,400 square metres of free deck space for construction work and accommodation for up to 120 people. It was the fifth to be ordered from the Spanish yard as Oceanteam builds up its fleet for work in Europe, West Africa and Latin America.
Of all the repairs carried out during the last years, perhaps the flagship project has been the renewal of the fore part of the tuna vessel Mar De Sergio, belonging to the Spanish Company Albacoral. The vessel was streamlined, which required the scrapping and later the mounting of the new fore part (the bulb) in one block of 32 tons.
Additionally the company undertook painting and surface treatment to the hull and decks, the renewal of zinc anodes, the dismounting (for inspection) of the tail-shaft, an overhaul of the stern tube seals, the dismounting (again for inspection) of the rudder and propeller, the polishing and painting of the bow thrusters propellers, the overhauling of a variety of different valves, the cleaning and painting of sea chests and two freshwater tanks and the renewal of different shell plates.
With such versatility and expertise, it is little wonder that Metalships and Docks has become a renowned by-word for marine excellence. This point was further embellished in September 2009 with the announcement that Oceanteam ASA has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with a leading company in the offshore oil and gas industry, for the long term charter and 50/50 joint (beneficial) ownership in the CSV North Ocean 102 as well as a long term charter and 50/50 joint (beneficial) ownership in Oceanteam’s option vessel CSV North Ocean 105, two further vessels that will be built at the Vigo ship yard.
So, with work on-going for the foreseeable future and the continual demands of the world’s busiest port, Metalships looks ship shape for a bright future.