AWARDS 2021 | Best Survey Vessel – JB-01 – Marine Consultancy Singapore
These rugged, stable shallow-draught survey vessels for the Bangladesh Navy appear perfect for their role. They will operate in the shallow and constantly changing coastal and riverine waters of that fast developing South Asian nation.
They are comparatively simple aluminium vessels that are, for their size, very well equipped with the latest electronic survey equipment. That should certainly help with the charting of the shifting sands and mud of the massive delta and Bay of Bengal areas of Bangladesh.
“These boats were built to the most demanding requirements, despite their highly limiting displacements,” Marine Consultancy Singapore (MCS) told Baird Maritime. “They are equipped with a number of survey-related equipment including multi-beam and single-beam echosounders, A-frames, and winches for conducting surveys in waters up to 30 metres depth.”
For the survey boats, MCS selected an existing hull form. Although the hull form was a proven one, the design team encountered challenges in incorporating various types of machinery, equipment, and fittings as per the specifications of multiple parties. Such an array of features would have had an adverse impact on the boats’ performance, particularly their speed, due to weight restrictions. Fortunately, the design team was able to overcome this challenge and the resulting impact on performance was only minimal.
“Another challenge we face in a lot of situations is in matching the expectations of owners in relation to the number of equipment they want on boats while satisfying their requirements for speed,” MCS added. “Especially in developing markets, where we operate, we often find it difficult to meet strict guidelines and conditions set forth by our clients..
The designer said this is especially true for naval customers who tend to purchase heavy equipment at lower prices. Balancing the objectives thus requires careful thought on several design elements and even an education process involving the shipyard. Also in such countries, clients are price-sensitive, and the long-term benefits of good design through higher efficiency and better performance are often lost in favour of lower upfront costs of construction and equipment.
As with other design firms worldwide, MCS was not spared from the negative impact brought about last year as the Covid-19 pandemic continued.
“We faced challenges due to the travel restrictions that were imposed,” the company told Baird Maritime. “Even though we are primarily suppliers of design and marine equipment, we get very involved with our clients through project management and problem solving during the construction process. This helps us in not only understanding the priorities of the client, but also in achieving the best outcomes that meet overall objectives. This requires us to spend time with the shipyards, owners, and suppliers. Unfortunately, this has not been possible in the last two years due to the various restrictions, and this has caused delays in projects.”
As to which advancements are becoming increasingly important in the marine survey sector, MCS mentioned autonomous vessels and commercialisation of hybrid craft as among the more relevant ones. With regards to the wider workboat industry in Singapore, the tendency is slowly gravitating towards the export market.
“Singapore is one of the foremost trade hubs where almost all major suppliers in the world have a presence,” the company said. “The government is extremely encouraging towards shipping and shipbuilding. While the shipbuilding industry in Singapore tends to focus on larger builds, suppliers of marine equipment in Singapore are extremely keen to promote global brands of equipment for both small and large vessels.”
In that regard, therefore, Singapore will continue to serve the South East Asia and South Asia region as an exporter of advanced marine equipment.