Graphene first for Gibdock
Gibraltar is conveniently located at the crossroads of the Mediterranean and Atlantic shipping lanes.
“I think Gibdock, like other Western European shipyards has been enjoying a busy period of time,” says Richard Beards, MD of Gibdock. He told DryDock: “The level of enquiries has remained standard with dock occupancy not really going up or down. For year and a half now we’ve been pretty much 100% occupied, and before that we were at about 80%. So we’ve enjoyed a very busy period with a good blend of works, which is important.”
A lot of that is driven by Gibraltar’s location and the yard’s delivery reputation.
Environmental driven legislation that is either in place or coming into place, is on ship owner/managers’ minds and that is filtering into shipyard work. “Pretty much every ship we’ve put into drydock has had some form of a ballast water system installed, or being prepared for later installation. There are various ways to achieve this and Gibdock has done most of them.
“Some owners deliver their own piping for us to install and sometimes we are just preparing for it to be installed later,” explains Beards. “Sometimes we’re doing the whole system ourselves.”
Ballast water treatment system installations are something that the yard has seen a lot of and are continuing to do so. He explains: “Obviously, you would think that will come to an end relatively quickly next year.”
Gibdock has drydocked a variety of vessels recently, including LPG tankers. “The LPG tanker Kilburn from Komaya Shipping was a returning client to Gibraltar,” says Beards. “We also drydocked a vessel called Donald M James and were part of the team recoating it.” There were two other companies involved – Safina Group and Graphite Innovation and Technologies. It involved applying a graphene coating on top of an epoxy coating. SigmaShield 1200 was applied with XGIT Fuel graphene coating on top. “We also applied the propeller version on the prop,” says Beards.
Gibdock is involved in a variety of offshore works as well. “We have had a select amount of offshore clients, ferries and military work for which we’ve been undertaking general ship repair works involving pulling tailshafts out and doing general ship repair and conversion.”
“We are also in the final throes of building some land storage tanks for Gib Oil, which is part of World Fuel Services in Gibraltar. That’s a land-based project that we’ve been involved with. It is still a sizable contract for us, which shows we’re having growth outside of pure ship repair as well.”
He told DryDock: “Yachts is another area that we’re having some success in, but Russian sanctions do limit the amount of larger yachts. This is still definitely a market in which we’re active and want to grow in.”
When asked whether there were any larger ships and conversions in the pipeline, Beards replied: “There’s a couple ongoing at the moment. I think it’s good to have the level of wharf space that we have. We have a kilometre of deepwater wharf space within Gibdock’s premises, which is good because a lot of the larger jobs are not purely drydock dependent. There could well be a drydock element of the contract, but it’s the wall space and shipyard facilities for the rest of the contract that’s key. There are a couple of definite projects that we’re in the process of, but really wouldn’t like to give more details at the moment.”
Gibdock is running an apprenticeship scheme in conjunction with the Gibraltar government. “Both stakeholders are very proud to be involved and there are ongoing conversations to improve and expand both the facility and the intake of students,” explains Beards. “We’re excited that over the coming years we will see more apprentices coming through the yard. We do have job vacancies for the skilled tradesmen that can do the work. There will also soon be news on an all singing and dancing new apprenticeship scheme within the yard.”