MUSCAT, NOV 4 – State-owned Oman Drydock Company (ODC), which owns and operates a major ship-repair yard at Duqm, has unveiled plans for the establishment of a mobile ship repair unit that can be despatched to the aid of vessels in distress or in need of non-drydocking standard repairs anywhere in and around the Sultanate. The so-called ‘Port Repair & On-Voyage Services’ Unit will be equipped to respond to requests for technical assistance at any of Oman’s commercial ports at Suhar, Muscat and Salalah, or even undertake repairs if the vessel is at anchorage, or traversing waters in and around the Sultanate, a top official said.
“If the ship cannot come to the shipyard, the shipyard is coming to the ship — wherever required,” ODC’s Chief Executive Officer Stephan Aumann (pictured) said. “In the first stage, we will work with so-called flying squads based in Duqm, that are prepared and ready to go to the ports in Oman, either Salalah, Suhar or Muscat,” he added in an interview featured in Duqm Economist, the quarterly newsletter of the Special Economic Zone Authority in Duqm (SEZAD).
Supporting the initiative, said the CEO, are Oman Global Logistics Group (ASYAD), the holding company of government-owned port, transport and logistics interests, as well as Oman Shipping Company and the ports of Salalah and Suhar.
The move comes against a backdrop of recent initiatives launched by the dry-dock — part of ASYAD Group — to bolster its ship repair and maintenance capabilities, as well as attract new vessel types to the yard.
Seeking to lend it greater flexibility in the handling to small vessels of up to Panamax-size capacity, ODC is weighing plans to acquire a floating deck as well as ramp up its crane-lifting capabilities, said Aumann in the interview. “The investment in a floating dock is deemed a necessity for the expansion of the company’s works and services. Moreover the market is demanding high lifting capacities, especially if we want to enter the ship new-building and the offshore conversion markets. In those markets, a shipyard requires crane lifting capacities from 300 to easily 700 tonnes. Our actual maximum crane lifting capacity is 100 tonnes which is limiting our ability to receive high value projects,” he said.
Furthermore, ODC is looking to leverage its multifaceted capabilities to offer industrial engineering and fabrication services to the local and regional engineering construction sector.
For example, it is eyeing opportunities to supply the nearby Duqm Refinery project — a mega $7 billion investment — with steel frames and structures.
Also in the works, the CEO said, is a new ‘Research & Development’ department that will help ODC cater to the customised requirements of clients. Examples of such bespoke solutions involve, among others, the transformation of ships into multi-purpose vessels, manufacture of steel structures, repairs of naval vessels, cruise ships and super-yachts, and the provision of engineering, repair and conversion services to the Oil & Gas industry.
“We are looking forward to rendering various services to make the dry-dock a major multi-purpose hub to receive all types of vessels and equipment for a wide range of specialised services to its esteemed clients in the maritime industry, that range goes from ship repair and conversion via offshore rigs and Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) maintenance and conversions to the field of industrial engineering and construction,” Aumann added.