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Uljanik Chooses Brodosplit as Partner to Stay Afloat

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Written by Maritime First

…Wärtsilä to Carry Out World’s 1st Hybrid Retrofit for Short Sea Vessel***

Croatia’s struggling shipbuilder Uljanik has elected its compatriot Brodosplit as a strategic partner to restructure its operations.

Brodosplit would now have an obligation to devise a feasible restructuring plan, in cooperation with Uljanik, the company said in a stock exchange filing.

The shipbuilder, which owns two shipyards in the northern Adriatic cities of Pula and Rijeka, added that the strategic partner would be able to enter the ownership structure through a capital boost.

Reuters cited Economy Minister Darko Horvat as saying that the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri was also working with Brodosplit on the offer. No further details on the matter were provided.

Croatian government last year provided HRK 2.5 billion (USD 382.4 million) on state guarantees to help Uljanik stay afloat.

The minister earlier said that Uljanik’s restructuring process would cost about EUR 800 million, with at least half of the amount expected to come from a strategic partner, Reuters informed.

An association of tax payers, Lipa, voiced its objections to the Croatian government’s intention to support the shipbuilder’s restructuring process with an additional amount of HRK 3 billion of taxpayer money, adding that the project comes with a number of risks.

The government has injected over HRK 30 billion over a period of 25 years only to revive and sell its state-owned shipyards, Brodosplit being one of those.

Lipa added that losses related to Uljanik would amount to at least HRK 4.2 billion, meaning that each job in Uljanik cost Croatia’s citizens HRK 1 million.

In the meantime, in December 2018, Finnish technology company Wärtsilä inked an agreement with Norwegian shipping company Hagland Shipping AS for a hybrid retrofit installation onboard Hagland Captain, a general cargo vessel. 

As informed, it will be the first project of its kind ever in short sea shipping applications.

The installation of a Wärtsilä battery hybrid propulsion solution is expected to significantly enhance the ship’s environmental performance by reducing its emissions, fuel consumption, and noise.

According to the company, included in the solution are a shore power connection to provide power for loading/unloading operations and for battery charging, a new reduction gear with power take-off (PTO) and power take-in (PTI) technology, and a Wärtsilä NOx Reducer (NOR).

It is estimated that the total reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions after the retrofit could be as much as 80 to 90 percent, while overall fuel cost savings are expected to be in the range of 5 to 10 percent.

In addition, the battery capacity will be sufficient to sail in and out of harbor on electric power for approximately 30 minutes, which will effectively reduce noise and pollution levels in the vicinity of the harbor.

The project is in response to a collaborative agreement between Hagland Shipping and NOAH AS, the Norwegian environment and resource company, whereby the shipping of materials to the island of Langøya in Norway is required to be via environmentally sound vessels. Non-profit NGO, Bellona, has also given its input to the project concept.

“We believe our mutual project will have a considerable impact in the market and will further the environmental drive towards sustainable solutions in short sea shipping,” Oivind Wendelboe Aanensen, COO, Hagland Shipping AS, commented.

“Environmental considerations are increasingly important for fleet owners around the world. The need for the latest smart marine technologies has been seen for some time already in deep sea shipping, and this project is evidence that the need also exists in short sea transportation,” Paul Kohle, Director, Sales & Sales Support, Asset Management Services, Wärtsilä Marine, said.

“Wärtsilä is responding to these developments with its Smart Marine Ecosystem approach, which through the use of high levels of digitalisation and connectivity, is creating greater efficiencies, increased safety, and more sustainable solutions,” Kohle added.

The company’s hybrid solutions are based on a ‘first-of-its-kind’ fully integrated hybrid power module which combines engines, an energy storage system using batteries, and power electronics optimized to work together through a newly developed energy management system (EMS).

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