Grandweld Shipyards completed the delivery of four GrandMax Crewboats for Saudi-based offshore oil & gas service provider, High Seas Marine Industrial Services Co. (HSM). This feat was accomplished in a span of 14 months, despite the numerous challenges of the pandemic. Post the official delivery ceremony that took place at Grandweld’s headquarters in Dubai Maritime City, Eng. Jamal Abki, General Manager of Grandweld Shipyards, and Eng. Ibrahim Al Saeed, Managing Director of High Seas Marine Industrial Services Co., spoke to Marasi News about their collaboration for this project.
What made you think that your strong relationship with High Seas could be a potential business partnership?
Jamal: Obviously, we had to go through a competitive tendering process, and of course, High Seas had many alternate options to build these vessels worldwide. The team from High Seas had been closely looking into what we do here at Grandweld, therefore, I would say that they selected Grandweld and we are glad that we could win their confidence and trust in us. We promised to deliver the best quality on-time, and I am sure that we have been able to do that.
What made you think that Grandweld is the right partner and yard to successfully complete this remarkable project on-time?
Ibrahim: We have obviously known Grandweld since a long time, but in the past, we never got the opportunity to partner for shipbuilding due to various unavoidable circumstances. The reason why we chose Grandweld to build these four boats is due to the fact that these boats come with advanced and complex specifications that are not currently known to the market. So, going ahead with the project meant that we would have to choose a reliable shipyard that can really design, build, and deliver the vessels as per the requirements. Because of the fact that we are working with a renowned company like Saudi Aramco, we knew for a fact that we had a great responsibility on our shoulders to deliver the best quality vessels to satisfy our client.
Moreover, it is very important to mention that even before we won the contract, Grandweld was with us as a partner. So, all the technical clarifications and documents required were provided by Grandweld even before it was confirmed that the project would be awarded to High Seas. Grandweld is one of the most well-known shipyards in the GCC, they deliver high-quality vessels, and off late,
have been offering a very good price for the kind of unmatched vessels they deliver.
The fact that you were in constant touch with Grandweld for the project even before winning the contract is quite unique, is this a new strategy that you have adopted to build stronger relations and deliver better results?
Jamal: I believe that it is very important to provide support to our clients even before the contract is won, as there could be a lot of technical details required to simply complete the tender itself. Ever since High Seas had their eyes on this contract, we worked closely with them to provide them assistance with whatever resources they could need from our end.
Would you like to highlight the details that make these boats so unique?
Jamal: When you speak of crew boats, you would usually think of speed, but the requirements for these boats were beyond just that. Usually during harsh weather conditions at sea, most crew boats are unable to operate, but these boats are designed to withstand those conditions and work well despite challenging environmental impacts. These boats are heavier than the usual boats, have a deeper draft, and are equipped with more power than the average crew boat.
Moreover, the client requested for the vessels to have reserved power and achieve its top speed at 85 per cent MCR instead of 100 per cent MCR. We have also added a 4th engine to not only ensure that the vessel travels up to the required speed, but to also secure extra reserve power so that the vessel can continue to perform for a longer period of time.
Would you like to throw some light on your future plans?
Ibrahim: The four new vessels that were built by Grandweld will be delivered to Aramco since there is already a long-term contract signed with Aramco for these boats. However, our plan is to capitalize on what we have done so far and explore what more we could do in terms of building vessels and supplying them to the market. Whether we choose to further explore our capabilities or not with the help of signed contracts, is something we will look into soon. We do have quite a lot of experience of working in Malaysia, however, due to the shortage of vessels in our fleet, we were unable to facilitate the growth of our business in foreign markets.
Although High Seas is open to the international market, our priority will always remain the GCC. Having said that, in case an opportunity arises to expand our business to foreign countries, we will not shy away from capitalizing on it.
What factors helped you conclude that that Grandweld would be a better choice to handle this project as compared to other international companies?
Ibrahim: Firstly, the distance between our office and the shipyard is a factor that stands out quite evidently. It was much easier to travel to Grandweld and manage the project than it would have been otherwise. Especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of us could not travel from one place to another, but luckily, we had our Port Manager, Port Engineer, and General Manager present in Grandweld on a full-time basis to manage the project efficiently. For months, our team here at Grandweld was in constant touch with our team in Saudi Arabia, and was at the shipbuilding site while the vessels were being manufactured.
In terms of dealing with technical issues, I don’t think there is much difference between Grandweld and a company based in Singapore, but the kind of flexibility and cooperation we have received from Grandweld is very unique and of great help as it facilitates the growth and progress of the project significantly. We as experts in this field understand that what Grandweld has managed to accomplish was not an easy job considering the challenges of the pandemic. Lockdowns, travel restrictions, and people availability, were some of the biggest challenges that could have made the completion of the project a very difficult task, but we are glad that at the end of the day, we were able to successfully complete the project on time, and with the best quality possible.
What are the challenges you faced during the manufacturing of these vessels?
Jamal: When you speak of carrying out an operation in the midst of a pandemic, it is obviously a very difficult task. However, what we managed to do really well is the fact that we were quick at understanding how much and how quickly our suppliers could deliver us what we needed from them considering the challenges they would have to face in the process. Based on this understanding, we were able to distribute the work and mitigate the risk of delaying our tasks.
So overall, it was a collective team effort that resulted in the success of this project. And of course, not to forget that at the time of execution of the project, we had interviewed a lot of people in India who were all set to come and join the force working on the project, but due to travel restrictions, they were forced to stay back. We employed local labor and trained them in order to ensure that they could work efficiently towards the success of the project.