The former Hurtigruten ship, Lyngen, she was converted in 2008 into the 112-meter long, 16.5-meter wide expedition cruise ship National Geographic Explorer.
Specializing in voyages to the Arctic and Antarctic regions, the Explorer is making her first visit to the Bremerhaven facility. During her three-week stay she will undergo comprehensive technical work and class renewal for Det Norske Veritas (DNV).
"This contract is just right for us", said Rüdiger Pallentin, board member of Lloyd Werft. Before completion by May 15 in the yard’s Kaiserdock 1 is a long list of basic technical work consisting of extensive repairs to the thruster, rudder and shaft plant. For Project Manager Carl Ratjen and his team it is not only a question of the workload itself but also of the demanding time schedule set for the job, according to the shipyard. And on top of that, all the classification work on the ice-class expedition ship also has to be completed in the allotted time for DNV.
"The ship has to be back on her schedule within a relatively short time. We understand things like that and it is one of our special talents that we can complete complex jobs inside the shortest possible time", said Pallentin. He also sees the first visit of the Explorer as a dry run for further possible work, particularly since the shipping company has a second ship of similar design.
After the 2008 conversion, Lindblad put the small, but versatile 6,471-tonship, with just 81 cabins for 148 passengers and a crew of 84, under the Bahamas flag and into service mainly in the polar regions.
Lloyd Werft just completed on the AIDAbella, so the Explorer fits perfectly into the yard’s schedule, according to Pallentin.
About the shipyard, Pallentin commented: “We are looking to tomorrow and the day after tomorrow – to the construction, conversion and overhaul/repair of RoPax ferries and cruise ships, to newbuilding and completion of ships particularly in specialized sectors and in the growing offshore sector - which is also not such a new one for us. Over 40 years ago we converted the drill ship Danwood Ice and just a few years ago we converted Blue Giant and OIG Giant 11 for offshore service. Both were built here as dockships. They are highly complex specialised vessels which are now acquitting themselves very well on the market.
Pallentin also referred to the recent strategic changes in shipbuilding in the Kaiserhafen area. "For many years we have complained about shipyards working against each other. That is now history,” he said. “The amalgamation of former Lloyd Werft subsidiary Rickmers Lloyd and the shipbuilding division of Motorenwerke Bremerhaven into the new German Dry Docks GmbH & Co KG (GDD) means we are now marketing six dry or floating docks jointly and complementing one another on the international market. Even after just a few months, we are already seeing the synergies and advantages of this. All our employees are fully occupied. At Lloyd Werft we continue to specialize in conversion, newbuilding and offshore while GDD concentrates mainly on the repair of merchant and naval ships.”