The years 2018 and 2019 have been strategically momentous ones for EBH Namibia. From the previous position of having South African shareholding, the company has moved to become a wholly Namibian-owned company, with 100% of the shareholding jointly held by the EBH Consortium and the Namibian Ports Authority (Namport).
At this juncture, the company has also taken the opportunity to rebrand itself, and is changing its name to Namdock. The stated objective is to be the preferred marine repair partner on the West African coast, building on its new status with the underlying ethos of integrity and service excellence – embodied in the tagline ‘Our Strength is Local’.
The year began on a high note with a major repair project from Sapura Energy, a completely new addition to Namdock's customer base. "We were delighted to be able to announce the successful conclusion of the agreement with Sapura Energy, as it acknowledges EBHN's high levels of expertise and experience in servicing the maritime oil and gas industry," explains EBHN Acting CEO Heritha Nankole Muyoba.
The new project involved the reactivation of the SKD Jaya rig, a semi-submersible tender assisted drilling unit. This vessel had been cold-stacked offshore of Trinidad for the past few years. "Even though the rig had a skeleton crew on board maintaining it, in the tropical maritime environment, a certain amount of deterioration was inevitable," explains EBH Namibia Project Manager William Diamond, who was responsible for managing the SKD project.
A four-man EBHN team flew to Trinidad to carry out a rapid but thorough assessment of the scope of work needed on the SKD Jaya; after which the rig was transported to Walvis Bay on the heavy-lift vessel, the Hua Hai Long.
The complexity of reactivating a rig such as this is considerable as, at 94 m long, 36 m wide and more than 20 m high, it is a very large structure. An indication of its size are its main power-units consisting of six Caterpillar diesels, with further power supplied by two 2000 kVA generators; while the two cranes on its superstructure have 170 foot and 140 foot booms respectively.
The Namdock team were charged not only with restoring this vessel to a seaworthy condition; but also with ensuring that it was safe and fully compliant with maritime legislation. To do this required adhering to a scope of work that was highly complex and involved a range of disciplines including rigging, fabrication, electrical and mechanical work, carpentry and painting.
"Having high levels of expertise in all these different areas makes us highly competitive in the international ship repair arena," continues Diamond.
To complete the scope of work, the EBHN team essentially had to examine every square metre of the SKD Jaya; and then carry out maintenance, replacement or repair as required. Diamond explains that this involved some 17 different 'sub-projects' - such as ensuring that the accommodation and catering facilities were all in good order - as the rig could have as many as 160 workers on board at one time.
Other sections of the project that needed to be carried out included:
- The refurbishing and testing of drilling equipment
- Checking the operability of all lighting, signal and fire safety equipment
- The removal/rehabilitation of the anchors and anchor wires
- Removal and load testing of the deck crane cables
- Servicing and repairing the engines, generators and heat exchangers
- Calibrating the fog and weather monitoring systems
- Replacing all anodes
"The future safety of the SKD Jaya crew is critically important, so we oversaw the re-certification of the life boats, the servicing and load testing of all davits, and the replacement and drop-testing of the helideck perimeter netting," Diamond emphasises.
In addition to the above, further tasks included:
- The removal and lab testing of the blow-out preventer test pump
- Overhauling all valves on the rig
- Assisting RigNet technicians with all satellite antenna connections
- Supplying and reinstalling radio survey and satellite compass equipment
This project illustrates that Namdock has the ability to subcontract out specialist functions and see these through to completion. In addition, it also demonstrated the company’s excellent project management and problem-solving ability as, with a project of this scale, there are often unforeseen circumstances which need to be managed correctly.
For example, with the SKD Jaya project, it was necessary to offload a very large item of drilling equipment. The challenge was that the quayside was never designed to handle a piece of equipment this heavy. To avoid damage to the quayside and Sapura Energy's equipment, the item was offloaded directly onto two unsynchronised flatbed units, which then successfully transported it – with great care – to a destination where it could be repaired.
What pleases Nankole Muyoba particularly is that the entire project was completed without any incidents. "Considering the number of people, the hours worked, and the challenges we faced, this was a truly notable achievement," she says.
At the end of the project, in its Project Closure Report, client Sapura Energy stated that it was 'very impressed and happy with EBH Namibia's service'.
The company’s BBLT Project Manager Olivier Le Touzo explains that the 'sail-away' date for the completed project was 11 May 2019.
"The day before, we carried out our final inspection and found that everything was to our satisfaction. We were impressed, because EBHN needed to use the services of a number of subcontractors and it managed this aspect exceptionally well."
Furthermore, Sapura Energy had many requests for tools, consumables and local repair services, to which EBHN responded quickly and efficiently.
"All in all, I have to say it was a great job by EBH Namibia," says Le Touzo.
The SKD Jaya project is the latest in a series of high-level repair projects, which includes the replacement of the bulbous bow of the ship Huascar and the repair of the Angolan floating dock among other projects.
"The company's long history of unrivalled experience and expertise, as well as our streamlined processes and procedures, means we are ideally placed to provide the highest standard of service in line with the clients’ requirements," asserts Nankole Muyoba.
"We anticipate that this rig project is the first of a number that will provide Namdock, as well as our relevant stakeholders – and the Walvis Bay community – with strong sustainable revenue into the future," she concludes.