Rising to the challenge with proactive marine maintenance

After working through the challenges of the past 24 months, Subsea Global Solutions is growing its capabilities to offer underwater maintenance and repair services around the world

Rising to the challenge with proactive marine maintenance
Subsea Global Solutions' in-house divers perform various work on cruise ships

Much has happened in the past 24 months around the world for all of us, with the pandemic leading to changes in priorities and working environments, as well as causing additional complications in planning and movement. Reflecting on this, Subsea Global Solutions (SGS) has sought to improve its capabilities further while expanding its footprint globally and investing into new resources. We could not be prouder of our employees’ resilience and team camaraderie as they have adapted and grown throughout, responding to client challenges both old and new, even breaking records in the process.  

SGS continues to fully support our valued clients across the cruise sector, thanks to our unique fleet management service offering that allows us to proactively manage the hulls and propellers of most of our clients’ vessels and constantly monitor their condition. We do not wait until a ship reports excessive fuel consumption or reduction in speed, but schedule our services a year in advance once the brand itineraries are decided on. While we had to make certain adjustments to accommodate the frequently changing fleet itineraries and sailing schedules in 2021, this strategy typically allows us to plan for our services in advance at suitable ports, saving our clients valuable time and significant money. 

We can operate in an industry-leading range of ports, made up of 14 homeports and one of the largest vetted partner networks worldwide. With over 180 in-house divers and working procedures that are approved by all the major international classification societies, SGS is well placed to support its clients’ underwater maintenance and project-based repair service needs across five continents at any time, all year round. 

To give an indication of scale throughout 2021, we have been able to assist our clients over 4,000 times, attending to over 2,000 ships globally – including over 400 cruise ships. We’ve completed class in-water surveys, propeller polishing, hull cleaning, and a wide range of complex underwater repairs. 

Throughout the pandemic, the mix of work undertaken has included preventative maintenance on bow thrusters, stabilizers, stern seals, rudders and azimuth propulsion units that would typically incur the costs, delays, and complications of dry docking. We have also exceeded the 100-tonne barrier in rudder removals, class repairs and refitting. Much of this would not be possible without our innovative teams, TransHab diving environment, proprietary wet welding methodologies, and advanced project management capabilities.  

As we look towards the future, how we help to reduce the environmental impact of our clients’ fleets is one of our key focus points. It is well known that a ship which is clean under the waterline can deliver considerable reductions in fuel consumption, saving both money and emissions – a double win. Our underwater cleaning and maintenance services, like a quick propeller polishing to a Rupert scale ‘A’ grade standard, creates up to a six per cent saving in fuel. While a full hull cleaning achieves even more, with fuel efficiency gains of between seven to 30 per cent. These services translate into a return on investment in one or two sailings. 

We’ve also expanded our operations in Europe and Africa as we welcomed SRN Group into SGS, and with the wider introduction of our CROV navigator cleaning concept improving our capability to deliver underwater solutions in more challenging environments where and when traditional diver services cannot operate. These systems substantially increase the location flexibility for clients, speed of operation, and enable us to operate in environmentally sensitive areas on the back of our port approvals. This is due to our bespoke filtration systems, which can capture the fouling debris being cleaned in real time and process it in compliance with environmental authorities’ concerns.  

We’re also working and investing to take advantage of the accelerating drive towards digitalisation. Our SGS online report tool provides unified reporting capability for bigger fleets, with our range of bespoke client formats providing a simpler way to manage their digital overview. Dashboards in our Partner Central System provide details around job planning, overall spend and projects in the pipeline, supporting fleet performance monitoring. It also establishes evidence of compliance with the International Maritime Organization's resolutions on bio-fouling management, ship energy efficiency management plans; and alignment with ship finance carbon intensity metrics like the Poseidon principles.

Harun Duzgoren is chief commercial officer of Subsea Global Solutions  

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. 

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By Harun Duzgoren
24 May 2022

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