On February 22, 2017, the 3700 DWAT GS Eco Freighter 3700, with yard number 169, was launched at the ‘GS Yard’ yard in Waterhuizen. In mid-June 2017, Scot Navigator left the harbour of Delfzijl in The Netherlands for her sea trials.
At the end of that same month, almost immediately after the completion of the sea trials, she was handed over to her new owners, Scotline.
After taking full delivery of the vessel, Scotline Marine Holdings sailed her straight to the Scotline Terminal Medway in Rochester, Kent, the United Kingdom, for her christening on July 7. The day consisted of a traditional christening ceremony performed by the ship’s godmother, Glenda, followed by a chance for the guests to inspect the vessel.
Intrada Ships Management Ltd (ISM) looks after the technical, commercial, and administrative management of the vessels operated by Scotline and is, as such, in charge of the exploitation of Scot Navigator.
Originally designed as a Sea-River Liner, Scot Navigator will only be going to sea for primarily two reasons – Firstly, the combination of cargo capacity (a load capacity of 3,700 tons in one box shaped hold) with the attractive fuel consumption of only 3,500 litres per day makes this ship attractive for coastal navigation and short sea transport. Being responsible for the transport of a large proportion of all softwood to the United Kingdom, Scotline and ISM intended the employment of Scot Navigator for roughly 70 per cent sawn timber, and occasional other cargo, such as wood pulp or project cargo.
This leads to the second reason – The sailing area of Scot Navigator is commercially restricted to the Baltic Sea and the waters of the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and the Baltic states, making optional navigation on inland waters superfluous.
Scotline’s expanding fleet
The management of Scotline and ISM had been looking for expansion opportunities for Scotline’s nine-ship fleet for some time, but previous explorations were always too costly. However, at GS Yard, the builder of the Sea-River Liner 3700, they did find an economically attractive business concept.
Contributing to the decision-making process, they had positive experiences with North Dutch shipbuilding when they built two ships at Tille Shipyards, in Kootstertille, about fifteen years ago. But, ultimately, GS Yard’s contract for the construction of Scot Navigator was directly due to the experiences with one of the ‘Lady A’ ships, of Dutch ship owner, Wijnne Barends. When Scotline chartered their Lady Ariane, in addition to their own fleet capacity, they were very impressed with the performance of that ship – especially the exceptionally favourable ratio of cargo capacity versus fuel economy.
The GS Eco Freighter 3700 is a fairly green ship, built for longevity, with the expectation of increasing emphasis on environmental requirements. Fundamentally, Scot Navigator’s design makes her the ideal acquisition for Scotline’s expanding fleet, with her being built to comply with all the latest legislation, including provisions for ballast water treatment. The vessel has an overall length of 88 metres, a beam of 13.39 metres, and a maximum sailing draught of 4.90 metres. This will give her a timber-cargo capacity of about 5,500 cubic metres.
Compared to previously built Sea-River Liners for Wijnne Barends, Scot Navigator has an enlarged superstructure with a fixed wheelhouse. Not having to sail inland waterways, the stipulation for having to lower the wheelhouse because of height limitation was cancelled. The fixed wheelhouse is slightly higher than the maximum height of the adjustable-height wheelhouse on the previous Sea River Liner 3700 vessels. This height increase of the superstructure also allowed for additional accommodation above main deck.
One further advantage of the raised wheelhouse position is the enhanced visibility from the bridge over the deck cargo and the ability of transporting additional timber cargo.
Moreover, Scot Navigator does not feature stern anchoring equipment, as this also became unnecessary when the desire for inland river sailing was abandoned. At 88 metres in length, the Eco Freighter 3700 series already featured a distinctive, energy-saving hull shape.
Wishing to comply with the latest – and future – legislation for Scot Navigator, GS Yard and their client went one step further in becoming more environmentally friendly. For example, the ship’s engine room is equipped with a heat recovery system. The cooling water of the engines is led through heat exchangers and used for heating the accommodation.
Similarly, LED–lighting was applied throughout the vessel to reduce the electrical power consumption. This is both good for the environment, and financially attractive. And, of course, the provision for an extensive ballast water treatment is also a good illustration.
The GS Yard 3700 DWAT Eco Freighter Class
The design of the River-Sea Liners was created in close collaboration with Conoship International, from Groningen, and Groot Ship Design, from Leek. Groot Ship Design was further responsible for the engineering package, including the stability booklets.
Scot Navigator has a double hull, featuring one large, box-shaped hold, with a capacity of 5,154 cubic metres. The hold has main dimensions of 62.30 x 10.80 x 7.73 metres, and features main deck hatch covers of a matching size, guaranteeing a maximum clear opening.
Two panels can be positioned vertically as (grain) bulkheads; hence the hold can be divided into versatile compartments to provide flexibility in cargo storage. The hold can be used for all general dry bulk or project cargo, but is particularly suitable for bales (wood pulp). When not in use, the bulkhead panels are stored vertically against the cargo hold’s aft wall.
When the hatch covers are closed, the main deck is flush between the forward bulkhead of the superstructure and forecastle deck. To accommodate the ventilation of the hold, provisions are made against the forward superstructure bulkhead, aft of the hold and at the far forward end against the forecastle deck.
The pontoon type hatch covers are fitted with ample lashing points and fittings to accommodate 16 TEU or 8 FEU containers. Being ten in total, the hatch covers can be stowed in two stacks aft and forward of the hold, just forward of the superstructure, and aft of the forecastle on deck. Handling of the hatch panels and grain bulkheads panels is done with a gantry crane on coaming rails. For storage, the hatch crane can also be positioned aft, against the superstructure. Hatch covers and gantry crane are supplied by Coops & Nieborg.
The hull form is characterised by the bulbous bow, with an almost vertical, slightly forward inclined, stem profile. While the bow is almost vertical and the waterline shape remains nearly identical between the light and loaded draught, the ship’s performance and behaviour are optimised for the complete range of loading conditions and draughts. To further enhance the stability and trim, a number of ballast tanks in the double hull, in the sides and the bottom, have been made available for use as passive anti-heel tanks.
By keeping the vessel below the 3,000 gross tonnage, the ship is subjected to lesser requirements for crew and navigation equipment, whilst at the same time reducing insurance and harbour fees. Keeping the load line length below 85 metres meant that a (freefall) lifeboat was not required, gaining more deck space.
Full steam ahead
The ship is provided with a single ProMarin propeller of 2,310 mm diameter, featuring four high-skew blades, in a nozzle. The shaftline, also ProMarin, is powered by a Caterpillar 3508C marine diesel engine of 746 kW, from Antwerp Diesel Repair. In between the shaft and the main engine is a Reintjes WAF 572L reduction gearbox with a ratio of 7.47 : 1. Scot Navigator’s main engine is relatively light for a ship of 3,700 tons deadweight, but the low power, however, is more than adequate, as a result of the improved design of the underwater hull shape.
Behind the ‘nozzled’ propeller is a Barke high-lift flap rudder – delivery Van der Velden – designed to improve the effective lift generated by the rudder, and hence improve the manoeuvrability of vessels, especially at lower and moderate speeds. The rudder is actuated by Van der Velden ram-type hydraulic steering gear. The Veth channel bow thruster, a Veth-Jet 4-K-1000V of 265kW at 1,800 rpm, further contributes to improved manoeuvrability.
The auxiliary equipment consists of one Scania 265kWe/60Hz generator set, which is used for the ship’s consumers as well as for powering the bow thruster motor, and a back-up power supply of 119kWe/50Hz provide by a Caterpillar 125kWe generator set. The emergency generator set is a Caterpillar of 52kWe. The generator sets are delivery Antwerp Diesel Repair and Veth respectively.
Provided by MiniMax, a fixed CO2 extinguishing system protects the engine room and cargo hold against fire. The CO2 cylinders are stored in the fore ship, whilst the system is activated from the S.O.S. locker outside. Furthermore, portable fire extinguishers are provided throughout the vessel.
The aft main deck, behind the superstructure, is home to the aft mooring equipment including capstan. Boat deck, on portside of the superstructure, accommodates the m.o.b./lifeboat and its dedicated crane, while the life rafts are to be found on both sides of the superstructure at this same level. The anchoring and forward mooring equipment is on the open forecastle deck. All mooring equipment is supplied by C-Nautical, from Sappemeer, The Netherlands.
Accommodating crew below the 3,000 gross
The superstructure is located aft, and facilitates a modern comfortable accommodation for eight to eleven persons. All cabins are air-conditioned, and equipped with private sanitary units.
The wheelhouse forward area contains the navigation console, with all the required navigation, communication and ship control facilities. Port side forward is home to the chart table, whilst the radio desk is to be found on starboard side aft. The bridge wings are inside, and each has a small control desk with relevant primary control facilities.
Below the wheelhouse is the boat deck, with no accommodation. One level down, the poop deck, encloses a spare twin-berth cabin, provision storage, mess room, galley, and a day head. This deck also houses the air-conditioning and fan room, as well as SOS locker, the emergency generator room, and several deck stores.
The lowest superstructure deck, at 4,900 milimetres above base – called accommodation deck – features a dayroom, bedroom and bathroom for the Master Mariner, and a cabin with bathroom for an officer. Both cabins have twin-berths. Alongside a further five single-berth crew cabins on that same level, we find a changing room, an engine room workshop/store, the main switchboard room, the steering gear room, and more storage spaces.
GS Yard BV
GS Yard is a Dutch shipyard, specialised in inland or coastal waterway tankers, bulk carriers and general cargo vessels. Although GS Yard only started its business in Waterhuizen (on the former van Diepen Shipyard site), in 2007, they are already successful. The company, which also repairs and refits vessels, expanded its business in recent years with the production of river cruise liners.
With Scot Navigator only a few months operational, Scotline have already requested a quotation for another two Eco Freighter 3700 vessels. What’s more, the yard is a participant for a number of high-potential projects, including eight innovative 110 metres sunrise tankers.
It appears GS Yard has an innovative – and successful – future ahead!
This article was previously published in Maritime Holland edition #5 – 2017.