Wednesday, 23 May 2012


Click on the image for more photos

In full fair Navalia 2012, Vigo, 3kmi naval and Navaltecno offered  a selection of photographs of opening.

We invite you to follow the news in the coming days.

Sunday, 16 October 2011


The latest generation oceanographic research vessel, "Ramón Margalef", built by Armon Shipyards, for the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), will assist in its first mission to the evaluation of the seismic crisis of the island of El Hierro (Canary Islands).

 The "Ramon Margalef", equipped with an unmanned underwater vehicle "Liropus 2000", will record the seabed up to 2000 m depth to observe the underwater eruption of El Hierro. The probe of the "Ramon Margalef" performs a three-dimensional topography of the seabed allowing water to assess the differential to see if there are gas vents from the seafloor. All this with the mission for the study of a phenomenon unknown and unpredictable and subject to scientific evaluation will allow taking all  necessary protection measures.

This vessel built by Armon, the most modern of the 22 units of this kind in the world, is one of the most important floating laboratories in Europe and for its advanced technology, will be crucial in assessing the crisis in El Hierro, according to the IEO team leader, Jose Ignacio Diaz.

The high functionality of this vessel will allow to arriving in a few days from Vigo to the crisis area . With its 12 crew members and 11 researchers appointed by the Ministry of Science, the "Ramon Margalef" will join to the other vessels that were moved to the area, to monitor the seismic changes in that environment.
The "Ramon Margalef" will perform tests on the fly to obtain images of what is happening in the ocean. According to sources from Armon, the "Ramon Margalef" of 46 m in length, is characterized by:

- High-tech propellers designed by VICUSdt specific to achieve minimum levels of noise and avoid affecting the marine ecosystem.

- Propulsion system consisting of two engines of 900 kW each, supplied by INDAR / Ingeteam.
- Baliño supplied the fore and aft side thrusters (4 blades).

- Guascor has manufactured the five generator sets of the vessel's power plant.
- The scientific area has four laboratories (multipurpose, damp, noise-control and biology). Just as a computer centre, lifting keel, fishing area and electronics workshop.

- Ibercisa has supplied five trawl winches and a double net drum.

- Ferri provides the main crane, gantries and a telescopic arm.
- Other suppliers are: Guerra, Emenasa, Kongsberg, Tecnisa, Regenasa, E. Rias and Motec.

All inspections were certified by Bureau Veritas and by the owner's site surveyors, BPMS.

Jose Ignacio Diaz said that the vessels that were moved to the area allow a high prospective and symbiosis for the seismic monitoring of the evolution of El Hierro.

We invite you to see the pictures (coming soon video) in

Monday, 12 September 2011


As a consequence of my recent article “INTELIGENCE + TECHNOLOGY IN THE MODERNIZATION AND AUTOMATION OF THE NEW AND EXISTING SHIPYARDS”, I have received a lot of responses and requests about MARTEC.

Many of them are surprised at the fact that it does exist a Spanish Company with long experience in automating Shipyards. For that reason, I have decided to interview MARTEC in order to provide some clarification for many Shipyard´s Directors and production Engineers, who still have not planned to invest in improving production/productivity or do not know exactly how to deal with, which nowadays is absolutely vital to maintain any option of competitiveness.

Pedro Otazua Mr. Galdos, when did you start with Shipyards Automation?
Miguel Galdos.- We have been in this business since 1991, when we visited the Shipyard Astilleros Españoles de Sestao (La Naval) (Bilbao-Spain) and they proposed us to study a cutting and preparation line of profiles with the aim of increasing their production capacity.
By that time, the Shipyard La Naval had a robotized oxigas cutting line, which was the first one in Spain. This operation was manually made in all shipyards. I do remember it took us a long time to design a new concept and to create a specific software, capable to monitor automatic operating of the line. We achieved a spectacular result since the production capacity of the old line was quadruplicated

P.O.- I suppose that the SY was satisfied. After that, did they ask you for any other projects?
M.G.- Yes, indeed. Since then, they took a great confidence in us and we were appointed to execute the majority of their investments made up to the end of decade. We developed many projects for different production lines that afterwards were executed: equipment for mini-panels fabrication, flat and curved sections with specific transport systems, and equipment for pipe production workshop etc. etc

P.O.- Was that confidence the only factor taken into account by the SY to place the different orders? Because you didn’t have any previous experience with these systems, did you?.
M.G.- I think we made a good impression because a robotized cutting line and the development of its correspondent software, was something as science fiction at that time in Spain. I suppose they thought that we would be able to get quite similar results in other fabrication processes. I also think they considered to be very positive the fact of proximity, providing a fast service.
Vitoria is less than one hour from the SY by road. On top of that, we speak the same language. It should be beard in account that they were used to asking quotations from America, Germany … This means that post sale service gets always very problematic and expensive, unless you have a good qualified own maintenance service. Honestly, I believe that we were a discovery for them and, on the other hand, it was a good help for us to enter into a new business opportunity. In case that our equipment are installed out of Spain, we have already decided to set up a post sale service there.
P.O. Before now, did you have any experience in the field of automation?
M.G.- Yes, since 1972, my whole professional life has been connected with automation. It is a long history during which I have seen the advantages of production in line, electronic development, the birth of the Numeric Control, the Robotic implantation and technical computing. Always with the same target: to improve productivity.

P.O.- Aren´t you surprised about the low rate of automation in our SYs ?
M.G.- Yes I am, and it is surprising for someone who is so familiar with it, seeing throughout all these years the rate of automation reached by other sectors like automotion, electronic, electrodomestic and others. Certainly, they are not comparable sectors as some of them are for massive production of the same products and this doesn’t occur in the naval sector. However, there are many things that can be done and haven’t been done yet.

P.O. How do you think shipyards should undertake the improvement of production?
M.G.- Assuming that the SY has already come to the conclusion that this has to be done, the first thing to do is to draw up a Director Plan which clearly defines the objectives to be reached. This Director Plan might be done by the SY or with assistance of some expert advisors.

P.O.- Can MARTEC assist SY in elaborating such Director Plan?
M.G.- Yes, of course.

P.O.- To my understanding, the automation equipment is rather expensive. Is it possible to draw a plan in terms that require step by step investment?
M.G.-   Well, the equipment has a high price because it is big and built in high tech technology in many cases and, of course, the investment can be intelligently done step by step, introducing at first place that equipment providing the SY with higher profitability. It should be emphasized that during the first phase with only ordering/arranging streams, storing, internal mobilisations, huge results can be reached with relatively reduced investments. Actually, at the end of the automation process is where higher investments are required to obtain a longer-term return of investment (ROI).

P.O.- Is the production improvement the only reason for automating the SY?
M.G.- It is generally the first reason but not the only one. In a SY, big and heavy loads are handled and a lot of welding and cutting work is carried out. To handle big and heavy loads represents risk and slow work if you can’t make use of proper systems for transporting and mobilisation. With regards to the welding job, when executed manually, this is a very hard job, submitted to breathing dangerous gases, to the action of ultra violet rays, heat and to non-recommendable positions of the welder. The welder needs more rest times during the job and his efficiency will be very low in comparison with a machine. This kind of job, because of its danger, is one of the most demanding in automation as in other industrial sectors.
P.O.- And, what can you tell me about quality?
M.G.- Effectively, quality is enormously improved. The assembly work made in the slip way is very unpleasant and normally unpredictable. For that reason, we will try to minimize those problems reducing the job in the workshop but with the maximum possible precision. The suitable dimensional accuracy can only be achieved by using modern machines capable to obtain it. I would also like to emphazise that automatized welding is much more reliable than when manually executed. Although we have qualified and homologated welders, we should be conscious that welding represents an unpleasant job and the adverse emotions are also a handicap for a worker, all which affects to the state of his mind, making this job much more irregular than a well programed and optimized machine.

P.O.- You have mentioned “ in line production “. Can you explain me what is the real meaning and what are its advantages? 
M.G.- The production in line means the change from the artisanal production to industrialized production and it came from the hand of automotive industry. Who doesn’t know or has never seen any visual reports of the current automotive production line?. Actually the question is to trace the target of how many units of production should be constructed per unit of time: hour, day, week etc. Starting with this data, the working construction of the production unit (car, naval section) should be divided into parts of whose time of execution (cycle time) should be equivalent and coincident with the target. For example, if we want to produce one section per day, it is necessary to divide the construction of the section in phases whose construction or fabrication can be executed in one day. Then the system is like a chain in cyclical motion, where the phases are produced simultaneously and when the cycle or phase time comes to an end, all the operations will be completed. That means that in each cycle, the section comes out from the last phase, ready to be sent to the slipway for assembly, every day in this case.

P.O.- Yes, this can be done by building the section over fix places and multiplying the number of them as currently or usually is done, isn´t it?
M.G.- Yes, sure, but this is the good question. When producing in artisanal way, by means of multiple fix places, every thing is mixed up: different materials are over in the air moved by different cranes from one place to another. Cranes are slow, they require a qualified crane operator and they can make only one delivery to each place at the same time, and as a consequence, other places have to wait in many cases. It happens the same with other resources. Each section, during construction, should have all human and material resources at its disposal. The manual welding, cutting, handling, are all mixed up, losing a great deal of effectiveness. The worst thing is that this kind of construction can’t be automatized and practically doesn’t admit any improvement. On the contrary, the “production in line” makes use of not only highly qualified workers, but also machines adapted for each phase and susceptible of continuous improvement, by means of a constant finding of the “bottle neck” to eliminate it in many cases through a partial or a total automation. The higher specialization of the operation together with its partial or total automation, contributes to a greatly improved productivity and quality. We are not talking about improving a 15 or 20%. We are talking about multiplying by 2 or 3. 

P.O.- You have indirectly referred to the safety. Can you explain more clearly how can safety be improved by the automation?
As I said before, handling heavy and big loads by cranes implies important risks. Clear and strict standards and protocols regulate the handling of cranes and even though, it is not always possible to avoid incidents or casualties which in most cases are fatal accidents. The main rule, whenever possible, is that all loads should be moved at floor level by means of specialized equipment as the hydraulic carriages that we use to transport the sections from one phase to another in the in-line production. The order which resuls from the in-line production, together with an in-put out-put of materials safe and well defined, -without crossing and mantaining the alleyways free of materials- are essential. The replacement of welders by automatic machines will prevent them from eyes and joint injures. The better grade of skills and knowledge of the qualified staff in their specialized working field, the safer will get their environment.

P.O.- Mr Galdos, would you like to add anything else?
M.G.- Yes, I would like to set clearly, that the human being is intelligent and capable when using his brain, but physically we are very fragile. Let us make use of our intelligence and let us use machines to execute heavy, monotone and/or dangerous works as long as the state of the art allows it. There shouldn’t be used persons to execute jobs that can be done by machines. Humans can’t compete with them, but their intelligence is greater, and by using this intellingence is how the human being has highly developed and progressed.

P.O.- I am aware that many aspects about this issue have been left behind. May I contact you for any further interviews?
 M.G.- Yes definitely. I would be very happy.

Finally, I want to thank you for the interview and allow me to facilitate your e-mail (, in case anyone were interested in contacting directly with you.

Note: For the management of projects in other countries (anywhere in the world) we are promoting a network of after sales next to the facility.

Friday, 26 August 2011


ANGEL RUIZ (Head of Zone-Finanzauto Barloworld, Caterpillar dealer for Spain)

We are with Angel Ruiz Gijón. An excellent technician and very knowledgeable about systems and naval engine. He has a long experience in the sector, and he is working for Caterpillar dealer since 1999. Your opinion may be very relevant to this blog.

C. Marqués- How did your life? Can you make a brief summary of your experience?
Ángel Ruiz Méndez- I've been in the naval world since 1999, after finishing my studies and after a brief stint in the field of electrical distribution and education. Since childhood I have been attached to both the ships and the engines because my father worked as commissioning engineer of Caterpillar engines during 40 years, and I thanks to him the easy way I couldt  find.

C.M.- We are in the "Veranes" and "Veriña", two of the last tugs of ARMON. By the way, both of them have the IMO II technology in engines. Were the first to incorporate these new engines in tugboats and ships built in Spain?
A.R.- Exactly. As you know, IMO II certification is required for ships with keel laying after January 1 this year 2011, but, of course in collaboration with ARMON SHIPYARDS, and REMOLQUES GIJONESES (REGISA)  we achieved that last October the IMO II a reality in Spain in the "Veranes" tug and in April this year with "Veriña" tug.

C.M.- From your point of view and with ease, what does technology (normative) from previous IMO II requirements?
A.R.- First of all a very significant reduction in NOx emission levels, engine much "cleaner" and careful with the environment.

C.M.- The IMO II includes significant and progressive limits to reduce emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (discussed first). Also includes important revisions to the NOx Technical Code, which contains procedures for testing and certification of marine engines that comply with the regulations. How to deal with this legislation and testing?
A.R.- CATERPILLAR engineers have been working in several technical solutions to implement in the engines in order to optimize emissions and fuel consumption. The MARPOL Annex VI in 1997 addressed the issue of emissions and in our R & D departments were working from that day with the goal, not very far, for get the zero-emission engines.

In MAK engines is carried out basically a variation of Miller cycle that involves a change in the moment of opening the intake valves. The final result is a lower temperature in the combustion chamber, reducing the concentration of NOx emitted into the atmosphere.

However, the progress made by MAK does not stop there, but also the engines feature a mechanical device in the camshaft known by its acronym FCT (Flexible Camshaft Technology) which reduces particulate emissions (mainly ash and charcoal) in regimes of low-load work. This makes for a powerplant that produces virtually no visible smoke.

C.M.- Engines are checked at the factory. But, also controls the motors to submit yourself once installed?.
A.R.- We do not verify the emissions directly into the atmosphere, but we check a number of parameters in the engine to ensure smooth operation and verify that the measures taken are as close as possible to the measures on the factory bench testing.

C.M.- In the "Veranes" or "Veriña" tugs for example, which have been working about 8 months and operating with power of 2970 kW, are the new engines IMO II presented a greater adjustment or maintenance of the above?
A.R.- On the contrary, absolutely perfect working conditions, although both vessels are under  a special monitoring program directly from the manufacturer CATERPILLAR Motoren, in order to check the performance of new systems during the first hours of operation.

C.M.- CATERPILLAR has two distinct business lines such as Caterpillar and MAK. Tell this differentiation.
A.R.- CATERPILLAR built his first marine engine in 1937 and it has a product range that extends from 11 kW to 5650 kW, in what might be called high-speed engines.

In 1997 CATERPILLAR MAK bought one of the leading manufacturers of engines called "medium speed engines". With this acquisition, CAT has extended its product range to 16,000 kW becoming the largest manufacturer with more power range on the market. Indeed, due to the tradition and reputation in the market, Caterpillar decided to keep this trade name.

C.M.- Everybody tell me about the excellence of your service and maintenance, I know you're going to say so, but .... What is your strategy of assistance and intervention teams in Asturias for example? What areas do you offer coverage?.
A.R.- Our office is here close to 20 km, in Pruvia, the heart of Asturias. We offer coverage throughout the region, both marine and terrestrial equipment, industrial, mining machinery, public works and construction. We have over 25 fully qualified mechanics and a support team 24 hours. We also have two branches in Leon and Ponferrada to cover the assigned area.

In Spain we have 11 branches and 15 delegations, distributed throughout the country. All of them are located parts warehouses, commercial offices and other ancillary services.

There is also a General Warehouse of spare parts, located in Arganda del Rey (Madrid), with over 10,000 m2, with a stock of over 80,000 references that allow us to offer an availability of 92% in less than 24 hours and 99 % 48 to 72 hours, all looking for "the road to excellence" in service to our customers.

C.M.-  The set of technologies developed for the technological know him as ACERT. Can you expand on this concept and what vectors together?.
A.R.- ACERT is the result of an investment of over $ 500 million.

ACERT concept represents a set of technologies applied to engine design in order to optimize fuel consumption and emissions of the same. Optimization involves all total combustion process, working on electronic control systems, injection and air intake systems.

Research on combustion has been one of the objectives of the engine engineers for years, but only CATERPILLAR has the experience, resources and technology base for the optimum combustion reality.

C.M.- CATERPILLAR working at the forefront of standards and requirements. How far evolution extends your engine?. How many years from now you work on your R & D + I?
A.R.- Given that the IMO II we note and approved before it was required by law, we are working on technology for engines with IMO III that as you know are needed from January 1, 2016, and  I know the results are surprising....

C.M.- Regulations (IMO II, etc) forget the needs of the owner? ¿Real benefit or penalize move-taxed-the owner?. What is your view on this?
A.R.- The law is strictly necessary and there is no doubt that the initial investment cost is higher. The SSCC equip the vessels with a much higher standard of quality, which affects a higher initial value of the ship and lower depreciation thereof. Environmental regulations are part of our everyday life (electric cars, leds ,...) so I think  the shipbuilding sector must and will be gradually tightened.

C.M.- How do you see the current situation of the shipbuilding industry in the country? When do you think we will have a reasonable growth?.
A.R.- I see the current situation in a moment of uncertainty to the resolution of the Tax Lease record in the European Competition Commission. But it shows much more movement than in the previous two years and I think from 2012 it will be fully regularized. The crisis has left several shipyards closed or in bankruptcy, but in my humble opinion, the unreal situation we had in 2007 and 2008 where the huge demand we had made even delivery times of 30 months for a particular model of engine.... today we have 6 months.....

C.M.- There is much talk of Brazil. Do you think they will reach that market for our industry?
A.R.- Several Spanish business sector are already working there, others are doing market research deeper ... I think The Spanish naval industry will reach with force to Brazil and any country that intends

C.M.- Some say that given the magnitude of their needs ended up subcontracting "forgiving" many of the demands of Mercosur does your opinion?
A.R.- Handle data we managed indicates that the needs of the Brazilian market for the next 10 years are only about 300 ships engaged in the oil market (supplys, transport platforms, ...). Or outsource or facilitate the entry of naval sector bussinesmen from other parts of the world to open new shipyards in the country.

C.M.- For intuition ... What are the hot spots for you business to our shipbuilding industry in this decade?
A.R.- We are going to have opportunities in the world offshore tug vessels for special and very high added value. I think countries like Brazil, Mexico, Angola, .. will be our major clients in the near future.

C.M.- Since we are in Gijón. Without wishing to commit ... Can you explain the overall project workis taking place in Musel?
A.R.- Enlargement of the Port of Gijón has led to new and modern facilities that have adapted to future demand, why not, helping the growth of Asturias industry.

The project has implemented a new breakwater, which starts in Cape Torres and with a total length of 3,800 m and three different alignments with structural typology, will form a basin of 145 has sheltered waters. It has also included the construction of a pier located in the northern part of the basin of 1,250 m in length, with depths ranging from 20 to 27 m and a width exceeding 400 m allowing simultaneous berthing of three 230,000-dwt Bulkcarriers and 20 m depth. Complete protection of the slopes filled interiors, located on the west and south of the pier with a length of 1,650 m, giving a total landmass of 140 hectares with land reclaimed in full the sea.

The new dry bulk terminal to be implemented in these facilities have a discharge capacity of more than 25 million tons, with a storage area of ​​60 hectares which will collect up to 2 million tons of iron ore and coal. All this combined with the new planned investment will make the Musel a reference port in Spain.

C.M.- You know our web-3kmi platform system it represents. How do you assess this initiative to make known abroad the Spanish shipbuilding industry?
A.R.- A fantastic initiative and a spectacular platform for anyone interested anywhere in the world, knows both the excellent quality of construction of the Spanish shipyards and the various manufacturers and distributors working for this sector.

C.M.- Can we say that from this interview we have Don Ángel Ruiz collaborating on issues of naval Motorization?          
A.R.- Of course, it will be a pleasure to work with you.

We parted on one day, although rain predicted, it has been sunny and very pleasant. Very grateful for the cooperation and time spent.

Thursday, 4 August 2011


From my own experience over the years, and that obtained from MARTEC Engineering, a specialized company providing high level modernization and automation solutions to the ship building industry, -particularly Shipyards-, I will try to make a brief observation and comments on those aspects I consider to be the most interesting.

Automation is a system, where, the production tasks usually performed by humans are transferred to a set of technological elements. It consists of two different parts:

The Operational part is the part that acts directly on the machine. These elements make the machines work and perform the desired operations. These are the driving machine operative elements: motors, cylinders, air compressors, welding & cutting elements, markers, sensors as photodiodes, robots, etc.

The Command Part is usually a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller). In an automated manufacturing system, the programmable automaton is the brain of the system and must be capable to communicate with all the elements of the automation system.

Objectives of the modernisation/automation

Before implementing an advanced automation system, it must be clearly understood as well as be convinced that a number of targets will be mainly achieved:

1. Great improvement of levels of productivity in terms of reducing cost and improving quality
2. Production increase
3. Improve of working and safety conditions by elimination of arduous works.
4. Rationalize the transfer of pieces (plates, profiles, panels, subassemblies, sections, blocks etc.)
5. Perform operations impossible to control intellectual or manually
6. Improve availability providing requested amounts at the right time
7. Simplify maintenance. Operators do not require great knowledge for the process
8. Integrate management and production

My experience in data

Spanish shipyards – Sestao, Ferrol, Puerto real, Sevilla, Juliana… The automated equipment together with the modernisation concepts implanted by MARTEC in these shipyards, allow me to see first hand, and make myself a site composition in this regards.

The first conclusion I draw is the incomparable and surprising quality of the work achieved, which affects directly and very positively to the product itself as well as to the following processes of production, particularly when in tier. A small error at first stage, say in drawings, cutting, welding etc., becomes a huge problem (and cost in hours) during the assembly process. The automation provides the precise quality to eliminate these initial errors.

It is true that to achieve this, among other things, the Shipyard must have a powerful technical office capable to generate reliable final drawings to be then transferred to the Command Part (software) system in real time in order not to stop or create any disturbance to the production chain.

The increase of production and productivity depends on the Shipyards investing decision in modernisation/automation, moving it forward in the same proportion as the ship delivery.

The saving in the line construction of the blocks and the time saving during assembly process in the tier, might be well about 15% of the total time of the steel work (hull). The quality achieved and the well controlled process is directly involved in these savings, preventing in this way having to make costly correction and reforms afterwards.

Another very important aspect to be considered is the significant improvement obtained in safety at work. Since blocks move online, the possibility of accidents caused by plates, panels, subassemblies blocks etc in suspension, are drastically minimized. This point is of utmost importance since, apart from the drama and tragedy that represents each accident or casualty, the productive and economic impact generated is absolutely negative for the Shipyard. I have found that workers are more focused on their job and also more efficient, because they know that the processes are safe and they do not have to take any risks of moving pieces, which forces them to be in a constant vigilance.

The rationalization of materials handling and moving is another point to bear constantly in mind. A huge amount of hours are lost in the transfer of different material and parts when the shipyard workshop is not well organized in conjunction with the equipment installed or to be installed. Depending on each case, the efficiency of the mobilization might be improved between 10 -20%.

No doubt that the implementation of an automated system reduces personal, but the staff required should be more qualified and should be trained and familiarized with computer control environment. Even so, the balance is always positive and this will benefit the shipyard productivity.

As a preliminary summary, from my point of view, nowadays in order to compete in shipbuilding industry at a global level, the Shipyards do not have any other option than get modernized, undertaking the necessary investments to innovate by implementing automation. There is NOT other way. Therefore, the most increase in production and productivity the most reduction of the ratio Hours/Ton, which, in one word, is the most crucial Ratio for a shipyard.

In this complex shipbuilding field, the only company, that I know, capable to modernize/automate the Shipyards, making their complete turn key integration, is MARTEC Engineering.

Today, more than ever, to be competent, one must get trough modernization and reduction of production costs .

Sometimes I think that the intelligence-technology relationship is more than just the application of the equation Intelligence + technology = automation/modernization.

Sunday, 10 April 2011


On April 9, proceeded to the launching of the research vessel "Ramon Margalef" in ARMON-Vigo shipyards.

The ship is one of the most advanced laboratories currently floating. Armon Vigo Shipyard built for the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO). The new ship is part of the renovation plan for oceanographic fleet of IEO.

Ramon Margalef the research vessel of 46 meters represents an investment of over 18 million euros. Specially built for oceanographic research missions, fisheries and for the integrated study of ecosystems.

The renovation plan for oceanographic fleet of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) includes the construction of a sister ship of the Ramon Margalef, the  Angeles Alvariño (2012).

The Margalef oceanographic work at national and adjacent waters with a range of 10 days and up to 23 people, 12 crew members and 11 researchers and technicians.

The Ramon Margalef emit very low levels of noise radiated into the water, (ICES CRR 209), thus avoiding affect natural behavior of fish that are around. The ship is fully automated operating with fewer crew members but with the maximum security against adverse weather conditions.

The boat has three diesel engines of 1040 hp each and two electric motors of 900 kW engines and optimization system that can increase power without increasing consumption. The Ramon Margalef has dynamic positioning system and an underwater positioning system for underwater vehicles operating in remote sensing (ROV).

The work of Astilleros Armon Vigo has been quite prestigious by the owners and technicians involved in the project, demonstrating once again the extraordinary capacity building of the Dockyard and Shipbuilding Spanish.

Friday, 25 March 2011


We are with Mr Rudy, captain of the "Charles Darwin", one of the largest suction dredger in the world, although somewhat lower than their sisters "Leiv Eiriksson" and "Cristobal Colon." All have been built in the Naval Sestao, Vizcaya, Spain, to Belgium's Jan de Nul owner.

Kindly Mr Rudy, has offered a short interview that we hope interesting.

L.M. Mateos .- Good morning Captain Rudy, what are the key features of "Charles Darwin?

Rudy Maerevoet .- 183.20 m in length and 40 m wide and a depth of 13 m. The installed capacity exceeding 23,600 kW and suction arms can work at a maximum depth of 93.5 meters by two suction pipes of 1,200 mm, equipped with submerged dredge pumps of 3,400 kw and a total power of 15,000 kW. This allows downloading at high speed over long distances.

L.M.- As we said "Charles Darwin" is very similar to the "Leiv Eiriksson" and "Cristobal Colon." Any substantial difference apart from size be?

R.M.- size and slightly less power but can be more versatile in certain ports, because with the depth of 13 m, 2 m less than the other vessels, allows performance in channels and shallow ports. The special dimension of the hull and minimal CO2 emissions in relation to the high ability of transport and adaptation of suction makes it very versatile. To give you an idea, when a ship sails with only 5 m of water under the keel, the speed can be of 14.1 knots.

L.M.- What will be the main tasks of this ship?

R.M.-The dredging of harbors and rivers and occasionally in great works of creation of artificial islands such as those underway in Dubai.

L.M.- What is the role of a captain on a ship of this size?

R.M.- "Actually, the captain is like the manager or CEO of a company. There is a technical director of operations, supplies and many other places, all fundamental. My main role is that everything is perfectly coordinated and operating at peak efficiency.

L.M.- This will come in a vocation or is a family tradition

R.M.- I am the fourth generation in my family, my father, my grandfather and great-grandfather sailed the seas. Moreover, one of my brothers is also captain, another naval engineer and the other went off the tradition and leads large trucks, but something has to do, albeit on the ground (laughs).

R.M.-(laughs) Hopefully more seafarers and pirates also were mostly British.

L.M.-  hahaha. Tell us about your experience
R.M.-The training is tough in nautical schools and has many years experience at sea before reaching captain. Many miles to go around the world several times.

L.M.-  "To get an idea, with an output operation 5 miles take aggregates and deposit back ... what time empleáis?

R.M.-Depends on whether it is sand, the density or if another type of aggregate or sludge. The depth of suction and the geography of the seabed. But usually about 2 hours for loading and unloading and shipping up to 5 miles, about half an hour.

L.M.-  How many maneuvers, in these circumstances, you can make in a day, 24 hours?

R.M.- 4 or 5 moves about, displacing about 30,000 m3 gives a volume of 150,000 m3.

L.M.- Bone as the Guggenheim or more. That barbaric and to get an idea. How much gallons of fuel a day do you spend?

R.M.- The "Charles Darwin" consumes about 90 m3 of oil per day.

L.M.- A lot, if a car has a tank of 60 liters capacity, nourish some 1,500 cars. I prefer not to think what it would cost me a day.

R.M.- If every day.

L.M.- And oil and filters, better not to talk. How awful!

L.M.-  How many crew usually works on this ship?

R.M.- We can get 42 people, but usually carry about 34 people for three shifts.

L.M.-  What you have crew rotation?

R.M.- approximately 6 weeks and 6 weeks working at home.

L.M.- Well alright, working half a year and a half holiday to compensate for time you are away from home.

R.M.- Yes, it is very good, yes (laughs). In this company we can not complain.

L.M.-  "I said before that at full load reaches 16 knots, a speed which is truly significant.

R.M.- Yes, yes, but takes obviously more time to reach them.

L.M.- weighted understand that when you go is much more stable than in vacuum, right?

R.M.- Yes, because the length is important in vacuum. Best full.

L.M.- face of a severe storm in vacuum that do?

R.M.- Dodge. Whenever possible the skirt.

L.M.-  "I'm sure you've ever been in tough situations ...

R.M.- For the Caribbean and Indo-China areas had up to 5 tornadoes in 6 weeks. It was in 2001 the hardest. (Laughs) Even as always the hardest is the last.

L.M.-  With a boat of this kind?

R.M.- If more or less, half cubic meters and a vessel of 100m. You can never anticipate everything and the danger needs to be addressed. So the preparation of all the crews of Jan de Nul is very intense.

L.M.-  What is the capacity of funding you?

R.M.- 90 m is less than the big two. But this well, and reaches almost to the beach.

L.M.-  Let the future. I think zarpáis in 3 days. What target do you have?

R.M.-  Yes Come to Brazil, and since we have to come after the Carnival, we have to go half speed or so.

L.M.-  "It's a shame not to have fun come before something ...

R.M.- Yes, we do. What to do!. (Laughs) If they do not want to work in carnivals can not do anything.

L.M.-  Most of the crew is Flemish?

R.M.- Are Flemish, Belgians, Dutch, Croatian, Brazilian

L.M.-  You also have Brazilian.

R.M.- We have to. Law foreman.

L.M.-  but women ... I have not seen any ...

R.M.- No (laughs). It is difficult for sailing, working on deck and machinery is very hard.
In these vessels, 

L.M.- compliance you attain a very high technology. I'm thinking the implementation of the IMO II for example.

R.M.- really do. With time you offer more demanding environmental, and security. These vessels have nothing to do with a few years ago. Jan de Nul has a large fleet and every moment has been built thinking of the latest technologies.

L.M.- Ingeteam supplied the engine technology and electronic control, at least, that I know of in the last 4 ships. I imagine that its quality and technology is first class.

R.M.- To my knowledge all the time, and from the "Cristobal Colon" - has not been hit. Really have a strong engineering, both Ingeteam their ancillary businesses, propellers and other cross-sectional.

L.M.- This ship is a transverse cross-aft and two forward.

R.M.- Right.

L.M.- Regarding the rating of the ship, which now corresponds to Elexalde, and evaluate the results.

R.M.- Very good finish and execution. In addition, they have one bedroom and bathroom for each crew member. The finish is very fine, although the pub is the smallest of ships Jan de Nul. But it is very successful.

L.M.- I wish I have half of the Pub in my house!. Indeed, most of the furniture is brought from Belgium .

R.M.- I do not know if the Belgian company but they decide. It is the same.

L.M.- I think you've been to Bilbao a few years back. Castilian speak very well and I presume you know well the Navy. How do you see technology Shipyard?

R.M.- The Naval Shipyard is a very great tradition. Jan de Nul requires a high level of commitment to technology. I know they have problems, like most in the sector, but the ships they build are first class and complex.

L.M.-  I'll be back to how well you speak Castilian. English better than me ...

R.M.- O Flamenco ... (laughs)

L.M.-  Yes, flamenco makes me worse. I promise to catch up in a few years. How about this part of northern and Bilbao?

R.M.- "Okay, I came here with my wife in 2003 for 9 months. Very good, good weather and good people.

L.M.- You've seen the Guggenheim.

R.M.- YES, I like. Other areas: The Sands, the center, many.

L.M.-  And chiquiteo, go have some wine ...

R.M.- (Laughs) I like, because there are many good skewers. It's something that we have in Belgium. It's another thing.

L.M.- Finally, tell me four words in Euskera.

R.M.- Irtela, aeroportua, kalea. Would you say a few words in flamenco?

L.M.- Ok

R.M.- (Speak Flamenco - I find it impossible to translate) laughs.

L.M.- Give me a few years, perhaps 30 and then I´ll answer. Thank you for everything and I hope that you have the best possible voyage. Thank you very much.