Problems reportedly continue at FSG shipyard, despite financial rescue

Summary: Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) continues to experience difficulties, despite a financial rescue earlier this year.
The launch of the seventh FSG-built Ro-Ro for Siem Group LEEVSTEN. Moby Lines and Tirrenia owner Onorato Armatori are said to be negotiating the charter of her having already chartered the previous two units. FSG Ship.
The launch of the seventh FSG-built Ro-Ro for Siem Group LEEVSTEN. Moby Lines and Tirrenia owner Onorato Armatori are said to be negotiating the charter of her having already chartered the previous two units. FSG Ship.

German shipbuilder FSG is still experiencing significant problems, despite their financial rescue earlier this year reports ndr.de (in German). The famous shipbuilder, which is currently constructing HONFLEUR for Brittany Ferries ahead of starting a second new ferry for Irish Ferries, has had a number of skilled engineers leave for elsewhere. The result of this has been a slow down in the progress of designing the new Irish Ferries ferry with ndr describing progress as slow due to an overburdened design team.  

Render of Brittany Ferries HONFLEUR wearing the new livery for the 2019 season. Brittany Ferries.
Render of Brittany Ferries HONFLEUR wearing the new livery for the 2019 season. Brittany Ferries.

While the second Irish Ferries vessel shares similarities with WB YEATS, on which FSG made a loss leading to a financial crisis earlier in the year, she is a very different vessel with twice the freight capacity of Yeats and less cabin accommodation to take account of the shorter nature of her Dublin to Holyhead route versus W.B. YEATS Ireland to France run. The second vessel was reportedly an exercised option on the W.B. YEATS order, suggesting the contractual terms may be at least similar to the vessel built at a loss. It is important to note however that there has been no suggestion from either FSG or Irish Ferries parent Irish Continental Group that the second Irish Ferries vessel will be late.

FSG has already postponed the build of an eighth Ro-Ro for part-owner Siem group in order to speed up delivery of HONFLEUR, which was originally expected to be delivered this month.  Since May 6th, more than 60 workers out of approximately 680 employees have been sent home as they are not required due to the postponement in starting the construction of the aforementioned Ro-Ro.  This means the focus of the workforce is now on delivering HONFLEUR as soon as possible, rather than simultaneously working on other projects as well as would usually be the case.  

Tirrenia's MARIA GRAXIA ONORATO moored at the FSG outfitting pier on November 7th 2018 Copyright © Frank Jensen.
Tirrenia’s RoRO freighter MARIA GRAZIA ONORATO moored at the FSG outfitting pier on November 7th 2018 Copyright © Frank Jensen.

Ndr has separately reported that work on the Ro-Ro LEEVSTEN, also being built for Siem Group and launched on April 8th, is also behind schedule.  With LEEVSTEN behind schedule and her sister not even in construction a total of three vessels are now running late ahead of the start of construction of Irish Ferries giant new Dublin to Holyhead ship, on what already seemed to be a tight timeline before any delays.

The forward superstructure block is lifted on to Brittany Ferries HONFLEUR at Germany's FSG. Brittany Ferries.
The forward superstructure block is lifted on to Brittany Ferries HONFLEUR at Germany’s FSG. Brittany Ferries.

FSG uses modular construction methods with pre-fabricated hull sections welded together into a complete hull on their covered slipway before the hull is launched. The superstructure (which is pre-fabricated at a subcontractor in Poland) is then lifted onto the hull and the two welded together. The use of these modern methods mean that hull and superstructure sections can be constructed well in advance of the ‘keel laying’, but it appears that the workers which would normally construct the hull sections have been sent home.

Irish Ferries FSG-built Ireland - France ferry W.B. YEATS. FSG.
Irish Ferries FSG-built Ireland – France ferry W.B. YEATS. FSG.

In addition to HONFLEUR and the second Irish Ferries vessel, FSG also has an order for two large fast Ro-Pax’s from TT-Line of Tasmania to replace their current tonnage SPIRIT OF TASMANIA I and SPIRIT OF TASMANIA II. The new Tasmanian vessels are also at the design stage with construction scheduled to commence after the second Irish Ferries vessel.

A rendering of how the new TT-Line "Spirit of Tasmania" new builds will look. FSG.
A rendering of how the new TT-Line “Spirit of Tasmania” new builds will look. FSG.

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