Vedam, design & build shallow water vessels for Nigeria
For Vedam, which enjoys a partnership with Sener, the global leader in ship CAD/CAM/CAE software FORAN, it is a unique order as it involves also getting the ships constructed besides the designing, for use in hostile environment that is prevalent in that part of Nigeria. Vedam has already designed the vessels and as per the order getting them constructed at a Nigerian shipyard. The ships have been designed both for shallow draft as is the condition that exists in winter months and deep draft that is prevalent in the monsoons.
“This is the first time such design contract has been undertaken in India particularly by using the available gas (CNG).The project involved carrying out surveys of the hostile waterfront and terrain besides the entire route through which the ships are required to traverse while carrying the oil. Vedam have designed the ships operating on gas to meet the specific expectations of the clients.
“Being shallow waters we had to make departures from the engine room concept and provide an out board thrusters,” stated Akshay Jain, CEO at VEDAM Design & Technical Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. “This also afforded the advantage of limited maintenance, low operational cost and almost negligible downturn for repairs. If the engine breaks down and needs major repairs, it can be removed and replaced with another engine. Almost all parts of the barges are being made in India and China and then taken to Nigeria for building the barges. They will be finally built in a Nigerian shipyard with which Vedam has a contract only for the use of their labor and factory space.”
Each barge is 70 meters long and 15 meters wide. The shallow water barges have a capacity of 1,000 dwt and designed for depths of 1.5 meters whereas those of 1400 dwt for 2 meters draft. Basically these barges are conceived for use in the inland waterways using fewer systems on board – lots of the systems have been avoided. The Nigerian Oil Company for whom these barges are being built is involved in drilling for oil and gas on land in Nigeria. From the land the oil is transported by pipeline to their jetty and from there it is loaded on to tankers.
Deciding on the configuration was the biggest hurdle as the client did not know their exact requirements. There were multiple options that had to be presented to them before they could finally come to a decision. Another challenge for Vedam was to achieve green design by running the vessels on gas to avoid emissions (as exists with diesel engines). The intention was to make use of the waste gas generated in oil production which is being let off into the atmosphere as waste. The biggest challenge was matching this gas with the thrusters together with arranging for the storage and transport of the gas - as compressed natural gas (CNG).