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Becker Marine on a roll with Maersk

Becker Marine on a roll with Maersk
A “frame agreement” just signed between Hamburg-based Becker Marine and Maersk Tankers could see up to 15 of the Danish tanker company’s VLCCs fitted with fuel-saving Becker Mewis Ducts. The deal comes soon after the installation of a duct on the first of Maersk’s three “I-class” VLCCs built at Hyundai Heavy Industries in 2012 and marks the beginning of a major retrofit programme.  

The 318,478 dwt Maersk Ingrid has just been fitted with a 10 m propeller duct at the end of May 2013 in Singapore.  Before-and-after sea trials will determine the scale of the fuel savings. Similar installations are likely to be made on the Maersk Ilmaand the Maersk Isabella and other company VLCCs in the “E-“ and “S-classes”. If all 15 VLCCs are fitted with ducts, the deal could be worth up to €4.5m to privately owned Becker Marine Systems.

About 200 of the patented Becker Mewis Ducts have now been installed in total but the company has 470 orders in total, according to Sales Director Walther Bauer. Suited to full-formed vessels with high block coefficients such as tankers and bulk carriers, the ducts typically yield fuel savings of 4-8% and usually have a payback period of around 10 to 12 months – depending on bunker prices. Many of the retrofits have been for Greek owners, says Bauer, and one of the company’s biggest deals to date has been for Thenamaris which has invested some €6m in ducts for 26 vessels including VLCCs, suezmax and aframax tankers, and bulk carriers.  

Such is the demand for the ducts, currently manufactured in Spain, that the company is spending €3m on a new manufacturing facility in China. Bauer says this will save time and ease the logistics of product delivery for both retrofits and for newbuildings which now account for about half of all orders. However, he expects this ratio to swing in favour of retrofits in due course.

The company also offers the fuel-saving Becker Twisted Fin for vessels with finer lines. Seven installations of the new device have been made so far, on board Hamburg Süd 7,000 teu-plus container ships. The company has ten more units on order. Bauer expects at least 20 more orders this year and as many as 50 in 2014.