Home' Work Boat World : June 2010 Contents The best is not always left to last
Regular readers will note the similarity between the opening
gambits of this column and that of last month. Don't get too
excited though; this is not some elaborate intertwined storyline
that will play out over the course of numerous columns to
finally reveal a greater truth. The greater truth is not really
great at all: I'm simply lazy.
The lands that I associate with (in no particular order) high
priced drinks, sophisticated specialist small ships, beautiful women
and funny letters such as å, ø and æ are featured in this month's
issue but I won't hark on them for too long. One reason for this is
that I haven't been in a position to visit for many years, a
limitation imposed by my better half as a result of two of the
aforementioned regional characteristics. I'll let you work out for
yourselves what they are.
What I have heard (no, not from "that hussy" dear) is that
orders have been considerably harder to come by for the
shipbuilders in that part of the world. At the big end of town, the
boys in Helsinki and Turku have apparently had their hands out to
the government. Further west, where oil and fish are important
parts of the national economy, I've heard that the new orders can
be counted without resorting to toes. No doubt that brings certain
woes...and I can't say that I was surprised to see a formerly leading
fast craft builder, more latterly involved in OSVs, now spruiking a
sub-20-metre work boat product. When times are tough, even the
smallest projects are better than none.
With the lack of positive news coming from that part of the
world, there were obviously some in the media keen to latch onto
positive new developments. So much so that various outlets reported
on an item just before Christmas that implied a Scandinavian freight
company was planning on setting up a high-speed cargo service.
Hopefully by now they have realised that the man in the red suit
only operates one day a year -- hardly the kind of operating profile
that will justify investments in new tonnage.
Proof of the unusual
Of course I could give my fellow journalists some leeway in this
regard, because there certainly are seemingly improbable stories
out there that are, in fact, fact. As you may recall, a few months
ago I noted with considerable surprise that a US yard had an order
for small pilot boats for the Netherlands.
I must admit, there was still some doubt in my mind that this
would ever come to fruition. For those, like me, who "believe it
when I see it", the photographic proof of the completed boat...
and a good looking boat it is too. I should also thank Cat, makers
of the finest yellow engines going around, for the photo.
One of the world's larger companies, and by recent reckoning
the largest when it comes to matters of defence, has been handing
over money recently... and not just to its suppliers. And while it
has been more than strongly implied that the company has been
involved in what is colloquially known as the brown paper bag
trade, such is not the case here. Rather, the multi-million dollar
sum it paid to its customer is a settlement for a deal that has really
not gone well. Worse luck for the company involved, it was a deal
done by the former owners and managers.
One wonders how the corporate masters back in the
motherland consider the whole sorry situation involving the
colonies. Perhaps the due diligence man has had his hand
slapped... or perhaps they just blame it on the old guard from the
former owners. Mind you, if you do that you can't really take any
credit for the good work they may have done in the past, which
sort of implies that any goodwill you paid for is now virtually
worthless. No doubt the PR people could explain it all.
Perhaps, too, the evident engineering problems are in not just
the core ships but the smaller craft they carry. One wonders how a
company charged with building submarines and aircraft carriers
can balls up a landing craft. Oh, that's right...that was them, this
Got a tip? -- Aft_Lines@hotmail.com
A rare sight...a US-built work boat for Europe
June 2010 WORK BOAT WORLD
Expectations have fallen with the market
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