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27 June 2014

The innovative ship design company KNUD E. HANSEN, headquartered in Elsinore Denmark and with office at Lindø, has experienced its best year ever and continues at full speed with an incredibly wide range of activities worldwide from an oil recovery vessel which can almost sail in a puddle to retrofitting of cruise giants and advanced ventilation systems for efficient chemical tankers.

A quite unique range of activities and great flexibility and innovativeness make the ship design company KNUD E. HANSEN something special, which was confirmed in April when KNUD E. HANSEN was awarded the Shippax prize for the ro-ro ship of Bahri Abha, which was designed in Elsinore.

– KNUD E. HANSEN operates within a wide range of marine and offshore activities and we work all around the world. I think KNUD E. HANSEN was the only Danish company with activities on all seven continents last year. I do not think even Maersk achieved this. We were also in Antarctica working on two projects, Managing Director Finn Wollesen says.

KNUD E. HANSEN was founded in 1937 and has always been in the lead. Till the late 1980s, KNUD E. HANSEN was probably world leader in passenger ships in both the ferry and cruise businesses. Worldwide, KNUD E. HANSEN was number one. And this is also the approach being pursued today.

– We had some tough years in the 1990s when the company lost pace because a proper succession was not made, but we picked up speed after the year 2000, with ro-ro ships, non-corrosive chemical tankers and wind turbine installation vessels and being the first to make jackup vessels which are used in connection with installation of large wind turbines. The very first of them, Resolution, was designed by us for Mayflower, Finn Wollesen says.

– The next generation is the Swire-ships Swire Orca and Swire Osprey, which are both our design, and which sail for a Danish shipping company currently. In general, we are very active in the area of offshore and offshore wind.

We are designing a number of projects in the ice class because the melting ice means that it is beginning to be feasible to sail places you could not sail before. There will be new rules regarding how to operate in the Arctic and the Antarctic, and we are well prepared for that development.

In another field where the company has been doing well for the past 10-12 years is conversions: – We have been doing a good deal of work for Stena, which includes extension of existing ferries, so they can sail other routes, including upgrading with extra deck. In fact, we have examined the entire fleet, because we have been involved in all of their projects. Among other things, we have converted Saga Sapphire, previously a Pullman Tour ship. A project completed last year at the Palermo yard. So, conversions is something that we are also very successful in, Finn Wollesen says and mentions that KNUD E. HANSEN has been divided into segments.

One of the specialties here is HVAC, heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

– The largest project we are working on right now concerns British aircraft carriers, where we have been involved in the design of air conditioning since 2008. Our client is a major German air ventilation company. But we also are also doing a considerable amount of ventilation work in the offshore business. And for a large number of small ships, where we assist ventilation companies with their design, often as a buffer for their own technical departments.

Energy savings

KNUD E. HANSEN puts a lot of work into energy optimization these days.

– We have had huge projects with Carnival Cruise Line concerning energy savings. Mainly concerning ventilation. And we are also looking at energy savings for other shipyards:

– You can simply cut off the bow and put up a new bulb. A great deal has happened because the speed of ships has been reduced. The hull is not optimal for the lower speed and therefore it pays to change the bow and get a better hull shape. We have done this for several shipping companies. Also concerning trim optimization, we have made low energy studies, meaning how ships are to perform in various trims according to whether a ship carries a cargo or not or has different gravity loads. It pays to trim the ship differently depending on the draft and measure what is most optimal trim is.

The design company’s range of activities also includes platforms and drill ships. Currently, Maersk Galant is docked at Fayard. This is a project where we are also very much involved with design and calculation of a number of conversions, he says.

– A few years ago, we created a complete concept, an arctic drill ship for an American shipping company, Frontier Drilling. The financial crisis put a stop to the project, but we are on the market of drilling ships and we are working on projects, Finn Wollesen says without saying who the client is.

Another project related to oil is a small oil collection vessel, SWORC, designed by KNUD E. HANSEN.

– It is a light craft that can pick up oil in coastal areas. Originally, the idea was for Denmark to have a plan for such a situation, but there is no political will to make a decision, so nothing happens. But we have built one vessel in order to be prepared for the future. The problem with an oil spill is that if you fail to get booms out in time, and the oil will float into shallow water, and you can only stand on the beach and wait to be able to scrape it up. For each ton of oil, 13 tons of sand must be removed. But this small vessel – it is a catamaran – can sail at 30 cm and can collect oil in plastic bags which are dumped between the hulls. This means that the bags can be collected by a tractor, for instance, the next day. It is possible to skim 400 kg at a time, and then it dumps the bag. In that way, it can be avoided that many tons of oil end up on sandy beaches and you can therefore save wildlife and prevent pollution and loss of revenues from tourism.

– If you placed ten of them in Denmark, it would be possible to reach any coastline within 2-4 hours. The political plan says it should be done, but there is chaos between municipalities, the Royal Danish Navy, the Marine Guard, and  politicians, he points out.

KNUD E. HANSEN is looking to the future with great optimism:

– The financial crisis was an advantage for us at first because many shipping companies predicted that yards would be put under pressure and become desperate for work, so a lot of tender designs were put on the shelves in order to be able to purchase cheap vessels when the yards were ready to lower prices. Those who have bought at the lowest prices will be successful over the next 20 years.

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