A Global Model: SOLVANG CELEBRATES GREEN SHIPPING
It seems just fancy holiday events, the two-day Solvang Philippines conference cum parties at Acea Subic Bay hotel and resort in Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Zambales, November 22-23.
After the welcome dinner, all eyes were on the Loyalty Awardees: 128 officers and crew on board for 5-10-15-20 years of competent services. Some 14 personally accepted the recognition, headed by Capt. Hvorje Blazevic, the first Croatian Captain with Solvang continuously and going for over two decades.
The pragmatic impact may be gleaned from the calibre of speakers from Solvang ASA, Norway:
- Kjetil Meling, HR Director, on company and crewing updates
- Odd Magne Assland, Sr. Maritime Superintendent/ CSO/ DPA, on Vetting
- Tor Oeyvind Ask, Fleet Director, on Fleet and technical matters, new environmental-focused regulations
- Jason Lourd Martinez, BDO Digital Banking, Q&A Session (Manila)
HR Director Meling: “Solvang dates back to 1936 and for the last decades the company was controlled by the Steensland family which confirms our family values.”
He notes Solvang is in for the long haul, with traditional values but innovative in management, “fully integrated company in house,” all functions by Solvang: owned the vessels, hires the crew, proud to claim full and total operations done by one Solvang family.
Meling spoke about the market, the financials of the firm with major investments in very expensive vessels. Amidst the challenging market, 5 new-builds delivery in 2019 (meaning around 150 additional officers and crew from the current 1,100; 12 nationalities, majority Filipinos, about 80 shore-based staff).
Fleet Director Tor Oeyvind Ask underscores:
“But you also can earn more money, it cost more but you earn more. Because you can use less fuel, cheaper fuel… good for the environment “
Solvang is a leader in LPG and Petrochemical Tonnage with a fleet of 27 vessels, nine ethane/ethylene carriers, one MGC, nine LGCs and eight VLGCs.
Since 2008, it invested more than US$1.7-billion in new ships, giving a very modern fleet, with an average age of about 7 years.
The new vessels are based on its experience with ECO-Vessels, starting with Clipper Quito, awarded as the first ECO vessel in 2013. On Clipper Wilma and the ethylene new-builds, we combine Hybrid Exhaust Gas Cleaning (Scrubber) with Solvang’s LP-EGR NOx reduction technology. A water cleaning system for the Scrubber is installed, and the waste from the cleaned exhaust is delivered ashore.
The combination of these technologies reduce NOx by 80 % in IMO Tier III operation, SOx by 99% and particles by 80-90 %. Overall we expect about a 20 % reduction in CO2 compared to our vessels delivered in 2008, reducing CO2 by 7000 tons per year, depending on operation.
Solvang´s strategy is to stay ahead of national and IMO regulations by applying ongoing research to our vessels´ operation. Solvang is a part of Smart Maritime, Norwegian Centre for improved energy efficiency and reduced harmful emissions.
(IMO regulations to reduce sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions from ships first came into force in 2005, under Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (known as the MARPOL Convention).
From 1 January 2020, the limit for sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships operating outside designated emission control areas will be reduced to 0.50% m/m (mass by mass). This will significantly reduce the amount of sulphur oxides emanating from ships and should have major health and environmental benefits).
In an interview with Marino World, Fleet Director Tor Oeyvind Ask projected a holistic look:
“Our focus is delivering quality, it’s the only thing that we can survive in the market. It’s more demanding from the crew and we use a lot of time to talk about how important it is for them to use the new equipment in the right way.”
Competency on new equipment is a significant quote, considering 2nd Engr. Ask is of the old school, of the “very, very old” time. But, on a second look, he has deep credentials, holds a Masters and a Doctorate, a researcher, onboard tankers and offshore supply vessels, with Solvang since 2006.
Ask believes those vessels are complicated, more so the next generation newbuilts. If one does not update, one will be an old vessel.
“Positive focus” is needed, “something you can get to work…” and “something you do together…” like with superintendent, fleet manager, everybody, with Solvang’s 24-7 Phone Support system for anything.
An add-on is partner Gigamare, making e-training courses on environment technology aligned with equipment on Solvang vessels for proper usage and maximum intent as designed.
“We are a company which is far above average. We cannot exist in average”.
While to others this is a huge challenge, Manager Ask believes “I think this is not a big problem as long as you focus” more so on the new which, really, have simple working principle.
He recalls his sailing days, when he himself “need to go into the future” in as simple way as possible, “less demanding than the options we have.”
“We have our set of very loyal, good people onboard.”
Director Ask takes pride Solvang has cadets on all its vessels; taken in and trained. They have a good mix of young, keen people with a crew matured and blue water-tested.
This is similar with Solvang’s Norway office, draftees from the university and honed up by veteran merchant mariners “to push this innovation further.”
Two days of fun and glitter, from the young and the young once, across gender but within family. Pres. and GM Virgilio Lopez, Jr. was so touched with the warm participation of almost everyone, taking off from their vacation to be as one with the company.
Evening, November 22: beachfront welcome dinner, open party with full blare band, gutsy fire dancers, fireworks illuminating the dark sky, awarding of achievements.
Afternoon, November 23: Kiddie party with the famous We Bare Bears, magic and puppet shows, face painting, balloon twisting, parlor games and the eternal photo booth.
Evening, November 23: Rockin’ 80s Christmas Party, retro band, gift- giving, raffle draws, and yesterday’s version of cosplay, “Best in Costume”, in four competitive categories of male, female, kid, and family.