Perfect for small ships and located strategically in Lisbon, Naval Rocha already had three confirmed cruise projects for 2020 as of late November, said Sergio Rodrigues, commercial director, in the 2020 Drydocking and Refurbishment Report by Cruise Industry News.
Work includes a visit from the Royal Clipper as well as a duo of wet dock appointments from Grand Circle Cruise Line for both the Corinthian and the Clio. Among recent big projects, 2018 saw the yard install a new Scanship advanced wastewater system aboard the Corinthian.
“The biggest challenge is working with the same repair window on the same vessels despite the vessels getting older with more care needs,” Rodrigues explained.
Planning typically starts six months to a year out.
“Closer to the docking date we receive a final work specification and visit the vessel, mainly to evaluate the difficulties of the work regarding access and to prepare manpower and materials.”
Drydocks see the yard provide between 150 and 200 workers, while a wetdock has fewer: 50 to 100.
The Lisbon repair facility offers a drydock that is 173 meters in length with a width of 22.5 meters, and able to take ships with a draft up to eight meters. There is also a second, smaller drydock. Both have ample crane infrastructure, said Rodrigues.
“All our projects have a dedicated project manager assigned,” Rodrigues continued. “Recently we added an assistant to our project management team. The manager is responsible for an entire project and is the only contact person for the owner. One of the advantages of our size and business model is the involvement of our organization in a project, from top to bottom; this reduces the reaction time by increasing the communication. We strongly believe that being more flexible and adaptive to our clients is a huge advantage of our yard.”
Rodrigues has a motto: “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
He sees a strong future with the expedition market growing, meaning more small ships that can fit in Naval Rocha’s drydocks.
With two decades of experience repairing cruise ships, Rodrigues said the facility averages between three and six ships a year and has never had a delay.