Wärtsilä aims high by diving deep

7 min read

13 Feb 2019


Anne Salomäki


Maxim Simon

7 min read

13 Feb 2019


Anne Salomäki


Maxim Simon

With two recent acquisitions, Wärtsilä is gaining foothold in underwater services across European ports. The new and strengthening areas of expertise help Wärtsilä realise its purpose: enabling sustainable societies with smart technology.

The story of Spanish underwater service provider Burriel Navarro has grown from a small and local, three-man family business to unprecedented dimensions. In October 2018, the 20-strong team based in Valencia became part of  Trident, a Wärtsilä Company, a Dutch underwater ship maintenance company acquired by Wärtsilä in January 2018.

Fernando Burriel, managing director of Burriel Navarro and the son of its founder, is thrilled. For a small company and its clients, being acknowledged – and appreciated – by an industry giant like Wärtsilä is a big deal.

“My father has been incredibly proud to see where his groundwork has led to,” Burriel tells Twentyfour7. “The years of work he’s put into the company, growing it step-by-step and always focusing on excellent customer service and highest possible quality, has paid off.”

Founded in 1969 and reputable across the country, Burriel Navarro specialises in a range of underwater work, including inspection, repair and hull cleaning. Now, together with Trident and Wärtsilä, Fernando Burriel hopes to see the company expand its operations, gain new contracts and serve its existing customers even better with more resources and services in multiple locations.

Trident and Burriel Navarro have already worked together prior to the acquisitions, and Burriel deems the combination of the companies’ expertise, quality and state-of-the-art technology a perfect combination. On top of this, Wärtsilä is a well-known name across the Spanish and Mediterranean markets, with extensive global networks.

“We are very much looking forward to the collaboration we can build together with Wärtsilä, including in marketing and landing new business,” Burriel notes.

Wärtsilä aims high by diving deep

In October 2018, the 20-strong Burriel Navarro team based in Valencia became part of Trident, a Wärtsilä Company

Synergies in sight

The two acquisitions support Wärtsilä in various areas, including developing its propulsion-related services, strengthening competences on the underwater services market and supporting Wärtsilä’s overall purpose of enabling sustainable societies with smart technology. Tamara de Gruyter, Vice President, Europe & Africa, Marine Business, also emphasises that Wärtsilä aims to become a global operator in underwater services.

Previously, Wärtsilä provided underwater services through partners. Now, the acquisitions have built in-house competence, which is something de Gruyter deems to be of importance.

“With partners, you act as a supplier and a customer,” she explains, “but when you’re a part of the company, we can put brains together. Trident is very smart in doing things that have never been done before, and Burriel Navarro is very well known across the Mediterranean.”

For example, the services of Trident and Burriel Navarro can be integrated with the analytics of Eniram – a Wärtsilä company, specialising in energy management technology in the maritime industry. Thus, Wärtsilä’s ‘as-a-service offering’ can achieve fuel savings with the help of optimised hull cleaning cycles.

Product and solution synergies are one of the benefits of the wide-ranging expertise of the companies.

“When the field engineers of Trident and Burriel Navarro see products from different angles, they can come up with feedback for R&D, and together we can co-develop new products and solutions. These things are much easier when we work for the same organisation.”

Wärtsilä aims high by diving deep

“We are very much looking forward to the collaboration we can build together with Wärtsilä, including in marketing and landing new business,” Fernando Burriel says

One plus one is three

Wärtsilä already serves customers around the globe; but de Gruyter emphasises that being local helps improve speed and cost-effectiveness. Trident serves Spain, the Canary Islands and the Netherlands, and Burriel Navarro operates in the Mediterranean market. According to de Gruyter, there are all kinds of plans to increase presence in ports around the globe, ranging from green field projects to partnership and possibly further acquisitions.

“We want to build a global footprint to serve customers wherever,” she notes. “This is faster and more cost-effective to both Wärtsilä and our customers. For example, Trident has the knowledge and Wärtsilä has the network, so one plus one is actually three.”

Wärtsilä’s aim is to transform the marine industry, and the focus is on optimisation. Underwater services help customers avoid all kinds of waste – including the time it would take to take the ship or its parts to dry dock for maintenance, as well as fuel savings.

One step the company has already taken is informing customers about the existence of underwater operations and the wide range of activities that can be performed underwater. De Gruyter points out that not everyone even knows about some of the options that are available.

“The companies joining forces also gives new opportunities to engineers: divers can also perform field service activities above water, and field service engineers might have a chance in the future to learn to work underwater.”

Overall, de Gruyter believes that ship maintenance will move on to a more data-driven and predictive direction. This way, repair work or hull cleaning is not just dependent on a captain’s experience, but rather monitoring the vessel’s condition and reacting to it when needed.

On top of this, de Gruyter is excited to see the possibilities brought about by robotics.

“A lot of things have been tested, but they’re not yet up to speed and the technology isn’t mature yet,” she notes. “But as things move forward, we will keep an eye on it and, if needed, we will invest in that as well.”