The general cargo vessel M/V Pontica, calling at exotic ports worldwide, had for a long time suffered severe problems with the main engine. After the second serious crankshaft failure, the engine seized, and the vessel was towed and anchored at the Dolphin shipyard in Varna, Bulgaria. “To us, it was clear that if the vessel is out of service, it will inevitably influence our business and reputation. So, we had to find a solution,” says Mr Ivanov
Renewal instead of an overhaul
The obvious choices for the customer were to either overhaul the existing main engine or renew it. The customer had made unsuccessful overhauls before, so he decided to replace the engine. Wärtsilä then came up with an unconventional solution which included the main engine, gearbox, clutch, propeller shaft, seals, bearings and a new propeller.
Mr Ivanov highlights the fact that Wärtsilä’s ship designers assisted with the preliminary studies and onboard inspections, which showed the customer that Wärtsilä can provide a full engineering and integration package – this had a significant positive impact on the negotiations. In addition, this also gave the customer a full image of the overall effect a retrofit would have for the vessel, i.e. not just an exchange of equipment.
Mr Ivanov states that he has not had good experiences from so-called cheap engineering products. “With Wärtsilä’s products and services, the level of problems is close to zero. The feedback and advice you get from Wärtsilä are always relevant, and their actions are aimed at improving the system. Therefore, we decided to choose Wärtsilä’s solution.”
According to Mr Ivanov, the engineers from Wärtsilä were very skilled and technically experienced and had the necessary knowledge about the equipment and the project procedures. “The installation at the Dolphin shipyard took about three and a half months, and everything was well-planned thanks to the integrated engineering package. The minor challenges we had are not worth mentioning.”
Improved reliability and reduced fuel costs
Mr Shergold describes the project as extremely smooth. Any minor problems were dealt with professionally and efficiently by Wärtsilä. The contract was signed in December 2016, and the vessel entered dry dock in September 2017 and returned to service precisely a year after signing the contract.
He finds it easy to recommend a similar process to other ship owners, because of benefits such as improved reliability, allowing the vessel to operate well into the future. “The new engines have performed very well to date. As well as improving the vessel reliability and restoring the vessel to maximum power, initial indications are that we will benefit from improved fuel consumption, helping to reduce the vessel’s environmental impact and operating costs,” concludes Mr Ross Shergold.