The biennial international shipbuilding, machinery and marine technology trade fair (SMM) in Hamburg, Germany last week highlighted the dynamic role of the wider shipbuilding market in the superyacht sector.

“Visitors to SMM typically walk the show to see what’s new in the commercial and offshore markets that they might want to bring in to a new build or refit,” said Michael Brasse, head of corporate communication at Hamburg-based Blohm+Voss.

Blohm+Voss, whose city-centre yard appeals to yacht crews working on both new build and refits, is currently completing the 81.5m motor yacht Graceful, with a design by H2, due for delivery in 2013. Blohm+Voss, which recently completed its handover to UK-based owners STAR Capital Partners is continuing to stay in a large size bracket, focusing on 80m+ one-off builds, Brasse said.

While in Germany, SuperyachtNews visited Lürssen, where sales director Michael Breman reiterated the yard’s commitment to the largest end of the superyacht market and confirmed that the extensive shipyard had five projects in build. “We’ve been very fortunate; we’ve been blessed by the market,” Breman said in the Lürssen offices in Vegesack. Lürssen has also acquired the Norderwerft shipyard in Hamburg, primarily for the repair and refit of commercial and naval vessels. “We’ll need to see over time if we integrate the new yard into our yacht operations at all,” Breman said.

At Nobiskrug in Rendsburg, co-directors Susanne Wiegand and Holger Kahl were enthusiastic about the future, with a 100m+ project currently in build at their newly acquired Kiel facility for delivery in 2015 and a 74m motor yacht in build at their Rendsburg facility for delivery in 2013. They also have key developments in marketing and access to the Mediterranean yachting scene with a new office near Cannes. Plans to market a Nobiskrug technical management service to superyacht clients worldwide were mentioned as well.

Imtech announced the opening of a new office in Brazil with an elaborate musical party on their stand. Nearby, key show sponsors ABB focused energies on communicating their vision for energy efficiencies across the breadth of the marine markets they serve, including a focus on liquefied natural gas (LNG) as an alternative fuel for the future of all shipping and marine transport. With an expectation that IMO environmental standards are to be strengthened by 2020 following a feasibility review no later than 2018, ABB is researching solutions for the next wave of environmental changes.

The French industrial giant Saint Gobain discussed emerging technology in their lighter glass technology, which has provided key weight-savings in the cruise ship industry as well as on some key superyacht builds in Germany. They claim to be working on possible game-changing technology for glass that would owners, crew or guests to incrementally dim window and porthole glass according to energy or comfort needs.

Schottel announced that they had acquired Van der Velden’s rim-drive thrusters technology and are working to develop it for the offshore DP market, though they’ll initially be offering a 200kW version for the superyacht market in 2013. 

Other businesses with superyacht concerns, including Fincantiari, Lloyd’s Register, Isle Wortleboer, Voith, Rubebr Design, Heinan & Hopman, Bolidt, Spectec, Jeppesen and many more were represented at the show.

Across the show floors, various unsubstantialed rumours circulated of a 174m superyacht contract out for bid, and a mention in the Hamburg daily newspaper that Abu Dhabi Mar had taken an interest in the German shipyard P & S, though no firm comments were available on either count, other than a confirmation from P & S that they had indeed been approached by ADM and were in the first stages of talks.

See the November issue of The Superyacht Report for a full Germany report.

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