Auckland-based refit facility Orams Marine is nearing the latter stages of its yard development, which will enable the haul out of some of the largest yachts cruising the Pacific. With a new 820-tonne travel lift and expanded hardstanding of 12,000sqm, the capacity of the yard will effectively be tripled upon completion.
“We needed to increase the size and methodology Orams had available to pull boats out of the water to continue to be best-placed to serve the region,” explains Orams Marine CEO Neven Barbour. “We see the South Pacific as being a sought-after destination and decided seven or eight years ago to treble the size and lift capacity that Orams had to work with yachts cruising the region.
“With the location of the boat yard in the centre of the city, right in the heart of where boats and yachtsmen are in Auckland, we decided having vital infrastructure was a no-brainer. Our new development will ensure Auckland and New Zealand remains the marine hub for the South Pacific.”
The development coincides with a gradual increase in superyacht traffic in New Zealand. “Motoryachts launched globally are becoming more sophisticated and capable of longer exploratory journeys, and we’re seeing more motoryachts and explorer yachts in our region than we had in years past,” adds Barbour. “New Zealand’s brand as a refit destination has been led by our craftsmen, with workmanship amongst the top countries in the global market and our experienced and capable marine trades known for their quality work.”
With the 36th America’s Cup taking place in Auckland from 6 to 21 March, 2021, superyacht refit and cruising activity in the country was expected to increase even further this year. But with New Zealand's borders closed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been concerns as to whether foreign vessels would be allowed entry into the country in time for the event.
However, in a positive step for the local refit sector, the New Zealand government recently announced a new provision that allows for vessels booked in for repair or refit works in New Zealand to apply to enter the country’s maritime borders. This new provision has already enabled a number of yachts to access Orams for refit and repair works.
“People are aware that, with the America’s Cup approaching, there’s a number of yachts still seeking to come to New Zealand; taking in the COVID-19 requirements and waiting to see what happens,” says Barbour. “With all the America’s Cup teams now in New Zealand, excitement is building and the marine industry is buzzing. There is a clear process to follow, which a number of boats have already completed, and has allowed them to come into to New Zealand and commence their refit work at Orams.”
He adds; “The New Zealand government recognises the importance of refit work to the local economy, so while the criteria to clear into the country is necessary, it’s also not a prohibitive process. With the aid of our experienced project managers, a number of boats have been able to meet the government’s criteria and commence work now, as well as prepare for future work with Orams.”
Barbour and the Orams team are now looking forward to being able to accommodate more refit requests in the future with the new 820-tonne travel lift, which will be built over the next six weeks, and the new onsite facilities being constructed, which will be ready to use by the end of 2020.
Images: The Orams yard under development and Neven Barbour with the wheels of the new 820 tonne travel lift.
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