Paris Baloumis reiterates Oceanco's refit ambitions
We speak with Paris Baloumis, Group Marketing Manager at Oceanco, about the yard's ambition to make the existing fleet more sustainable…
It’s no secret that Oceanco have had a record-breaking year in the new build sector with a lot of very exciting projects with very high-profile clients. Some of the shipyard's recent deliveries feature some of the most innovative green technology in the entire maritime sector - the likes of Black Pearl, Bravo Eugenia and Project Y721 have been written about extensively over the last few years. The actual facilities at Oceanco have also been invested in massively, the Alblasserdam headquarters feature electrically driven heat pumps reducing gas consumption by 50 per cent, and solar panels covering 10 per cent of the yearly energy consumption.
That is all well and good, but Oceanco has been building superyachts since the 90s, and if they really want to improve their green credentials, then they are going to have to start focusing on transforming their existing fleet. Since 1993 Oceanco have built 38 yachts, and as it stands, not all of them are exactly ‘futureproof’. That’s why in 2019, the shipyard acquired a 28-acre facility close to its Albasserdam headquarters in a bid to expand its capacity for maintenance, refit, and lifetime extension work. The site includes a dedicated 132m x 38m space that is known as the home of Oceanco’s ‘Life Cycle Support’ team. Even though this space is a new addition, it has already produced some exciting refit case studies.
SuperyachtNews caught up with Paris Baloumis, Group Marketing Manager at Oceanco, at the Monaco Yacht Show to find out about the company's vision. “Following on from a record-breaking year is both a challenge and a motivation to keep doing what we are doing” Explains Baloumis. Oceanco has had three high-profile deliveries this year, and they currently have five superyachts under construction - all over 100 metres.
Baloumis adds, “That wasn’t the only busy part, because we also had some high-profile refits with our life cycle support team. We had the 82-metre Alfa Nero, which is an icon in the market and that came for a refit and an upgrade. Then we had an old yacht, the 62m Lucky Lady, and we had Limitless, which is a beautiful yacht, but the one very fundamental project is the 20-year-old Oceanco that came back for a total transformation, and we don't call that a refit because it's really a rebuild.”
Lucky Lady has been described as a ‘Catalyst case study’ by Oceanco. The 62m vessel previously featured two 1,650HP Caterpillar diesel engines and a relatively traditional layout. This all changed though, as Baloumis explains...
“We brought it back to Oceanco and we took everything out, the engine, the gearbox, all the technology, everything, and we brought it all back up to modern standards."
There are over 6000 active yachts over 30m in the world that still rely on fossil fuels and they will eventually either need to be refitted and become a part of the energy transition, or they will become relics of a bygone era. Oceanco has a total fleet of 38 superyachts, so it's entirely possible to imagine a future where every yacht ever built by Oceanco is running on sustainable fuels. This is not just a fantasy for Oceanco, but a genuine target that they would like to reach.
“The energy transition is actually the most important focus for us because it's all about how we can decrease our dependence on fossil fuels.” Baloumis reveals, “The interesting thing about this is that we all talk about it in the industry but no one has the magic formula - nobody can say it's going to be this or it's going to be that. So we are moving forward and we are making sure that everything we're building now becomes future-proof. That means that with the way we build yachts now, we are going to be able to refit the vessels to accommodate future fuels, whether it is synthetic fuel or methanol or batteries.”
While it is vital more businesses focus on making the existing fleet more sustainable vessels, the fact of the matter is that the majority of these yachts were not built with refit in mind. This means that the yard not only has to cope with the inevitable challenges that come with trying to incorporate new technology on an old vessel, but it also means that the actually physical refit process will be long, expensive, and not very environmentally friendly. Fortunately, new build yards are now taking this into further consideration even if it does come at a price.
Baloumis continues, “We want owners of Oceanco yachts to be able to upgrade their vessels. That does mean it is more expensive to build initially because you have to think about denser fuels, bigger tanks, different kinds of insulation, and different safety regulations for possible future fuels. At the same time, we think that this is the right way to go because...
"New technologies are coming and you need to anticipate them and have a yacht that will be suitable in a new era.”
Oceanco turning a sharp focus towards sustainability and the refit sector is, generally speaking, good news for the entire industry. Oceanco have a vision that stretches across decades, and a twenty-minute one-on-one chat with Paris Baloumis is enough to convince anyone that while the rest of the competition is playing checkers, Oceanco is playing chess. To keep up to date with all the latest news regarding Oceanco’s refit and learn more about the Lucky Lady project, be sure to sign up as an Essential Member…
Click here to become part of The Superyacht Group community, and join us in our mission to make this industry accessible to all, and prosperous for the long-term. We are offering access to the superyacht industry’s most comprehensive and longstanding archive of business-critical information, as well as a comprehensive, real-time superyacht fleet database, for just £10 per month, because we are One Industry with One Mission. Sign up here.