News Article 19/10/2009

An Abstract from the article Chemical/product tankers at the vanguard of German investments
Tanker Operator, Industry/ Focus on Germany, October 2009, p.16


Tanker deliveries
Meanwhile, relative newcomer Offen Tankers, an offshoot of the Claus-Peter Offen group, has started taking delivery of the next series of product tankers.

At the end of last year, Offen Tankers took delivery of the eighth and last in a series of 36,000 dwt Ice class 1 A chemical/product tanker- CPO England. All eight are operated together with another eight similar vessels in a commercial co-operation agreement with Brostrφm, Paris, today part of the AP Mφller/Maersk group.

Following the delivery of the series of smaller vessels, in June of this year, the first of eight 52,000 dwt oil and product tankers - CPO Korea - was delivered by Hyundai Mipo. All eight will be commercially operated by ST Shipping, Glencore''s shipping arm.

Offen Tankers head Stephan Polomsky explained that the company always upgrades the original good specification of the Hyundai Mipo designs by a substantial amount above the normal contract price on these tanker types.
The enhancements and improvements include the use of European equipment manufacturers and extra features like Ice Class, the fitting of bow thrusters, as well as extra pumping, IG and tank cleaning capacities. Polomsky explained that these upgrades and improvements were aimed at achieving faster turnaround times during cargo operation, that is when loading, discharging and tank cleaning.

"We are new, so we can think new and future - orientated," he explained. Each tanker is fitted with a dual ECDIS system and thus no paper charts are carried. A network of around 10 PCs is installed on each ship utilising the management system Ulysses'' Task Assistant compromising the function of planned maintenance (PMS), purchasing and quality management.

"This is not only a quality management system, it is user friendly and follows a predefined workflow, which means that we are virtually paperless," he explained. "Everything is integrated in one system on the ship and in the office, double entries are avoided and all steps/actions are traceable."

He also said that by using this system, QA audits and vetting results are worked out much faster.
"We use inspections to improve our operation and performance. Due to the systems installed, everybody is ''hooked up'' in the workflow and communications channels. This allows the company communicate feedback and lessons to learn. We can develop very fast and change very fast," Polomsky claimed.

When it came to vetting, an in-house vetting inspector is always on board of the inspected vessels. This move is not only aimed at assisting the crew during the vetting, but also one of the major concerns and obligation to maintain safe operation during discharge, Polomsky explained. "From the very beginning," he said, "safe and quality operation at the highest standard is our target."

There are presently 16 people sitting in Offen Tanker''s office in Hamburg and due the company being a subsidiary of a major shipowner/manager, it is using the synergies for some tasks, such as purchasing. Also for the Polish officers employed on CP Offen''s containerships and in the tanker division the same agency is used.
When the last 52,000 dwt tanker will be delivered in 2011 the Claus-Peter Offen group will have built 36 vessels at Hyundai Mipo.
The first tankers ordered were converted 1,800 teu containerships and formed the milestone for the new tanker activity.
Last year, Offen Tankers took delivery of eight vessels in roughly seven months and beside intensive supervision at the building yard (up to 14 people) the crewing, purchasing and technical management had to be put in place very quickly. Operational assistance with tank cleaning experience was also needed and was implemented in parallel.
One of the companies highlights and main focus was and is crew selection, training and familiarization. Therefore, an intensive briefing/training period is held usually taking the form of a five day session in the office.
Cadets are carried on board the tankers and Offen Tankers'' employs a training master who goes from ship-to-ship for hands-on training and further education.
According to the entrance criteria at Offen Tankers, all officers and crew should have spent an adequate number of years serving on similar tankers. On many trips an extra chief officer and/or chief engineer is carried. All these efforts together with the internal promotion scheme are aimed at accelerating the qualification and experience of the sea going personal.
Together with partner, Brostrom, Offen Tankers has developed an intensive quality reporting policy for near misses, etc and by highlighting lessons to be learned, standards and operational safety can be jointly improved, Polomsky said.
Offen also runs a small competition to encourage the seafarers and others to come up with good suggestions for improving vessel operations.