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Asturian Shipyards ensure the workload until 2021 and expect a «promising» future

Gondán is reoriented towards oceanographic and fishery factories and Armón diversifies with tuna vessels, offshore vessels and trawlers

The Asturian shipyards have a guaranteed workload, at least, until 2021 and look to the future with some optimism. The serious economic recession and the crisis of the 'tax lease' became a headache for the naval sector for almost a decade. It is estimated that the losses in the whole of Spain was more than 2,000 million euros. They wreaked havoc, of which the shipyards are still recovering.

However, the prospects are good. The employer's organization of the sector, Pymar -whose president is Álvaro Platero, general director of the Asturian shipyard Gondan-, emphasizes that the shipbuilding already accumulates two consecutive years of interannual increase of orders, and confirms the improvement of the sector .

"We are working well in recent years. Our flexibility and experience in different markets allows us to see the near future as promising, "said Ricardo García, commercial director of Armón. In fact, they have increased the staff in Gijón and in the other shipyards, althought in a "moderate" way, and García notes that little by little they are stabilizing.

Currently they are building up to 17 vessels, including tuna and freezer trawlers, catamarans and also an offshore vessel, that is, destined to support offshore platforms such as oil rigs. In this last typology the most recent order of the shipyard is included. It is a ship with an on-board treatment plant capable of extracting and producing up to 20,000 barrels of oil per day. Although Armón has already made more than fifteen production, storage and unloading vessels, it will be the first to carry out works directly on oil wells located in the North Sea and in the Gulf of Mexico for later exploitation. . It has 106 meters of length, 25 of beam and 12 of strut, has a heliport and it will accommodate up to 80 people.

Gondán, on the other hand, has also diversified its constructions, especially as a result of the collapse of the price of oil. "We were very present in the offshore market that was affected by a crisis that has not yet recovered," says Luis Mourelle, commercial manager of the shipyard. For this reason, they were reoriented towards sectors such as factory fishing, "very complex", or oceanographic, "with a lot of added value". With this bet they achieved that the levels of activity are now "acceptable". Also, the drop in oil benefited ferries and passenger ships, a section in which Gondán notes a "good growth" in recent years.

Among the most recent orders is the construction of a fishing boat of almost 70 meters in length. It is a modern freezer trawler that will be delivered to the Norwegian shipowner Engenes Fiskeriselskap AS, who for the first time contracted a construction in Spain. The design is the responsibility of the British company Rolls Royce Marine - which will also be responsible for supplying the main equipment - and will have a length of 69.9 meters and a beam of 16. The delivery to the owner is fixed for the first quarter of 2021 and will operate in the North Atlantic, specifically, in the waters of the Barents Sea and the archipelago of the Svalbard Islands.

Technological references
The Asturian shipyards are a benchmark in shipbuilding, due to their specialization in ships such as trawlers or those in the offshore sector, but also because of the "high technology" used in the manufacturing process. This is what was highlighted by the Soermar Technology Center Foundation, last June during the presentation in Gijón of the R + D + i Vision 2030 project.

Both Armón and Gondán apply new technologies in most production phases, with automated systems to optimize the process and adjust to delivery times.


(Source: El Comercio)

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