Siem Ship Management is one of the main companies of the Norwegian-British group Siem Shipping. Its most important branch operates in Gdynia, Poland. It deals with the complete technical and operational management of commercial vessels of various types, including the recently built, ultra-modern LNG-powered Honfleur passenger-car ferry, recently renamed Rusadir.
SSM Poland’s Board of Directors was very proud to confirm the completion of this technically and logistically challenging project and the signing of a cooperation agreement with Spanish shipowner Balearia.
Rusadir is the first car-passenger ferry under the ‘wings’ of Siem Ship Management. Not surprisingly, therefore, it aroused a lot of excitement. It attracted interest even before entering Gdynia due to the technical innovations used on this vessel and the very modern solutions related to marine environment protection.
The vessel’s construction began at Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft mbH & Co. KG (FSG). However, the partially equipped superstructure blocks were supplied by Polish shipyards Marine Projects Ltd and Holm Construction Ltd from Gdańsk. At the turn of 2021, it was decided that the ferry would be retrofitted and completed by the Norwegian shipyard Fosen Yard in Rissa near Trondheim.
The Ro-Pax Rusadir features 187m in length, 31m in breadth, 6.6m of the draft, 42,500 GT, 6080t DWT, 1,680 passenger seats, and 261 cabins – including LUX and VIP class cabins. It can transport 550 passenger cars and has 2,600 lane metres.
The vessel is very modern and environmentally friendly. Its propulsion consists of electric motors driven by generators powered by conventional fuel and LNG (dual-fuel).
As of December 2021, the ferry was formally owned by Siem Shipping Inc. In mid-2022, the ship left the Fosen Yard and arrived in Gdynia to continue outfitting the passenger, shop, cinema, and restaurant areas covering decks 8 and 9, including the communication spaces. During this work, top-class materials and technology were used. The work was carried out with both foreign and domestic experienced subcontractors. The goal of workmanship, as well as a high standard of use, was achieved 100 per cent, in line with the company’s philosophy, which is known for always focusing on high quality and full satisfaction of its customers.
At the same time, some technical and certification job was being carried out to achieve full compliance with the principles of safe passenger ship navigation. The ship set sail on its maiden voyage to Spain on Saturday, 25 March.
Innovative ferries are ‘pride, boast and power.’
Siem Ship Management, still under its previous name STAR Reefers Poland (the company changed its name in July 2015), became mainly famous for its state-of-the-art fleet of refrigerated cargo ships. To date, there are still more than a dozen vessels of this type under its management. Among other things, they sail on the long-standing charter of the Africa Express Line, which mainly transports bananas from plantations located in Africa. It is worth pointing out that around 20 per cent of these fruits go to the European market and are imported by SSM Poland ships.
In addition to the aforementioned refrigerated vessels, the company manages Ro-Ro vessels: Leevsten and Liekut, which were also built at FSG and delivered in 2019. The Leevsten operates in the Mediterranean between ports in Tunisia, Italy, and France, while the Liekut has been chartered and sails between Australia and Tasmania.
Car carriers – there are now as many as six – are another type of ship under the technical management of SSM Poland of Gdynia and, as the company’s representatives point out, they are “a pride, boast and powerhouse”. Two of them: SIEM Confucius and SIEM Aristotle, are the first ships in the world, so large and powered by natural gas, operated in ocean shipping. They can transport more than 8,000 cars.
Another interesting vessel is the SIEM Cicero, on which decks have been made of innovative plastic to relieve pressure on the ship’s upper part and improve its stability. This saves around 600 tonnes of steel. This also significantly impacts the vessel’s speed and fuel consumption, fitting with SIEM Ship Management’s ‘green’ strategy.
This was the first solution of its kind in the world on such a large scale, for which the vessel and the company received the JEC Innovation Award 2018. It is worth noting that the SIEM Copernicus car carrier also joined the fleet this year. The company plans to purchase and build more in the coming years. However, its business plans do not reveal specifically which ships these will be and when they will come under the Gdynia branch’s management.
Siem Ship Management deals with the complete operation of merchant ships, which means the full technical service, including the supply of ships, ensuring the safety of navigation, and the employment of crews. Individual departments of the Gdynia-based company are responsible for these activities. As the company’s management adds – all employees of the technical division and the quality and safety department come from the fleet sailing officers, showing their shipping awareness and knowledge.
“When it comes to our crews on the ships, most of them have been with us for many years. Many captains have been working with us since cadet. People are eager to come back to us, they are aware that we treat the whole company as our joint family business, where trust and cooperation are the basis,” reports Siem Ship Management.
They are mainly Poles, Ukrainians, and Russians. Surprisingly, given the current geopolitical situation, no single ship is manned exclusively by one or the other nationality group. They are mixed crews, working together for many years. Every employee, regardless of nationality, has received full support and understanding.
With care for the environment
“We have been certified for many years with ISO 14001 and ISO 50001, among others, which are international standards used in environmental management. In addition to this, we belong to international associations, societies and organisations that promote sustainable development strategies. We support responsible resource management and comply with international environmental standards. Caring for the environment and promoting these strategies is one of our overarching goals. Collaborating with other organisations, drawing on each other’s collective resources of knowledge and experience undoubtedly multiplies the effects of these activities.” – reports Siem Ship Management’s management.
That is why, among other things, it is a member of the North American Marine Environment Protection Association (NAMEPA), a US organisation that promotes the protection of the marine environment, fosters sustainable industry practices, and educates seafarers, students and the general public on strategies to protect the global resources of oceans, lakes, and rivers.
NAMEPA certification is the highest environmental and sustainability achievement in the US. Membership includes respected classification societies, US universities, and the US Coast Guard. We are leaders in this area and have taken and continue to take on the highest environmental challenges.
Zero tolerance for alcohol
Siem Ship Management was the first shipping company in the world to equip its entire fleet with NOXCorp’s fully integrated ‘k-NOX’ sobriety monitoring and control systems. The device provides highly precise measurements of every person entering the ship, ensuring that all operations, maintenance work, loading, and discharging of the vessel are carried out, respecting all safety procedures and company policies.
“The use of this device is not due to our distrust of our employees, we are only trying to prevent incidents which, especially in the current situation, if they occur, could have dangerous consequences. The essence of using this solution, is to ensure maximum safety of the crew, the ship or the safe carriage of cargo, in accordance with the expectations of chartering companies and environmental protection, emphasise SSM Poland from Gdynia.