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Portuguese repair yard Navalrocha stays busy

Written by Nick Blenkey
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MM Marine Inc. tanker in dry dock at Navalrocha

Lisbon, Portugal, based ship repair yard Navalrocha has been bustling this year, even while navigating the COVID-19 outbreak. Notable jobs have included completing a multi-million Euro refit of a seismic survey ship and managing its first ballast water treatment system installation.

“In these extraordinary times Navalrocha continues to be active and operational,” says commercial director Sergio Rodrigues. “We are carefully navigating our way through the pandemic to ensure our shipyard remains safe, healthy and open for business in order to provide our clients with fast, reliable and efficient ship repair solutions. Following several landmark projects in the first half of 2020 we are now looking to the future with optimism and a busy order book for the third and fourth quarters of the year. While these are uncertain times our sights remain firmly fixed on remaining active and driving growth in key markets. Our order book for the second half of 2020 involves a steady stream of projects including three high profile BWTS installations, as we further cement our position as a specialist in this area.”

Navalrocha commercial director Sergio Rodrigues

Looking at key growth markets, Rodrigues says that Navalrocha is also enjoying significant success in the research vessel and tugboat sectors. The yard is well placed to cater for the LPG, product carrier and small-scale LNG markets due to its proximity to major Portuguese ports including Sines, Leixoes and Aveiro, while its competitive rates, fast turnaround times, reliability and growing track record place the shipyard in a strong position to capitalize on this expanding market.


Navalrocha’s first project in 2020 involved a multi-million Euro refit for Dubai-based marine geophysical company Polarcus. The yard worked on the ultra-modern 14 streamer 3D/4D seismic vessel Polarcus Naila, which is among the most environmentally advanced seismic vessels in the world, involving mechanical, hydraulic, piping, steel work, blasting and painting as well as oil, fuel and ballast tank cleaning, carpentry and welding. Around 350 engineers were involved in the contract which required careful management of high-value survey equipment.

“The Polarcus project helps highlight one of our yard’s significant advantages, which is the scale of our graving docks,” said Rodrigues. “This opens the door to many more projects involving seismic survey vessels and ships with similar dimensions such as OSVs, PSVs and AHTs. The deal came shortly after we delivered our first ever BWTS project for the Paxoi bunker tanker capping off a highly memorable period in the shipyard’s history.”

In late January Naval Rocha welcomed the Ice Lady Patagonia II catamaran sailing yacht for a seven-day repair project involving work to propeller shafts and the rudder system as well as scraping and high pressure washing to the hull. This followed an underwater inspection from a team of divers. Another standout project in early 2020 involved the Santa Maria Manuela sailing vessel which underwent a reclassification in Dock 2. The 19-day project saw a range of work carried out including blasting, painting, mechanical work, piping and tank treatment.


February saw the arrival of the MM Marine Inc. bunkering tanker Andros, which was docked for 15 days during which Navalrocha worked alongside its in-yard partner Step Consolidated to install an Alfa Laval BWTS.

“In order to maximize speed and efficiency our engineers fabricated new pipes before the vessel arrived after requesting 3D CAD drawings from the vessel management team,” says Rodrigues. “Prefabrication work involved anti-corrosion treatment with the application of zinc coating through deep carbonization.”

In Spring, Navalrocha docked the tugboat Castelo de Sines, operated by Rebonave, for classification survey work that involved blasting, repair work to the propulsion system and full-scale painting. This project was followed by the arrival of two ocean tugs under a new contract with Dutch operator ALP Marine Services.

Moving into early Summer, Naval Rocha completed a pier side project for the SeaDream II cruise vessel. Minor repair work involved steel work and piping. Shortly after a second tugboat, Reboport’s Monforte, arrived for classification work. This 20-day project involved mechanical, piping renewal and blasting.

Rodrigues says one of Navalrocha’s greatest assets is its strategic location in the sheltered Tagus Bay with more than 300 days of sunshine every year.

“Our yard is able to offer a fast and cost-effective solution to ship companies looking to avoid the congested Strait of Gibraltar or Mediterranean,” he says. “The scale of the operation, with three dedicated dry docks, also places us at an advantage ensuring every project receives priority treatment from a 70-strong workforce and cluster of sub-contractors based on site.”

Operations in the first half of this year have included the tandem drydocking of two ALP ocean tugs.
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