Intership Navigation (ISN) also continues to diversify and now manages some 46 vessels, many of which belong in part to the Hartmann Group of Germany, as well as carrying out newbuilding supervision for some 41 vessels under construction. The latter include 17 feeder container vessels of 629 teu building in China for a new Mini Container Pool (MCP) announced last year that will be managed commercially from Cyprus. SN itself will also operate five of the vessels, all geared, while the remainder (gearless) will be run by Dutch and German managers.
Otherwise ISN is expanding in its core businesses of dry bulk and product tankers. This year it will receive two 75,000dwt panamax products carriers from Onomichi - to be managed by its affiliate Donnelly Tanker Management. These will be followed next year by four 40,000dwt MR units from the same group’s Saiki yard, where the Cyprus company also has five 31,000dwt and three 38,000dwt handy size bulkers on order.
In fact, ISN is a great believer in sticking to yards that it knows. It placed its first orders with Onomichi 14 years ago for what were then highly innovative double hull handy size bulkers. Operations manager Dieter Rohdenburg explains that this was primarily because double hulls allow easier changing of cargoes, and that staying loyal to the same yard group means it now enjoys ‘a very close relationship and attractive prices
By the same token in China SN has stuck with New Century Shipyard (formerly Jing Jiang), which helped develop the design for the MCP ships building at the small yard of Shandong Huanghai in Dalian Bay - where New Century is also providing support in the form of quality supervision of the yard which until now has built mainly fishing vessels. Earmarked for expansion, Shandong Huanghai is described as ‘very promising’ by Rohdenburg who says the company also plans to build six 25,000dwt bulkers there.
One issue preoccupying ISN at present is manning, where the ‘poaching’ of experienced
officers, particularly for tankers, is becoming more widespread. As a result the company s
turning its attention to ‘social packages’ - such as seafarers pension schemes, free shore-to-ship communications for their families and financial counseling, in a bid to increase retention rates.
By focusing on retention ISN is in effect protecting the heavy investment it has made in its own Training School in the Philippines, first set up 13 years ago. The School now boasts the unique feature of being equipped with two interconnected full mission bridge simulators connected to engine simulators, thereby allowing the replication of close-quarter encounters, and is used for third party training as well. “A commitment to training takes time, says Rohdenburg. ‘You can’t just buy in and become a ‘good guy’ overnight.’