(SEIMSFOSS, Norway) — Harding has been awarded contracts to deliver innovative lifeboats, tender vessels and davits to a major cruise line.
Out of the cruise segment since 2013, SOLAS leader Harding used the timeout to rethink its relationship to cruise owners and shipyards, and redesign its core products to meet the latest demands of the industry. The first deliveries will go to a leading cruise line, whose name had not been made public at the time of this release.
“To become the chosen supplier for this prestigious project, we had to show that we could come up with something new, both to the owner and to the shipyard,” said Harding CEO Styrk Bekkenes. “Getting contracts with world leaders is really a feather in our cap."
Bekkenes emphasized the critical nature of relationships between suppliers, yards, and owners: “Convincing the shipyard that we had products that would meet the cruise lines’ high standards was our first challenge. Winning the confidence of a benchmark shipyard confirmed that we were back on the right track in the cruise segment.”
The new Harding lifeboats are two stories unto themselves — a novel double-decker design that enables a record passenger capacity of 440. “Not only do the new boats carry more people, they are easier to load and unload, because each deck has two entrances,” said Hallvard E. Skaare, cruise sales director. The new design also shrinks the waterline, saving valuable space shipboard, while offering a roomier interior on board the lifeboat. “The comfort level is far above the present industry standard," he said.
The new lifeboats look so good passengers might find themselves wishing they could take one for a spin. The good news is, with Harding’s equally attractive tender vessels, they can.
“Cruise owners want passengers to be immersed in the cruise experience from the time they set foot on board, and transportation to and from shore is part of that total experience,” said Skaare.
With air conditioning, roomy and comfortable seats, and an ultramodern design, the new tenders will be an integral part of a new cruise concept. And Harding is taking it one step further. Even the davits used to lower and retrieve lifeboats and tenders have undergone a transformation.
“The davits Harding supplies to the offshore industry are completely enclosed. This is for safety and maintenance purposes offshore, but an enclosed davit, designed for cruise, meets an aesthetic need as well,” said Skaare.
No more rust stains, greasy wires, or scary-looking gears. Harding’s all-enclosed davits are sleek and elegant, enhancing rather than detracting from the ship’s overall appearance. And while pleasing passengers is the ultimate goal of a cruise line, lower maintenance and easier cleaning with the modern davits are added benefits that owners and operators can smile about from shore.
So does all this innovation at once present risks?
“We have been in the marine safety business since 1928. This is innovation based on proven engineering,” said Bekkenes.
In both scope and value, the new cruise contract represents the biggest to date for Harding Safety AS. ”We took the chance, and it paid off. This new contract gives us a renewed and important foothold in the cruise industry, at a time when the offshore market is suffering due to low oil prices,” said Bjørn Sturle Hillestad, global sales and marketing director in Harding Safety.
Harding will deliver a total of:
• 12 440-person lifeboats
• 24 230-person lifeboat/tenders
• 36 PD55 DM davits
• Six rescue boat stations
The contract also includes options for further deliveries.