STORY Commercial Marine

Shuttle to paradise

Posted on June 30, 2011 by Emilyn Ang, Images by Black Box Photography

An mtu ValueCare maintenance contract provides reliable protection coupled with cost security.
Tanah Meran, Singapur

Is there a better job than transporting people to paradise? Certainly
not for captain Simon Say from Singapore. He ferries his passengers to
the Bintan Resorts and proudly boasts never to have cancelled a crossing
for the past 16 years. To make sure that record is maintained, his
company has now taken out a ValueCare maintenance contract for
the engines of its two newest catamarans. It will provide for reliable
cover combined with predictable costs.

With sunny blue skies and warm weather averaging 26 degree Celsius all year around, Bintan island is the perfect weekend getaway for families and couples, providing a restful break from city life.

It’s 9.30 am on a Friday morning – and the Sathish family is ready to board the ferry to Bintan for the very first time. The kids are running around excitedly as Mrs Gagi Sathish keeps a watchful eye from afar. ”I’ve heard from friends and family that it’s a really nice place”, she says, as she calls for them to approach. Sachin and Shakthi, 10 and 5 years old respectively, run towards their mother, speaking excitedly of the activities they will be embarking on at Bintan. ”I’m going to go swimming and do all kinds of water sports for two days!” declares Sachin, whilst pestering his mother to show off his new toys purchased specially for the trip. Amidst the excited chatter and laughter rising in the air, it is clear that their weekend will be focused on enjoying authentic Indonesian cuisine, water activities, jungle trekking, heritage tours and other exciting plans.

Singapore to Bintan: Less than an hour to Paradise

Bintan, an island in the Riau archipelago of Indonesia, houses a population of about 200,000 people with an exotic mix of cultures like Malay, Bugis, Chinese and the Orang Laut (sea people). This island acts as a major domestic seaport for the Riau Islands and is a port of call for shipping companies today. Spanning a land area of 1,140 square kilometres, this island is a little piece of paradise that is also home to nature’s deep tropical forests, a paradise of water sports and an idyllic weekend destination. With sunny blue skies and warm weather averaging 26 degree Celsius all year around, Bintan island is the perfect weekend getaway for families and couples, providing a restful break from city life.

Compact and powerful engines

Operations Manager Kan Yew Fai is particularly impressed by the power of the mtu engines which can take his vessels up to a top speed of 40 knots.

For anyone who doesn’t want to pay the cost of an air ticket, the journey to the island starts on board a ferry operated by Bintan Resort Ferries, which was established in 1994. In a shade under an hour, the high-speed catamarans convey the holidaymakers from Singapore to Bintan. “For Bintan Resort Ferries or any ferry operator, the main thing is having the right machinery parts. The main engine is the heart of the vessel and must be able to perform”, says Mr Kan Yew Fai, Operations Manager, Bintan Resort Ferries. With such high payload vessels, machinery space is a key constraint – hence, small but powerful engines are necessary to transfer the optimum number of passengers to their destination quickly and safely. The four mtu Type 16V 2000 M72 propulsion units can propel each of the ferries at speeds up to 40 knots. Nevertheless, the craft rarely exceed 30 knots as that keeps the crossing more comfortable for the passengers.

mtu engines are safe and reliable”

It is shortly before 11 a.m. Before the first passengers board his ship, Captain Simon Say completes his routine inspection of the decks. All equipment is set up, the vessel is clean, and he starts the engines and checks navigational systems. The kiosk is ready, where attendants are busy warming delicious hotdogs and pies for passengers, and coffee and tea is ready to be served in Emerald Class, the premium class and latest signature effort to enhancepassengers’ travel experience between Singapore and Bintan Resorts. The ten crew on board the vessel are ready with a full load of passengers, the captain clears the passengers manifest and ensures all documentation is in place. “Like any other business, safety in the maritime industry is a key priority”, he says, adding that, “mtu engines are safe; you’ve never heard of anything going wrong in the industry”. He has been sailor for 18 years and can’t imagine a more enjoyable job.

Bintan Resort Ferries typically operate five to six daily trips between Bintan Island and Singapore, ferrying 333,309 passengers last year. “Our reputation is built on the fact that over the past 16 years, we have never cancelled a single ferry trip”, Mr Kan Yew Fai adds. In 2011, their total combined uptime was well over 85% percent, an impressive feat in today’s challenging maritime environment. In the ferry industry, higher level of availability equates higher sales revenue.

Four mtu Series 2000 engines power the catamaran on its voyage to paradise. An MTU_Value Care maintenance contract guarantees the highest possible availability.

Maintenance contract increases availability

And with high passenger numbers, he needs a team that focuses on preventive maintenance so that engine component failures don’t happen in the first place. With safety as their top priority, they currently invest in a mtu ValueCare maintenance contract, ensuring that their latest 2 stateof-the-art catamaran ferries each powered by
four mtu 16V 2000 M72 engines are available for uninterrupted service, 365 days per year. For the next 10,000 hours or 5 years of operation, the ferry operator can expect trouble-free operation from his engines, ensuring safety and peace of mind for all crew and passengers. And if ever necessary for technical reasons, newer versions of the genuine spare parts are fitted for optimum support. Servicing by original engine manufacturers is crucial; as it increases the value of the ships should they be resold at a later date. Mr Davis Ong, Senior Manager Aftersales, Tognum Asia recounts early days of working with Bintan Resort Ferries, and providing ad hoc services for repair and maintenance, before customising an after sales contract that was best suited to their needs. “We believe in providing genuine parts and support – we do it once and do it right. Customers are assured of the lowest downtime from us”, he says confidently. Another special feature is the Remote Service system. It allows MTU Asia technicians to monitor engine data remotely. The information is stored in a small silver box in the ship’s engine room and transmitted to the mtu server via the mobile phone network. If the mtu staff detect problems on an engine, they can respond immediately. Minor servicing operations on the engines are carried out by the Bintan Resort Ferries mechanics themselves; they have been trained by mtu especially for the task.

Maximum cost certainty while ensuring the optimum level of maintenance for mtu engines, safeguarding their long-term operation, performance and value is highly prized. “The comprehensive preventive and corrective maintenance and repair package agreed by Bintan Resort ferries and mtu in Asia includes a fixed hourly rate. This is the first time a ferry customer in Asia has chosen this kind of after sales arrangement,” said Mr. Davis Ong, Tognum Asia.

11.10 am: Captain calls, and we’re ready to go

«mtu engines are safe; you’ve never heard of anything going wrong in the industry.» Simon Say, Captain Bintan Resort Ferries

All of a sudden, the UHF radio crackles and captain Say announces: “East Control, Wan Seri Beni, departing Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal, 200 passengers and ten crew on board”, says Captain Say through the VHF (Very High Frequency) radio. With this level of care before every journey, it is no surprise that safety is his utmost priority. “As captain, you are the master or father figure of the ship; you need to take care of safety, security, engineering, and other marine elements. It’s not as easy as it looks”, he says.

The ship departs on time at 11:10 a.m. In bright sunshine under a clear blue sky, it crosses the China Sea at 30 knots while the passengers relax and enjoy the trip. All around there are happy faces as the holidaymakers look forward to a few perfect days in paradise.

The operator Bintan Resort Ferries has never had to cancel a crossing. And to make sure that doesn’t change, the latest mtu engines on the company’s ferries are covered by an mtu Value Care maintenance contract.

On the way, operations manager Kan Yew Fai tells of his cooperation with MTU Asia. “Our aim is the same – we cannot afford any downtime, what we need is effective maintenance support,” says Mr Kan Yew Fai. He considers this an effective working friendship, and it’s easy to see. Conversationflows easily. And when it comes to business, Tognum Asia is responsive and quick on corrective and preventive actions. “They implement upgrading performance measures by replacing new improved spares automatically, troubleshoot and tell you what’s wrong and even suggest more cost effective alternatives”, he exclaims – a rarity in today’s challenging business environment.

Bintan Resorts Ferries’ Chief Engineer, Mr See Ngiap Seng agrees. “Tognum Asia provides good quality of work – it’s very easy to get spare parts and extremely convenient for ferry operators.” As the head of mechanical issues, he explains how it is crucial to keep ferries moving and maintain maximum ticket sales. He explains how these 16V 2000 M72 engines on 2 of their latest vessels use a common rail technology, which results in higher power and fuel efficiency allowing passengers to arrive at their destination safely and comfortably. Fuel efficiency is important in today’s volatile energy price environment as one of the key concerns for ferry operators is fuel cost, which makes up more than 80 percent of its entire operational costs.

Paradise in miniature: The Bintan Islands are less than an hour’s ferry trip from Singapore and provide a holiday destination for many who are eager to escape the city.

Less than an hour after leaving Singapore, the ferry docks on Bintan Island. The passengers disembark excitedly. Ahead of them are several days or weeks in an island paradise in the South China Sea. The destination for the Sathish family is the Nirvana Gardens Resort, one of the island’s fours holiday resorts. It is an aptly chosen name as nirvana translates as “perfect happiness”.

Point of contact

Davis Ong
+ 65 6860 9753

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