Dales Marine Services Ltd
Dales Engineering was founded in 1987, and it was under this parent umbrella that Dales Marine Services Ltd was subsequently established in Aberdeen in 1991.
As a result of the success of the business in the area, and client demands, the Leith dry dock near Edinburgh was opened in 2010. As such, Dales Marine Services today operates from three sites around the Scottish offshore hub in Aberdeen, Leith and Montrose, offering engineering and fabrication services to a range of industries.
Well known for its proven ability to produce quality work to high specification within tight schedules, Dales Marine Services has built up a client base that takes in major oil companies, international subsea contractors, civil engineering, and power generation companies. Customers within this spectrum include Vroon, North Star Shipping, Gulf Offshore, Atlantic Offshore, DOF, Calmac, Targe Towing, Farsyad, ER Offshore, Great Offshore, Subsea 7, Technip, Stork, ISS, KD Marine, Acergy, Intermoor, Viking Seatech, Stena Drilling and Saipem UK.
“With fully operating dry docks in Aberdeen and Leith we have the facilities to dock a variety of ships including supply boats, ferries and fishing vessels for ship repair and conversion, maintenance, and related projects,” describes company director Michael Milne. “We also have extensive workshop space and considerable experience and expertise in the fabrication of structural steelworks and pipe spools for topside applications. Dales Marine Services has frequently been called upon to engineer and fabricate highly specialised structures and equipment in carbon steel, stainless steel, and non-ferrous materials.”
Dales Marine Services’ highly experienced and qualified workforce are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and at short notice, with the resources to travel the country to fulfil requirements. The company has also ventured further afield to carry out works in the Canaries, Ascension, and the Falkland Islands. “Our skilled workforce have the ability to turnaround jobs at record time, and still to the highest quality, in order to meet offshore demands, and often exceed client expectations,” highlights Michael.
“Our core business is in scheduled dry dockings, with the majority of vessels requiring full overhauls, as these are priority due to the very tight offshore schedules. We also fit in emergency dockings for vital repairs. Having the two largest commercial dry docks in Scotland we always try to accommodate around 25 per cent of our dockings being for emergency repairs organised at last minute with a quick turnaround. We offer the ability to double dock vessels both in Aberdeen and Leith, with a number of clients using this as a way to reduce costs,” he continues.
Dales Marine Services not only offers services in the dry dock though, but also for vessels alongside any harbour. This includes ship repair and maintenance activities, and even fabrication services to vessel and offshore clients with mobilisation and demobilisations in offshore equipment during the project season. “At the moment there is a high demand for mobilisations for offshore work, mainly on offshore construction vessels. These are mostly performed while the vessels are alongside, and to a very tight schedule. We are well regarded in the supply of labour, plant, and materials for these requirements, which we carry out not only in Aberdeen and Leith, but also in most of the deep water ports in Scotland, and Northern England,” elaborates Michael.
The company’s ability to complete services on vessels alongside, offshore and in sea-going mode, as well as in the dock, is a direct result of the fact that Dales Marine Services recognises that vessels do not only require maintenance as planned. The high demands of the offshore industry means that often a vessel will only be alongside for a short period of time, and given the range of services that Dales Marine Services can provide at short notice, the company finds itself often contacted as the vessel is coming into the harbour so its teams can be onboard as soon as it berths. Once again it then comes down to the skill of its employees to complete a job to a high standard and in a short time, that means the vessel is often ready to sail again in a matter of hours.
Much of the company’s recent internal activity has been based around maintaining this level of offering. “We carried out a major refurbishment on the dry dock in Leith, which reopened in 2010, which has given us the ability to accommodate a larger number of vessels throughout the year. We have recently extended our fabrication workshop in Aberdeen by 60 per cent and our engineering workshop by 30 per cent, which has meant increased business on the fabrication side of things as we can now accommodate much larger jobs. We are also looking to extend the leases at both docks in 2013 for approximately another 20 years,” outlines Michael.
He continues: “Our services haven’t changed dramatically but they are expanding and continually moving with the times as our workforce constantly face new challenges as the oil and gas industry develops. We offer a bespoke service that no one else does so this is where we concentrate our efforts. There are many companies that do a little bit of everything which distracts from their core business, whereas at Dales Marine Services we offer the full range of services, which means we can fulfil client requirements from start to finish.”
Whilst other parts of the country may have suffered under the recession, the year round presence of the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen means that the region remains busy despite any external factors. “Vessels are required all year round meaning that vessel repairs are required all year round as well,” notes Michael. “It is because of this demand that we need to work 365 days a year and offer a 24 hour a day service. We have recently completed two mezzanine decks including installation onboard vessels along with diving spreads. We also successfully completed the conversion of the Far Scotia offshore vessel, being our largest project to date, which included the prefabrication of the new module and installation during the six-week conversion programme. The market for us seems quite buoyant just now, and we already have over 20 dry dockings scheduled for 2013 and several tentative enquiries ongoing.”
Although this does not mean things have simply been plain sailing for Dales Marine Services, the company is regarding the future with a positive outlook, as the offshore industry’s demand for high quality services and a fast turnaround look unlikely to wane. “Recent times have been hard, but we have been lucky to have good clients who appreciate a good service,” concludes Michael. “We would like to retain these clients, and also extend our customer base by encouraging new contracts with companies who require the personalised services we can offer. It is also our ambition to take on larger projects like conversions, which would be ideally suited to our Leith facility where long-term berths are available. There are a number of ongoing enquiries at the moment that will allow us to plan ahead in these matters. Ultimately though, the continued success of Dales Marine Services is mainly down to a great and dependable workforce without which, as a service company, we would not be where we are today.”
Dales Marine Services Ltd
Services: Engineering and fabrication