With top-of-the-line shipbuilding and maintenance facilities, ADSB is a strategic national asset for the UAE, partnering with naval and maritime authorities in implementing vital security and defence missions, excelling in vessel new build, repair, maintenance, refit, conversion, sustainment, and refurbishment, as well as engineering consultancy and technology deployment. David Massey, CEO of ADSB, speaks about the wide range of their vessel design portfolio and maritime operations
ADSB builds and operates three main naval programmes – corvettes, offshore patrol vessels, and fast patrol boats/interceptors – including the region’s largest naval shipbuilding programme for UAE Navy’s six Baynunah-class corvettes and the Arialah offshore patrol vessels. They also build landing craft, special mission vessels, as well as other vessels for the luxury and VIP market.
David Massey is CEO of ADSB, an EDGE entity that specialises in designing, building, and servicing of naval and commercial vessels. In this role, he is responsible for managing the overall operations of the company to maintain its position as strategic asset for the UAE and a commercially successful builder of warships and other vessels for the GCC region and beyond.
Over the last two and a half decades, ADSB has become one of the most experienced shipyards in the region specialising in the build and maintenance of naval and commercial vessels. Where does ADSB stand globally?
With a strong track record of operational excellence in naval capabilities, ADSB is the UAE’s trusted naval defence partner and a strategic national asset for the UAE. It supplies quality vessels and provides ongoing through-life support to the UAE Navy and the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA).
The company has also made a name for itself internationally as a provider of world-class shipbuilding and maintenance services, as its inclusion in several regional and global awards testifies. We have been finalists of the Seatrade Ship Repair Innovation Award, The Maritime Standard Innovation Award, The Maritime Standard Shipyard of the Year Award, and the Lloyd’s List Shipyard of the Year Award.
However, we should be realistic that while ADSB is a significant player in the GCC region, it is not yet a global player. However, the company has over the last year both enhanced its in-house design capabilities and has also acquired design IP, and now has a portfolio of internationally competitive designs in the 11 metre to 44 metre range, of which some of the prototypes can been seen at NAVDEX.
ADSB uses the latest technologiesto maximise fleet readiness, extend ship lifetimes, and lower overall lifecycle costs. Could you shed more light on its capabilities and state-of-the-art facilities?
We support naval and maritime authorities in implementing vital security and defence missions through vessel new build, repair, maintenance, refit, conversion, sustainment, and refurbishment, as well as engineering consultancy and technology deployment.
Our shipbuilding capabilities comprise the construction of highly complex vessels for navy and commercial customers. From fast interceptor boats to corvettes, our team has the know-how and technical background to build and service a wide range of vessels of all sizes.
In terms of facilities, we have a top-of-the-line main yard in Mussafah that spans more than 300,000m2. We also have a 2,000 tonne ship lift and can build up to 80 metres in length.
ADSB has built a series of special mission vessels for the Navy. Could you elaborate on your products and services in military shipbuilding?
ADSB builds and operates three main naval programmes – corvettes, offshore patrol vessels,and fast patrol boats/interceptors – including the region’s largest naval shipbuilding programme for UAE Navy’s six Baynunah-class corvettes and the Arialah offshore patrol vessels. We also build landing craft, special mission vessels, as well as other vessels for the luxury and VIP market.
Leveraging its shipbuilding and ship repair expertise, ADSB offers design, engineering, manufacturing, and implementation of all types of ship conversion projects. Could you share more details?
Working in close partnership with our clients, we can undertake everything from major repairs and conversions to the construction of modular units. In addition to mechanical and electrical refits work, and painting and blasting, ADSB is the leader in the region in complex combat systems integration. Combat systems now account for over half the whole life cost of a modern warship.
What are ADSB’s commercial shipbuilding activities? Also, what are the latest updates on your Small Boat Construction division?
ADSB offers extensive commercial repair and maintenance services to the non-military market, primarily but not exclusively, to the oil services industry. As aforementioned, ADSB has in the past undertaken several luxury and VIP build and maintenance projects.
Our Small Boat Construction division manufactures landing craft, high-speed interceptors, patrol boats, RHIBS (rigid hulled inflatable boats) and other specialist vessels for customers from the GCC region and beyond. The division operates a 9,000m2 state-of-the-art composite boat-building facilitythat can build and repair composite vessels up to 40m in length.
Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect ADSB’s business? How did you overcome the challenges?
The pandemic interrupted land-based material supply chains due to border closures, and deliveries of combat systems parts from European suppliers during the lockdown.
However, a more serious challenge was the threat of rapid transmission of the virus among the 500+ members of our workforce who live onsite, in many cases sharing rooms. ADSB was one of the first companies in the UAE to implement a weekly mass testing regime for all its onsite staff, and severely restricted access to the site from outside, while the administrative staff worked remotely.
Measures to contain the virus involved designating multiple buildings as isolation facilities for those who tested positive, quarantine for those exposed, and separate facilities for those who tested negative or recovered. Staff members were moved, sometimes every few days, where necessary. With a healthy workforce largely in their 20s to 40s, only a very small number of those who tested positive required hospital treatment. Despite the impact on workforce availability, ADSB never closed down, and maintained support to its customers throughout the pandemic, working with staff members who tested negative.
As commercial customers tried to mitigate the effect of vessels being off-charter or not being used in oil service operations, they brought forward some maintenance activities. Owing to this unexpected outcome, ADSB’s commercial repair and maintenance revenues for 2020 are significantly ahead of targets.
Although international movement restrictions impacted business development, we used this time to strengthen our design team and work on new projects. At IDEX, we are exhibiting the prototypes of several new vessels that have been completely designed and built by ADSBfor the first time.