In co-operation with the authorities, Rauma Marine Constructions has continued testing employees who are being released from quarantine at Rauma Shipyard for new corona infections. Testing ensures that workers returning to work at the shipyard are with certainty in full health.
On Tuesday, March 2, samples were taken from 235 individuals. By Wednesday afternoon, 16 new infections had been found in those tested. In total, 340 out of about 1,000 workers have now contracted corona infections related to the shipyard.
The corona tests enforced by the authorities for those who worked in the shipyard area will continue in cooperation with the shipyard on Thursday, March 4. All exposed and quarantined individuals will be tested before the end of quarantine. Only healthy employees are allowed to return to work.
RMC is actively monitoring the situation. The shipyard currently has enhanced security measures in place, which are followed by all operators in the area.
“It is clear that even more infections outside the shipyard may occur among network company employees. In line with our updated security plan, our network companies have now divided their employees into teams, making it significantly easier to identify and quarantine those exposed. We have also introduced stricter safety arrangements than those recommended by the government, such as requiring negative test results from those returning to work. In addition, we are currently planning to conduct random tests for those entering the shipyard area. This set of different measures is a great example of excellent cooperation between RMC, network companies, the City of Rauma and the health authorities”, says Jyrki Heinimaa, CEO of RMC.
Rauma Marine Constructions will continue to restart production in phases at Rauma shipyard this week. Authorities have placed around 800 shipyard production workers in quarantine due to possible exposure to the coronavirus. From Monday to Wednesday, RMC and health authorities are organising mass testing for RMC and network company employees, who are in the final stage of their quarantine. The testing will be done at the parking area outside the shipyard. After quarantine, you can only enter the shipyard with a negative test result and no exposure. This new policy is stricter than official instructions.
Production will be restarted at Rauma Marine Constructions’ shipyard this week. Production was run down on Friday, 19 February, after a cluster of coronavirus infections was detected among people working at the shipyard. Authorities tested everyone working at the shipyard and placed those with COVID-19 in isolation and those who had been exposed in quarantine.
This week, employees who are in the final stage of their quarantine will be tested again. RMC will organise a testing facility at the parking area outside the Rauma shipyard where authorities will conduct the testing from Monday to Wednesday. Safety measures will be strict.
“We want to help health authorities to avoid overburdening testing facilities, so we will offer the parking area outside the shipyard for mass testing. The people to be tested will arrive in cars, in predetermined groups that have been given time slots. They will wait for their turn in the car and can only leave the car when permission is given. After the test, each person will return to their accommodation in the same car group and wait for results there,” explains Jyrki Heinimaa, CEO & President of Rauma Marine Constructions.
Heinimaa emphasises that the network companies have been excellent partners for RMC in the planning and implementation of testing arrangements and that the cooperation has run smoothly.
Return to work is only possible in full health
Mass testing has revealed new cases where the transmission has occurred in quarantine, outside the shipyard. According to Heinimaa, new infections were to be expected, and health authorities have stated that more cases are likely to be found. Additional testing will help ensure that only those in full health return to work.
“Previously, self-quarantine as defined by official instructions was considered a sufficient measure before returning to work. Now, people who have been placed in official quarantine will be tested again to make sure that only those who are in full health will be released from quarantine and can return to work. People who test positive will be isolated, and their teammates will be placed in a new quarantine,” Heinimaa says.
In addition to the testing conducted by health authorities, RMC will begin to measure the body temperature of employees arriving to the shipyard for testing or work, using a thermal imaging camera. According to Heinimaa, measuring body temperature is part of the company’s new, stricter safety plan.
Production will be restarted in phases at the shipyard this week, and RMC has given its network partner companies strict safety instructions. For example, employees will arrive at work and take breaks in turns. Moreover, employees will be divided into separate teams that will share accommodation and work, take breaks and commute together. Everyone entering the shipyard must wear a mask, and mask wearing will be enforced.
Production at Rauma Marine Constructions’ shipyard in Rauma has resumed today, February 25 at 6 AM, after a week-long corona closure. Production will resume in stages in a controlled manner. The company closed production on Friday, February 19, last week, after a cluster of corona infections were uncovered among workers at the shipyard. Following this, authorities tested all employees of the shipyard and quarantined the exposed ones. Work will now slowly resume on Thursday and Friday (February 25-26), with a few dozen employees. The shipyard will be closed during the weekend, and the next group of workers will arrive at work on Monday, March 1.
RMC has reviewed both its own and its network’s operating practices during the closure. Although the shipyard has been operating according to official instructions for a long time, it has clearly not been to a sufficient standard, Jyrki Heinimaa, CEO of Rauma Marine Constructions, says.
“Everyone has done their best and acted according to official guidelines. At this stage, however, it has evidently not been enough. We are therefore enforcing even stricter guidelines and monitoring them closely together with our network partners. More attention will also be paid to the effectiveness of our communication, so that we can be sure that everyone working at the shipyard is aware of the guidelines and their significance also outside of official working hours. Compliance monitoring will be stepped up and RMC will require zero tolerance from all actors.”
According to Heinimaa, the company’s internal communication is multilingual. RMC will next assess whether there is a need to expand the range of languages to ensure that the instructions are fully comprehensible to everyone.
Work will be staggered, control over the use of the mask will be tightened
Going forward, work will be staggered, and movement around the shipyard will only be permitted in previously assigned, individual teams. In addition, lunch breaks and additional breaks will also be staggered more strongly than before. The shipyard has also enforced the use of masks, which is being monitored more strictly. Furthermore, Rauma Marine Constructions will organise health testing before entering the shipyard area in order to prevent the situation from recurring.
Heinimaa also emphasises that RMC takes the allegations made in the media that various actors in the network have forged their employees’ corona test certificates, extremely seriously.
“We have no knowledge of such activities. However, this is a serious accusation, and we are thoroughly investigating it,” says Heinimaa.
RMC decided to suspend production at the shipyard last week after the scale of the situation was revealed. The decision was made together with the authorities. The closing of the shipyard’s production was carried out systematically and in cooperation with all actors in the area.
Resuming production after the corona closure will begin in a composed and controlled manner. All the yard’s facilities have been cleaned and sanitised with extra attention and particularly strict safety measures are in place to ensure a safe working environment. In cooperation with the health authorities, Rauma Marine Constructions has specified its previous instructions by drafting a detailed safety plan, based on which production can be continued.
Rauma Marine Constructions will restart production at Rauma Shipyard in stages starting on Thursday 25 February. Production will resume at a calm pace and with small numbers of people.
“We will resume production in a restrained manner. On Thursday and Friday, only a few dozen workers who have not been at the shipyard during the corona exposure will return to work. There will be no working at the shipyard over the weekend so we can take the time to prepare for the following week. The next workers returning to the shipyard will arrive next Monday, and the number will be increased day by day. All measures aim to get production up and running in safe working conditions,” says Jyrki Heinimaa, CEO of Rauma Marine Constructions.
Even stricter safety measures
The shipyard has had extensive safety measures in place against corona infections for almost a year. Due to the current situation, all facilities in the shipyard area have been cleaned with extra care and sanitised on February 20–21. Moving forward, even more emphasis will be placed on strict safety measures to counter corona infections. RMC has planned the additional safety measures in active cooperation with the health authorities.
“Together with the health authorities, we have drafted a detailed safety plan to which our network companies are also committed. The plan and related instructions widely cover the entry into and operation in the shipyard area, as well as the rules and guidelines for example related to employees’ leisure time and living. We require negative test results from those returning to work. We will also increase random testing and, among other things, find out possibilities for quick testing when arriving to work. Entering the shipyard area while sick is not permitted,” Heinimaa says.
Catching up on ship project schedules will begin immediately
Rauma Marine Constructions currently has three ongoing ship projects: Wasaline’s new car and passenger ferry Aurora Botnia, Tallink’s car and passenger ferry MyStar, and a set of four multifunctional corvettes for the Finnish Defense Forces. The schedules for these projects are currently under review.
“By resuming production this week, we will ensure that these detailed safety measures work in practice before increasing the number of employees next week,” Heinimaa concludes.
In the past days, a cluster of corona infections was discovered at Rauma shipyard. Rauma Marine Constructions’ own personnel has not been infected but there have been multiple cases reported among the company’s network companies. Authorities have placed all exposed workers under quarantine for 14 days. Other employees working in the network will be tested during the rest of the week.
All efforts are being made at the shipyard to get the situation under control. Over the weekend and the beginning of the week, 47 corona infections have been reported in RMC’s network companies.
Even more corona testing will be conducted at the shipyard from Wednesday onwards. RMC has provided the healthcare authorities with a location where several testing groups can work simultaneously. All employees of subcontracting companies will be tested by the end of the week. The healthcare authorities will also assume responsibility for guiding employees to get tested and the exposed employees have been put under a 14-day quarantine.
“We take the emerged corona infections extremely seriously and are working with the authorities to trace and control the chains of infection. On our part, we want to emphasise strict adherence to the regulatory guidelines and hygiene instructions given by the authorities, also in our free time. Despite there not being infections among RMC’s employees, we have tightened the recommendation for remote work. It is also mandatory to wear a mask while working, as long as it is possible while taking into consideration work safety”, says Jyrki Heinimaa, CEO of RMC.
The employees from the network companies will return to work either after the 14-day quarantine or providing a negative test result. Everyone in the network is committed to getting the situation under control, RMC has assured.
RMC currently has two passenger car ferries under construction. Work at the shipyard will not stop but a testing round among network employees will cause potential local downtime.
Rauma Marine Constructions has appointed Ville Laaksonen as Chief Operating Officer. Laaksonen succeeds Timo Suistio, who will focus on his role as RMC’s Executive Vice President.
RMC has appointed Ville Laaksonen, B.Eng (Tech) as the company’s Chief Operating Officer as of 1 February 2021. Laaksonen, 38, will also join RMC’s Management Team, where he will be responsible for production.
Laaksonen worked previously at Meyer Turku Oy, where he acted as Head of Outfitting and was also a member of the shipyard’s Management Team.
“Despite the coronavirus pandemic, RMC has grown in 2020 and reached the highest revenue in the history of the Rauma shipyard. I’m happy to see Ville Laaksonen join our growth story. Strengthening our management with dynamic leaders like Ville is a signal of a new generation of shipbuilders stepping up and taking the helm”, says Jyrki Heinimaa, CEO and President of RMC.
Timo Suistio, RMC’s COO until now, will continue as RMC’s Executive Vice President. He will have a clearer focus on this role, ensuring the implementation of the company’s growth strategy, developing project management and supporting sales.
Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) has entered into three major supply contracts for the main equipment of Pohjanmaa Class multi-purpose corvettes commissioned by the Finnish Defence Forces. The main equipment will be purchased from leading global suppliers whose systems have been developed specifically for combat vessels. The contracts are worth over EUR 100 million in total.
The most crucial contracts for the supply of critical main equipment with long delivery times were signed during spring and summer in highly unusual circumstances. The coronavirus pandemic has posed significant challenges to numerous businesses, including the Squadron 2020 project.
– During these challenging times, we have had to develop new ways of working, also regarding the negotiations, which have demanded tenacity and patience from all parties involved. We are very pleased that the contracts for the most vital and time-sensitive equipment procurements for the Finnish Defence Forces’ Squadron 2020 project have now been signed. This is a considerable achievement, especially seeing as many shipyards and businesses have unfortunately had to close down completely, says Jyrki Heinimaa, President and CEO of Rauma Marine Constructions.
The most important machinery equipment in the multi-purpose corvettes are the gas turbine, the electric drive system along with the gear system that connects them to the propeller shafts, and the main diesel generators. The electric drive system and the gear system, which is critical to performance and technically challenging, will be supplied by the German company RENK AG. The company has decades of experience in delivering gear systems for combat vessels to nations around the globe.
The gas turbines will be supplied by General Electric. The LM2500 gas turbine is the world’s most commonly used gas turbine in naval ships. The Finnish Defence Forces will be the 39th navy in the world to adopt this turbine model.
The electrical power will be supplied by extremely quiet 12V 175D diesel generators from MAN Energy Solutions SE.
Several important factors were considered when selecting suppliers. These include the power/weight ratio of the engines and gear systems, reduced underwater noise, and warfighting vulnerability, which all play into the operative performance of the vessel. All systems also meet the demands of northern winter and ice-going conditions that are exceptional for warships. The engine and propulsion solution of the Squadron 2020 vessels is a so-called CODELAG (Combined Diesel Electric and Gas) system with two propeller shaft lines. When the ship travels at lower speeds, the vessel is driven by electrical engines, which connect to the gear and are powered by the diesel generators. At higher speeds and in heavy ice conditions, a high-power gas turbine is connected to the gear.
The systems and suppliers that were selected meet the criteria of national security of supply with which the vessels must comply. The vessels will be serviced in Finland throughout their lifecycle.
The construction of the new fast shuttle ferry for Tallink Grupp is progressing at the Rauma shipyard. The keel of Rauma Marine Constructions’ newbuilding NB6003, a shuttle vessel named MyStar, was laid today, 18 September 2020. MyStar is set to be delivered to the owner at the beginning of 2022. The ferry will operate between Helsinki, Finland, and Tallinn, Estonia. The shipbuilding project will provide over 1,500 person-years of employment for the shipyard.
The first keel-block of the new vessel was laid into the shipyard’s dry dock today. The block weighs approximately 270 tonnes. Laying down the keel is an important milestone in shipbuilding, and it’s often considered as the birth of the ship. Traditionally, lucky coins are placed under the keel. This time, the lucky coins were Estonian and Finnish euro coins.
“We are pleased to say that despite the global economic situation and the global coronavirus pandemic, production has continued at the Rauma shipyard. Although the final impact of the pandemic on the shipyard remains to be seen, we are confident that operations will continue to run on track due to the HSES measures we have taken,” said Jyrki Heinimaa, President and CEO of Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC).
The delivery of the main equipment is progressing according to schedule. The vessel’s main engines were tested during the summer, and the testing of the generators was completed in August.
“It is extremely important to keep our sights both on the near as well as the more distant future right now and continue with key projects that will ensure shipping is greener, more efficient and increasingly sustainable in the future,” said Paavo Nõgene, CEO of Tallink Grupp.
“With the MyStar project, we are proud and happy to be able to help sustain the rich tradition of Finnish shipbuilding. Now more than ever, it matters to us that we can build our ship close to home in Finland, and this way, help preserve jobs in Finland and Estonia, to keep the historic shipbuilding industry in Finland going and support and contribute to the economies of our Baltic Sea region as a whole,” Nõgene continues.
The construction of MyStar started in April 2020. After the keel laying, the next milestone will be the float-out of the vessel in summer 2021. The delivery of MyStar is scheduled to take place at the beginning of 2022. In total, the shipbuilding project is worth around EUR 250 million.
The keel laying ceremony is available for viewing here.