Coral Geographer Sets Sail for Home Shores
An Update from Project Manager Frank Krone – 29/01/2021
When we built Coral Adventurer, we were breaking new ground – we were building an expedition cruise ship to a new design and a very advanced specification suited to our particular needs. We were working with a shipyard that had plenty of experience building tough work ships for the North Sea but none with our type of vessel. It was a challenge. But thanks to the support of many in the company – from our office in Cairns and from our ships – we got the job done. We had visitors from Cairns very frequently!
Delivering Coral Adventurer on time and on budget gave me a lot of confidence to take on Coral Geographer. But Covid did still take us by surprise. Apart from the fact that we could not have anyone from our office and ships visiting the shipyard due to travel restrictions, there were also concerns about getting all the components delivered on time. Modern shipbuilding requires integrating many sub-systems – engines from the US, navigation systems and electricals from Norway, windows and doors from Germany, flooring from Italy, bathroom modules from Korea, etc. Many of these locations were hard hit by Covid, disrupting the supply chain. If a single component was delayed, so would the entire ship!
The added complication was that for the sea trials of the ship, our crew and all the manufacturers’ experts would have to complete two weeks of quarantine or arrival, and on return back to Australia!
We improvised, Coral Expeditions style. I remained based permanently at the shipyard. We resorted to video inspections and approvals from the office in lieu of site visits. I worked closely with the shipyard and monitored supplier deliveries to ensure any delays were manageable. And of course, I applied all I had learnt from building Coral Adventurer and my decade with the company. Our crew patiently put up with the quarantine and testing requirements ahead of sea trials.
I am now proud that Coral Geographer stands gleaming and ready for delivery. She completed her sea trials successfully in November and I look forward to sailing her to homeport Cairns on March 1st.