Shared vision

“The company was formed in 1993,” explains Donald S. Cameron, managing director of Macduff Ship Design, who has been in the business for 35 years. “As business increased at a good speed so too did the number of staff needed to meet this rise in demand.”

Initially the company was heavily involved in the British fishing industry, primarily carrying out stability investigations on existing vessels. However very soon the company’s expertise as designers took off. From 1995 until around 2003 the company designed approximately 55 different fishing vessels, ranging from between eight and 41 metres in length, which were built in shipyards across the UK and in Spain, Holland, Portugal, Croatia and Canada.

Macduff Ship Design was the first company to design a twin ramp, twin trawl stern trawler, three of which were built for UK owners, the first being delivered in 1998. The company then went on to design a range of ten metre trawlers, built specifically to replace larger, older vessels that were becoming uneconomical to operate. On the back of their success the company designed a range of 14 and 15 metre full length shelter variations that were the first in their class. A further string to its bow came in 2006 when it designed the first full length, shelter decked, automated beam trawler to fish for scallops.

Not wishing to be dependent on the fishing industry alone, particularly in light of it being subject to fears of serious declines, in 2003 Macduff Ship Design began looking at bringing out a range of tugs and other commercial vessels: “As the company already possessed a high degree of experience in carrying out modifications and technical/stability work on existing vessels it was able to approach this new field of work confidently,” Donald says. “The first order it received in this market segment was in 2006 for a 13 metre tug for Perth Harbour in Scotland, a project that was completed in 2007. This vessel, the ‘Fair Maid’ led to another order for a 13m tug from Peterhead Harbour and this vessel, the ‘Ugie Runner’ was a world first in that it was specifically designed to accommodate the novel Mampaey DOT system. This system allows the vessel to tow in any direction, continuously without the need to reconnect the tow line.”

The success of the 13 metre tugs helped bring about an order in 2009 for a 16 metre harbour tug for Ireland. A very compact, manoeuvrable, capable vessel, it is quite possibly the most powerful vessel in its class anywhere in the world, with a bollard pull of 23 tonnes. Today the company has a further three 23 metre DOT tugs under construction for a shipping company based in Singapore, the first of which is expected to be brought into service early in 2012, a 19m ASD tug for a French owner, a 23 metre DOT tug for a Turkish operator in addition to a pilot and mooring vessel for Saudi Arabia.

Since 2003 Macduff Ship Design has made a highly concerted effort to target the commercial market. In the subsequent eight years it has completed more than 35 commercial designs including a 35 metre ro-ro passenger cargo ferry for the Shetland Islands: “This was a unique design and only the second UK flagged passenger carrier specifically designed to meet the new EU Class B rules,” Donald highlights. “This made the project something of a challenge, as did the fact that as it operates between the Shetland and Fair Islands all year round in exposed, hazardous conditions meaning she had to be a truly excellent sea boat.”

More recently in 2008 and 2009 the company carried out an in-depth design study into a new style of multi-purpose workboat. The range of vessels this study produced is capable of towing, pushing, anchor handling, carrying out pipe laying, buoy maintenance, wind farm support and general civil engineering support works and is classed as the Macduff Multi Mac. The first order for one of these multi-purpose workboats came in at the close of 2010. This is now well under construction and will soon be joined by a second order received recently by a prominent UK ship operator. The company has also produced a design for a 36.5 metre Multi Mac for the Port of London Authority and this vessel will have a triple screw installation.

It is undeniable that Macduff Ship Design has produced its fair share of firsts in the maritime industry and, as Donald enthuses, this stems from a desire to offer clients something that little bit special and unique every time it undertakes a project: “This approach to business is really essential as in most cases Macduff Ship Design is competing directly against large players that have some reputations, therefore the company has to be able to come up with not only something different, but something better. From the early fishing boats people could always recognise a Macduff Ship Design vessel thanks to its unique styling points.”

In 2008 the company reached a milestone by commissioning the building of brand new, purpose-designed offices with meeting rooms, staff facilities, large store areas and modern open plan office space.

In order to stay as active as it has been the company has found itself looking further and further afield to gain business. Through the setting up of its website it has been able to spread word of its design capabilities globally and today it continues to use it to target any and all enquiries robustly and professionally.

Stemming from its global connections the company now has links with Boustead Heavy Industries in Malaysia and Goa Shipyard in India whereby Macduff provide designs and technical expertise for vessels for the Indian and SE Asian markets.

“As has been happening over the last few years, the near future will see yet more enquiries come from overseas and the way in which Macduff Ship Design can capitalise on this is by Designmaking it abundantly clear that this is a company that offers a complete drawing and technical package from concept through to handover with designs that are tailored to suit each client’s precise requirements. Be it with a ship owner or a ship yard, Macduff Ship Design works in close co-operation (in many cases also carrying out project management) on an individual project basis and in doing so guarantees not just a finished vessel, but one that is unique, innovative and fulfils each and every one of its users’ demands,” Donald concludes.

A specialist in a diverse range of ship designs
Responsible for numerous pioneering vessel creations
Boasting clients from all over the world