Achievements beyond horizons

The genesis of NICO International dates back to 1947, with the establishment of a small workshop in Gothenburg, Sweden to carry out marine engine repairs. With its headquarters having moved to Dubai in 1973, NICO International has grown to become one of the world’s leading ship repair and maintenance groups.

As a result of its long track record and reputation built on quality and excellence, NICO works with a host of loyal customers from the global shipping industry. This means that highly respected maritime organisations come to NICO when they are looking for a reliable partner on a project.

Paul Blake, ship repair director at the company, highlighted one recent contract as an example and which attracted high praise: “We were awarded a restoration project for the US Navy vessel USS ‘Porter’,” he began. “This job scope was completed whilst the vessel was afloat alongside and involved safety hazards that had to be mitigated systematically to clear the way for smooth access and restoration of the damaged area. In total 30 tons of hull and structural steel was renewed in addition to which around 250 meters of copper nickel pipe work was replaced. The time frame given for completing the job was five weeks including the installation and testing of the piping systems. The entire project was actually completed one week ahead of schedule and still met the stringent US Navy MIL Quality standards. This was achieved as a result of excellent co-ordination, co-operation and communication between the NICO project team and the US Navy supervisory team and ships personnel.”

He added proudly: “As a result of its work on this vessel, the members of the NICO ukInternational project team were awarded with letters of appreciation and recognition from the US Navy during a ceremony on board the vessel, which was well attended by senior commanders of the US Navy & UAE Navy.”

The US Navy approached NICO because of the scope and reliability of its services backed up by its ability to mobilise inspection teams, submit a comprehensive repair proposal and mobilise its skilled and experienced workforce, all of which were achieved at very short notice to meet tight deadlines.

Paul noted several more of the company’s strengths: “NICO’s one-stop-shop philosophy is proving to be a sound strategy, where the customer can get virtually anything related to marine repair under one roof. Retaining a leading position in the UAE, NICO is centred in Dubai, has a dry docking facility in Abu Dhabi and a further operational base inside the Port of Fujairah which provides both marine repair and diving services to the anchorages and ports of Fujairah and Khor Fakkan. We can mobilise all of our services within the UAE and the majority of our services throughout the region or world-wide.”

He continued: “NICO has a highly skilled workforce of more than 1400 from as many as 27 countries, which is regularly updated on new technology trends through internal training. The company is accordingly able to offer the most advanced services and products to reduce downtime and so increase the efficiency of ships at sea. With its worldwide network and on-call emergency ship repair squad, customers are assured that a team of specialists is always available. NICO’s highly rated and trained ‘riding crews’ have an excellent reputation amongst the world’s leading ship owners and operators.”

NICO International also makes sure it maintains a presence globally through tie-ups with major internationally renowned agents specialising in marine marketing and sales.

Paul shared some examples of how the company works with clients: “Dart Automation (the automation and instrumentation arm of NICO International) has recently entered into an agreement with Blokland Non Ferro BV box cooler manufacturer as their distributors for entire Middle East region,” he said. “Blokland Non Ferro BV, Netherland, is a manufacturer that designs box coolers to be used in fresh, brackish and sea water. Dart Automation and Blokland Non Ferro BV recently won a major contract with Mubarak Shipping. Furthermore, Blokland coolers are produced in close co-operation with Cathelco Antifouling, which is one of NICO’s prestigious OEMs and has added to better leverage in the market.”

He continued: “NICO International recently signed a sales distribution agreement with EnviraSponge (United Kingdom) for low dust advanced surface treatment technology. The agreement will cover all countries of the Gulf region. In addition to distributing this equipment, NICO will use this technique in its Fujairah Ship Repair facility following Municipality approval, which will make it the first company to offer environmentally friendly surface treatment solutions in the Middle East.”

It is clear that NICO is keen to use the latest technology to ensure its operations are state-of-the-art. Indeed, it recently made an investment to upgrade its vibration monitoring and data analyser equipment. “We now have the Vibxpert Ex Version, OMNITREND Software and Web Report features,” said Paul. “Additionally we have acquired a separate octave band sound analyser to measure and determine noise levels.”

It is this forward-thinking approach to success that has seen NICO experience growth since it was established. It is therefore no surprise that Paul is continuing to look for new areas of development: “The offshore support vessel market is an important and stable sector that has a positive growth potential over the next few years, due to the aging fleets that presently operate in this segment. This will be a major market for the ship repair division,” he said.

“’Achievements beyond horizons’ is the credo of NICO International and it is a philosophy that it not only preaches but truly practices to the utmost satisfaction of its global clients,” he concluded. “Using the skills of its highly experienced workforce, NICO is determined to remain in a position to offer the most advanced products and services to reduce downtime and increase efficiency of ships at sea.”

NICO International
NICO is part of Topaz Engineering
Specialise in ship repair and conversion
Commended for work on USS Porter