A yellow submarine dives into the depths of the bay of Naples.
Finns are world-leaders in the construction of tourist and research submarines. The latest example of this special expertise is the small research submarine built by Tarw-Trading, a vessel that can dive to a depth of 300m.
It naturally sounds odd that Finland builds submarines, although the country is not one that operates them. But it’s actually true that, of all the world’s research and tourist submarines, almost half are designed or built in Finland. Most of the others are manufactured in Canada, says Tapio Malmgren, Managing Director of Tarw-Trading Ltd.
Finnish know-how in submarine building was acquired in the 1980’s when Laivateollisuus or LATE set up a submarine department. In the great turmoil of the ship-building industry, the department was wound up, and activities were split up into new companies founded by engineers who had been trained at LATE.
“In 1990, we set up Tarwell Oy, and then Tarw-Trading in 1994. Tarwell specialises in oil spill recovery equipment and professional diving technology and Tarw-Trading in submarines” says Mr Malmgren.
New maintenance and transport solution.
“In June a yellow three-person SM 300-3 submarine was completed in Tarw-Trading’s assembly shop in Raisio. It is capable of diving to a depth of 300m and being submerged for four days. The customer for the SM 300-3 was the Italian shipyard, Cantieri Megaride, which built the support stand for the vessel. The Finnish-built submarine, which is equipped with a robotic hand, is intended to be used in looking for treasures on the seabed of the deep bay of Naples.
What’s special about this is the it isn’t only a submarine. It’s also equipped with a service container, in which the vessel can be quickly air-freighted to anywhere in the world”, explains Mr Malmgren.
Mr Malmgren says that the Italian shipyard wanted the vessel delivered on a turnkey principle for purposes of classification.
“We requested bids from several classification societies and selected Germanischer Lloyd. Price was less of a decisive factor than the total solution that they were able to offer.
“Our decision was also influenced by the fact that they have an office in our neighbouring town of Turku. Construction demands that an inspector pays a visit once a week.” Mr Malmgren says that the co-operation with the classification society was trouble-free. Generally speaking it can be said that the rules made for submarines by the classification societies are starting to be at quite a good level.
“There is nonetheless one cause for concern. Submarines are such a specialised area that there are not enough qualified inspectors in the world.”