Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) was initiated in the early 1990s by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
No company existed in the region which could either build or refit naval vessels and Sheikh Mohammed’s vision was to launch a ship building facility which would both reduce foreign dependence and support national industrialisation.
ADSB was established in 1996 and, needing a base quickly, bought a small existing ship repair facility which had been owned by the Delma Society. It was a basic facility alongside the channel in Musaffah employing 100 people – only a few of them trained - with little equipment, no computers and no systems in place.
Over the next six months, two halls were built, new equipment installed and more staff employed, mainly from the Philippines. When the first UAE Navy ships arrived, due for refit, at the end of that six month period, the company had been transformed into a Navy capable shipyard with sophisticated facilities. The contract was executed within budget, the ships were all delivered on time and the customer was delighted with the quality of the result.
At the inception of ADSB, it had been decided to focus on four distinct markets:
- Naval new building
- Naval repairs and refitting
- Commercial new building
- Commercial repairs
Eleven years on, the focus has been very successful and is currently being revised to include electronic systems integration and customer support services.
A core game plan of the business was to link up with leading strategic partners – existing respected companies from around the world. This was achieved from the outset and today ADSB enjoys close relationships with partners from eight countries.
In 2002 ADSB expanded the shipyard by adding complete new administration and accommodation blocks, new assembly halls and new production facilities, such as fabrication, piping, carpentry and woodwork, machine shops and warehousing .
During 2004 ADSB had cause for celebration when it won its largest and most prestigious contract to date from the UAE Navy to build six Baynunah Corvettes.
The project, which is well underway with the first of class vessel scheduled for delivery in 2009, marks a new era in the company’s history. The 72 metre Corvettes have been designed by Constructions Mecaniques de Normandie (CMN) of Cherbourg France who is also a sub contractor for the project.
While the first corvette is being built in Cherbourg, the remaining five will be built at ADSB’s Musaffah shipyard. Presently, three of the ships are under construction.
In 2006, ADSB celebrated its 10th anniversary. It was indeed a significant year for the company because apart from reaching its first decade, ADSB also opened its Composite Workshop - one of the most advanced facilities of its type in the world. The Workshop enables the company to attract a new area of business and one of the first customers at the new facility was the UAE Coast Guard who placed a major contract.
Today, ADSB is the only specialised naval warship builder in the Arabian Gulf and can offer both military and commercial customers vessels built in steel, aluminium and composites.
Presently ADSB is further expanding the facility with the opening of three new dry berths, extension of the syncrolift transverse platform, additional fabrication facility, new warehousing and extension of the assembly hall crane rails to facilitate larger unit fabrications.
“These developments represent only a part of a healthy order book in all our four main activity areas,” said Abdullah Nasser bin Huwaileel Al Mansouri, Chairman of ADSB. “We started in a small way in 1996 but the story since has been one of continuous development in our facilities and capabilities and the future looks very strong indeed.”