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Yard owner Dr Barwani's views on Oceanco’s past, present and future

6 October 2021• Written by Laura Nicholls for Oceanco

Hearing Dr Barwani speak, it is clear that his involvement in the yachting industry goes way beyond his businesses – he is a passionate sailor who wants to change things for the better, and having purchased Dutch shipyard Oceanco in 2000 and Turkish shipyard Turquoise Yachts, he has the power to do so.

Dr Barwani

In Barwani’s eyes, the capacity for what is possible at Oceanco is being proven in the creation of exciting new ground-breaking superyachts. “We currently have five yachts under construction, one of which measures 125 metres in length and is set to become the largest project of its kind ever undertaken in The Netherlands,” he explains. With the rest of the details kept private, the order book of Oceanco is said to “appeal to a smaller group of people within a niche, as it better than to trying to please everyone with something ‘average’.”

This is what really excites Barwani. These elements of Oceanco speak to him on a personal level and so, he has no qualms devoting his attention to it – a devotion that stems from a life-long passion for the sea, that he particularly wants to ignite for others in his home country Oman. “There is a potential for growth there when it comes to yachting; we have some of the most beautiful cruising grounds you could imagine. So I have been in discussions with the government to try and develop this further,” he says. “But perhaps this more of a personal passion project than a full business enterprise!”

As a man who is lucky enough to be able to mix business with pleasure, he doesn’t like to shy away from new opportunities. “It doesn’t always have to be about large profits and the bottom line. But there are plenty of other motivations to acquiring a company.” And after acquiring Oceanco, what is happening there today is the result of a perspective on the past merged with a fierce focus on the future – all of which Barwani is keen to reflect upon in his own words…

What has happened?

The market has matured in a way that is not too different from the natural selection that takes place in an ecosystem. We’ve had the explosive expansion of the market in the 00s followed by a tough few years following the 2008 crash. Then, as things began to recover and the global markets enjoyed a fruitful decade.

To do well, yacht builders must embrace modern business practices. This way, they can easily survive the pressures and increased risk of creating larger yachts – especially if they adopt more sophisticated assessments, be efficient and refine their operations. It is important as a company to not to rest on your laurels and expect buyers to want the same basic design and layout year in year out. Let’s offer the market something exciting! Something that pushes the envelope and looks to change the way we see the world and the potential for life on a superyacht.

The newly-launched 117m Oceanco Y719

We have gathered some of the brightest minds from various industries to put together Oceanco NXT. Here, we challenge how we think about yachts and their designs to fall in line with the lifestyles and values that our clients have today. What started out as a conversation about sustainable innovation in yachting quickly grew to a far wider assessment of every aspect of life on board. Our latest NXT collaboration is with Pininfarina and Lateral on KAIROS, a very exciting new yacht design that is unlike anything I have seen before.

We made a major investment in our HQ and outfitting facilities, including a 200-metre-deep ground-source heat pump system and rooftop solar panels that generate 200,000 kWh per year to help cover almost all the power supply to the building. These improvements coincide with our corporate social responsibility plan which touches on the products we build, our premises, our process of working, the working environment for our employees and partners, and our impact on local and global populations.

When I first became involved with the yachting industry, I was surprised that many new construction builders had relatively little involvement with their yachts after the warranty periods were complete. I found that maintenance and refit were considered to not be as important as the construction activity. At Oceanco, we see our clients as part of the family for life, whether their yacht is new or 20 years old. That lifelong service is something that we call ‘Life Cycle Support’ because, quite simply, we are there to support yachts throughout their life cycles; and that can extend to yachts we have not originally built, too.

The concept KAIROS – the collaborative effort of Oceanco, Pininfarina and Lateral

What’s happening now?

The last 18 months have given owners an increased desire for freedom, adventure and family time in their lives. We are seeing clients requesting that their yachts can really go the distance, with greater autonomy and without the need to go ashore for provisions and fuel regularly. They want to do all of this in a safe and private manner where they feel reassured and have control over their surroundings

We have been alerted to how fragile our world is. There has been a notable increase in the number of discussions we are having with clients about sustainability, both for existing operational vessels as well as new build projects. At Oceanco, we want to leave the planet better than we found it for future generations.

KAIROS' interior piazza area at night

What’s to come?

To me, the yardstick of success is not whether we will be building more or bigger yachts, it is whether in 10 years’ time, we are still pushing the boundaries in green technologies and efficiency, creating yachts that understand the needs of their owners and that are in line with modern attitudes to sustainability as well as lifestyle.

By 2030, we aim to more than half our environmental impact. At Oceanco, we want to continue the progress we are making in reducing our own carbon footprint, and to do this, we are striving for 100% of our electricity usage to be supplied by renewable energy sources. Plus, we are playing an active part in the efforts of the Water Revolution Foundation to neutralise the superyacht industry’s footprint. It is reassuring to see so many of our colleagues also joining these efforts.

Oceanco's facilities in the Netherlands

In 10 years’ time, we want to be 100% waste-free or circular across the entire supply chain. This will mean that our conscious choices and creation of new materials have to be reconsidered. It has been great to get the ball rolling in reducing our carbon footprint as a business, and we are continuing this work on sustainability not just in terms of energy consumption but in other areas, too.

Yachting is a big influencer for the technology and innovation worlds, and sometimes we need reminding of this. These sectors relate to other transport and construction industries and so, by embracing collaborations with the smartest minds outside of yachting we can naturally learn and discover more.

To find out more about Oceanco’s current and future fleet, contact the yard directly here: www.oceancoyacht.com

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