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Damen Shipyards sells 600 vessels in the Caribbean
Dutch ship maker, the Damen Shipyards Group, has sold at least 600 vessels in the Caribbean, Stephen Hopson, head of the group's Caribbean operations said at reception for prospective customers at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad in Port-of-Spain last Friday.
Hopson, who is based in Barbados, said the company has been servicing oil and gas operators in T&T for years and is hoping to expand its Caribbean operations in a large way. He said the National Energy Corporation and the Port Authority of T&T were among Damen’s customers. Asked to estimate the value of the market for sea vessels in the Caribbean, he said he could not give a figure, but noted that specialised ships cost “millions of (US) dollars.”
The 86-year-old company from The Netherlands builds specialised vessels for offshore, defense and security, public transport, shipping, fishing and yachting. The company also does dredging and builds pontoons and barges.
“Damen is an international shipyard group, but at its heart, there is still a family company. We operate in every niche market where we see an opportunity to improve, innovate or invest. In everything we develop, we always aim for what our customers need and what they wish for. That counts for our building activities as well as our services. We listen carefully to our customers and we invest a great deal in innovation, research and development. That’s why we’re simply able to build better boats,” said the booklet Hopson authorised the Business Guardian to quote.
“In 1927 Damen was established by two brothers. Now, Damen Shipyards has a leading position in shipbuilding with more than 6,000 employees and a presence in 35 countries. Damen is a multinational company that has never lost its family values or its deep respect for its maritime heritage,” the document said.
Sander van Oord, sales director for the Americas, said Damen is capable of building vessels to clean up oil spills. He gave the example of a Damen-built ship called ARCA, a dedicated Dutch oil skimming vessel. He said the ship was used in the Erika and Prestige oil spill off the coast of Spain and alone “collected 75 per cent of the oil spilled.”
According to Dr Gerald Graham, a marine oil spill expert, the MV Arca has a storage capacity of 1,080 cubic metres, which translates to approximately 6,792 barrels of oil. When storage capacity is reached, the oil can easily and quickly be transferred to another vessel for eventual disposal and/or recycling onshore. The sweeping arms can recover 240 cubic metres per hour, or 1,509 barrels per hour, and can be operated when the waves are six feet high or more.
Also useful in T&T's energy industry are tug boats. Damen Shipyards Group is also launching a new vessel type in its “ASD Tug series,” Frank de Lange, Damen sales director for south, north and west Europe, said in a statement.
The ASD Tug 2913 has been designed primarily as a highly manoeuvrable, powerful tug, ideally suited for busy harbours where space is limited. Petersen and Alpers (Germany) is the launching customer for the new tug, which will be delivered by the end of 2014.
The new type answers market demand for more powerful tugs, as vessels continue to get larger and more spacious accommodation is needed, the statement said.
Explaining why Damen decided to introduce a new tug type in the ASD series, De Lange said: “Vessel sizes are increasingly growing, while ports are still restricted to their physical size. Customers were requesting more powerful tugs, but they still have to be compact so they can operate in harbours which are lacking space.”
This new tug standard slots in between the Damen ASD Tug 2810 with a 60 tonnes bollard pull, and the highly powerful offshore terminal ASD Tug 3212, which was recently introduced, Damen said in its statement. Developing a new compact type with a bollard pull of 75-80 tonnes was really a logical step for the Damen series, de Lange added. “For the ASD Tug 2913 we adopted a similar design philosophy as for the new ASD Tug 3212 and although the vessel is primarily a harbour tug, it also has very good seakeeping capabilities.”
At 13 metres wide, the vessel is very stable and very comfortable for the crew. The new type has push/pull capabilities and can be fitted with an aft winch as an option. The tug is also the first Damen tug to have a double hull to comply with the latest safety regulations and to answer customer demand, the company said.
Peter Lindenau, managing director of Petersen and Alpers, is very pleased to be the launching customer for the new tug, according to the Damen statement. This will be the second Damen tug in the company’s fleet, following on from an ASD Tug 2411, which has been in operation for the last four years in Hamburg. Through a previous joint venture via an affiliated company, Smit, Petersen and Alpers also had experience of the Damen ASD Tug 2810.
“We have had a good experience with Damen tugs and have also seen our competitors using them!” says Mr Lindenau.
“The crew were very happy with our first Damen tug and that is very important to us. The quality of the build, the 2411’s performance was what we were looking for. It has proven itself in being able to operate bow-to-bow when a lot of ASD tugs have problems doing this properly.”
The ASD Tug 2411 is performing well and is great at going alongside, making fast and the thrust is easily controlled with the slipping clutch, he emphasises. “And with Rolls-Royce thrusters and Caterpillar 3516 engines, the acceleration is great,” he said.
“Our new Damen vessel will be particularly suited for the port of Hamburg, which has very small basins,” he said. “Seagoing vessels are getting bigger and bigger. A highly maneuverable, compact tug with more power was needed, so the Damen ASD Tug 2913 was the right tool for Hamburg.”
Ideal for ports
Low maintenance costs are also important, he said. The company has had a good experience with the ASD Tug 2411, which requires only limited maintenance because the coating is such good quality. Petersen and Alpers has a great deal of confidence in Damen, the statement said. “We trust each other, which is most important. It is not just price but performance, service and maintenance.”
He said: “We are lucky to be the launching customer. We have been able to have a lot of input, with Damen really listening to our requirements.” For instance, Petersen and Alpers requested an oil fired heating system. Lindenau said: “Perhaps, we look at things in a similar way to Damen, both being family-owned companies; we are always considering the next generation, so a long-term, trusting relationship is very important.”
De Lange said: “We are always there to support our clients and we hope we can assist Petersen and Alpers in their success.” There has been such a lot of interest in the new Standard that Damen has already started building for stock. Van Oord of the Americas sales team said Damen keeps many hulls in stock and so is able to deliver seaworthy vessels to its customers quickly.
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