The first of Damen''s new Marine Aggregate Dredger class, a 103.5m MAD 3500, has been launched at Damen Shipyards Galati (DSGa) in Romania.

Design features of the MAD 3500 are intended to maximise productivity and minimise maintenance

The vessel, to be named the CEMEX Go Innovation, is the result of close cooperation between CEMEX UK Marine and Damen. It represents the first of a new generation of efficient and economical dredgers specialising in the extraction of sand and gravel from the seabed.

Damen and CEMEX have worked jointly on the development of the MAD 3500 from its earliest stages and the design is the result of extensive market research and customer consultation. The MAD concept as a whole has been designed around the need for 21st century vessels that can deliver safety, efficiency, minimal environmental impact and crew comfort whilst at the same time achieving maximum uptime in a work environment that places great stress on a vessel and its equipment.

Additional features of the new vessel intended to maximise productivity and minimise maintenance include excellent seakeeping for both crew comfort and all weather operability. An enclosed bow protects deck equipment and reduces green water ingress into the cargo hold. all the dredge pipes are situated above main deck level for safety as well as easy inspection and crane reach. The modular construction of the Damen designed and built dredge systems ensures quick and easy replacement of worn parts on the piping and screening installation. The MAD 3500 has a hopper capacity of 3,500m3.

Following its launch with much of the deck equipment already installed, including the Damen designed and built screening installation, the MAD 3500 will complete its fitting out with commissioning due to begin at the end of this year, followed by delivery in the early spring of 2020.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, CEMEX Materials UK Southern managing director Laurence Dagley said: "This is a ground breaking ship that leads the industry thanks to the major environmental savings that it offers, its increased capacity and dredging depth, and its safety enhancing external pipework."

Damen regional sales manager Joppe Neijens added: "It has been a very smooth process and we have built the vessel together using the original Damen MAD concept as a basis for a vessel optimised to meet the needs of CEMEX. This new dredger will differentiate itself from the current fleet and set a new standard in the industry."

By Larz Bourne