Damen opens the doors on its first Workboat Festival

Ten examples from the popular Stan Tug range were available for inspection (Peter Barker)
Ten examples from the popular Stan Tug range were available for inspection (Peter Barker)
Two Stan Patrol marques were present the 5009 and a 4207 version (Peter Barker)
Two Stan Patrol marques were present the 5009 and a 4207 version (Peter Barker)
Part completed Shoalbusters formed a backdrop to the display area (Peter Barker)
Part completed Shoalbusters formed a backdrop to the display area (Peter Barker)
A Stan Tug 1205 sets out for a demo run passing part completed Sholbusters and Multi Cats (Peter Barker)
A Stan Tug 1205 sets out for a demo run passing part completed Sholbusters and Multi Cats (Peter Barker)
A Fast Crew Supplier and Stan Pilot boat await potential customers (Peter Barker)
A Fast Crew Supplier and Stan Pilot boat await potential customers (Peter Barker)

Damen Shipyards Group opened its doors recently welcoming a cross-section of customers and industry partners to a one-day event showcasing a selection of vessels from its varied workboat catalogue.

Workboat Festival 2016 was held at the company’s shipyard and headquarters at Avelingen West, Gorinchem in the Netherlands, the first such occasion for the company and one that is planned to be repeated. The event had three main elements: the presentation of Damen built vessels, static displays representing the company’s various divisions and several presentations on areas of innovation being pursued by Damen. MJ was invited along to the event joining over 200 guests given the opportunity to inspect close hand a variety of products including: Multi Cats, tugs, RHIBs, pilot boats, Fast Crew Suppliers, patrol boats and pontoons.

Damen produces products for a diverse range of markets and the onshore covered area provided stands with company representatives on hand to answer enquiries about specific divisions for example: Dredging & Marine; Harbour & Terminals; Offshore, Components, Fishing & Aquaculture including green solutions and Repair & Conversion. This area also provided stand space for a number of Damen’s main component suppliers including: Alphatron Marine, Caterpillar, MTU, Radio Holland and Rolls-Royce. A welcome hospitality area provided refreshments while back on the water demonstration trips on the adjacent river Merwede were available.

Damen Stan Pontoons fall into the workboats category and three were moored alongside doubling as berths for several of the vessels. Damen is well-known for building vessels for stock offering short delivery times and this aspect was on display almost by accident with the backdrop to the scene. Beyond the exhibition area itself, fourteen various vessels including Multi Cats and Shoalbusters were moored, at advanced stages of completion awaiting final outfitting and painting in new livery.

Customers thinking of a Stan Tug have a choice of ten variants to consider ranging from the 1004 (10m long by 4m wide) to largest in the range, the Stan Tug 4513 and no fewer than eleven examples were on display. The largest were two 1907 models, Bouali in the livery of Port Autonome de Pointe-Noire, and yard number 503427 in an eye-catching yellow and blue livery. Also on display was a Stan Tug 1606, Stan Tug 1205 and Stan Tug 1004 along with the closely-related Pushy Cat 1004, and Stan Launch 1004.

Another popular product from the tug catalogue is the ubiquitous Shoalbuster of which around eleven various sized examples are available including the Pushbuster variant. Apart from the six part-completed hulls opposite the main display, a single Shoalbuster, yno 571706 was busy taking guests on demonstration trips.

Before leaving the tug catalogue, an interesting pair of Stan Tug 1205 twins were on display and advertised for sale. Built in 2010 they were previously Svitzer Zola and Svitzer Mbubu, part of Svitzer’s Middle East fleet, wheelhouse rope guards indicating their previous role as mooring launches. Completing the smaller range of Damen products, two Stan Pilot launches were presented and, particularly popular providing demonstration trips for guests, a Damen RHIB 1050. In the static display area on its trailer, Damen’s road-transportable 8m Shallow Water Oil Recovery Catamaran was available for inspection.

The Axe-Bow designs are now well-established and offshore wind is one sector Damen has not been slow to exploit with three Fast Crew Suppliers being presented. Two were Twin-Axe designs, the 2610 and 2008 variants, a notable difference between the two being where the twelve-passenger version of the 26m model houses the passengers at wheelhouse level while they are housed on the deck beneath with the 20m version. A vessel of interest was the Nigerian registered, waterjet-powered, single-hull FCS 1905 MV Pacific Silverline 2 with its offset ‘cockpit’.

The FCS 2610 has a length overall of 25.75m on a beam of 10.27m and tank capacities include 14.2m3 of fuel oil and 1.8m3 of fresh water. The FCS 2610 has proved popular with the offshore wind industry and as well as its main role of transporting technicians is also required to have a limited cargo-carrying capacity and to this end the foredeck provides 90m2 of clear space with a maximum deck load of 1.5t/m2. Power is provided by two Caterpillar C32 TTA main engines (2,400bhp total) driving fixed-pitch propellers and performance figures include a speed of 20 to 25 knots with a range of 700 to 1,200nm at maximum speed.  

Larger Axe-Bow Fast Crew Suppliers are attracting orders, customised for a variety of roles from military to superyacht toy-tenders and on display was an FCS 5009 displaying the name Sea Axe 51. The vessel presents the profile of a mini-PSV complete with wood-sheathed aft deck and forward and aft wheelhouse conning positions along with seating for 58 passengers. Sea Axe 51 is classed by BV with the notation 1+ HULL, MACH, Special Service, Fast Utility Vessel, Sea Area 4, Fire Fighting Ship 1, DYNAPOS AM R (DP 2). Propulsion details cannot be left out of this brief description, with four Caterpillar 3512CA main engines developing 6,712kW (8,996bhp) in total, powering four fixed-pitch propellers and providing a speed of 27.5kn.

Before we turn to the military sector, looking back at the sample of products from just one sector of Damen’s range on display a pattern emerges of how each new product naturally evolves from either a previous ‘latest’ designs perhaps overlapping through for example the introduction of the Axe-Bow concept through to the development of Alphatron Marine’s Alphabridge modular console installations.

The military sector was represented by two Stan Patrol 5009 vessels CG 27 TTS Moruga and CG 28 TTS Carli Bay. Both BV-classed coastal patrol vessels feature Sea-Axe bows and are part of an order for Trinidad & Tobago’s Ministry of National Security. They boast four Caterpillar 3516C main engines driving fixed-pitch propellers, delivering a trial speed of 31.5kn. Such vessels often require an independent vessel boarding capability and this is adequately catered for with inclusion of two daughter craft comprising a Damen Interceptor 1102 launched from a davit on the starboard side and a transom slipway launched MST 750 RHIB.

The previously mentioned pattern of design evolution was evident with the presence of a conventional-bow Stan Patrol 4207 patrol launch, strategically berthed alongside its larger 5009 cousin. The Damen Stan Patrol 4207 is another vessel popular with coastal administrations with main dimensions of: 42.8m LOA, 7.11m beam and 2.52m draught. Performance figures include a top speed of 30 knots, 600nm range at full speed and endurance of up to 14 days. MJ learned that Damen has three 4207s available prompt for either sale, lease or charter.

Finally, while perhaps not exactly in the category of a workboat, an exhibit of some significance and attracting attention was Damen’s Ecoliner pure LNG-powered inland chemical tank barge. The Ecoliner will be the subject of a future ‘Vessel Launch’ feature in MJ where it will be described in detail.

The opportunity was taken during the afternoon to stage several presentations including activities surrounding research, development and innovation. Ballast water treatment is a subject seeing significant development of late as the shipping industry faces up to the staged introduction of IMO regulations aimed at controlling the ‘bio-invasion’ from water ballast being taken on board in one ecological zone and released into another and introducing invasive species with potential implications to biodiversity, economies and human health.

Along with the IMO regulations, the United States and several other countries are introducing similar regulations and Damen estimates that over 60,000 vessels will require ballast water treatment systems over the next few years. It has taken two main approaches to providing answers; the retrofitting of existing vessels and the provision of port-based solutions for vessels that are either too old to take retrofitted systems, or do not require the capability on a frequent basis.

The port solution offers Damen’s InSave treatment technology in mobile form from either a self-sufficient container able to be moved around the port by road vehicle or via a self-propelled barge equipped with the treatment plant.

Damen Research provided information on the development of its remote monitoring technology. A cutter-suction dredger, a Fast Crew Supplier and several tugs have now been provided with this technology drawing on examples from the automotive industry. The aim is to provide condition-based maintenance based on data provided by individual components rather than going down the more traditional route of preventative maintenance based on running hours or sea miles covered. As with any such system its reliability and effectiveness is increased with the build-up of data from not only remote monitoring in one owner’s vessel or vessels but by analysing data from across the Damen range, in short the more this technology is developed the greater the benefits in the longer term.

Damen Research also addressed the subject of tugs powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Damen has teamed up with German engine manufacturer and Rolls-Royce subsidiary MTU and Svitzer to build a Reverse Stern Drive tug powered by CNG via MTU 4000 engines. The clean combustion will ensure compliance with IMO Tier 3 emission legislation and remove the requirement for additional exhaust gas after-treatment.

Anyone buying a Damen vessel will obviously need to address the subject of specifying the myriad components that go to make up the final product. Damen Marine Components was present to provide details of its range of products including: propeller nozzles, towing winches and rudder installations. Such a one-stop shop approach has the advantage of providing continuity during not only building of the product but with maintenance thereafter during the vessel’s life.

Another subject covered was the question of seakeeping. There can be no better example of progress in this field than the Axe-Bow concept, developed in cooperation with Delft University of Technology. The idea has developed over time into the Sea-Axe version now commonplace with its Patrol Vessel and Fast Crew Supplier range, not forgetting of course the Twin-Axe variant comprising two hulls in a catamaran form.

Everything must be paid for of course and the company was on hand to provide details of its LeaseCo programme. Occasionally companies, for example towage companies, may grow rapidly and be provided with the opportunity to provide new services but have temporary limited access to finances. LeaseCo allows customers to secure an order with a much-reduced deposit to what a bank would perhaps normally require. Damen also offers other forms of financing including for export orders.

Commenting on the festival, Mijndert Wiesenekker, sales director Benelux Damen said: "The day was a great success. We welcomed customers, partners and press to our headquarters and its shipyard, where they had the opportunity to inspect a wide range of vessels in a relaxed atmosphere and have all their questions answered. It was a very productive day for all concerned and we look forward to doing it again."

By Peter Barker

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