Shipbuilder De Haas Maassluis and the Rotterdam linesmen association KRVE are starting a new repair yard for tugs, yachts and work boats in the heart of Rotterdam. The companies are teaming up to re-open the ship lift of the former Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij, which in its glory days was used to repair submarines.

De Haas Rotterdam ship lift (Photo: Tobias Pieffers)

De Haas Rotterdam ship lift (Photo: Tobias Pieffers)

The yard will operate under the name De Haas Rotterdam and is a fifty-fifty joint venture between the two companies. They intend to use the lift for maintenance and repairs on tugs, multicats and yachts. With the new yard the companies want to offer a fitting, fast working repair facility.

"The measurements of ships have changed quite a lot over the past decade", director Govert de Haas of shipyard De Haas Maassluis told Maritime Journal. "Tugs have gotten wider and deeper. Many of them have grown too big for small repair facilities. Our yard in Maassluis for instance, can't receive these tugs anymore due to their large draught of seven metres. As a result tugs often end up in dry docks that are way too big. With this new repair lift we can provide a much more efficient alternative."

The lift surface is 70 metres long and 15 metres wide. With the help of 22 hydraulic winches it can be lowered into, or hoisted out of, the water. The Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij of which the lift was a part closed its doors in the mid-nineties after submarine orders dried up and the company had to restructure twice. "It is strange that there hasn't been any interest in the ship lift before", Gerrit van der Burg of linesmen association KRVE says. "Lift systems are the fastest way to get ships out of the water."

"A disadvantage of ship lifts is that they're expensive to build which makes it difficult to be cost competitive", De Haas says. "But in this case this is not an issue. The investment has been made many years ago. We rent the facility from the Rotterdam Port Authority."

An important feature of the yard will be the adjustable docking chairs on which the vessels will be placed. "We are developing two docking chairs that can be adjusted to the hull of the ship, whether it's a round, flat or pointed shaped hull.", Van der Burg said. "This allows us to work fast, resulting in lower costs for the owner." Next to the lift a large warehouse will be built. "Once ships are hoisted up they will be moved into this warehouse for further maintenance", De Haas said.

The yard will be completed in three stages. De Haas: "During the first stage the Rotterdam Port Authority will prepare the facility for delivery to us. One of the things that need to be done is an update of the control panels of the lift, at the moment they remind us of a Commodore 86. In the meantime we will design and build the dock chairs. In the second stage the surrounding area will be developed. The construction of the warehouse is the final stage. This should be completed in 2019."

By Tobias Pieffers