11 Jan 2021

Damen completes work on German Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV) diving bell ship

Damen completes work on a diving bell ship for German Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration.

Ben Littler

Damen Shipyards Group has completed construction and outfitting of a diving bell ship for client FMSW Koblenz (Department Machinery Southwest) / operator WSA Rhine (Waterways and Shipping Office) according to schedule. Following her completion, the vessel has recently undertaken successful river trials.

Following the trials, Damen sales manager Remko Bouma said, “We are very pleased to have completed construction of this iconic vessel on schedule and to the satisfaction of the customer. This is the result of a very constructive collaboration between all parties, including FMSW Koblenz and Damen Shipyards Hardinxveld. This close cooperation and hard work has led to an efficient project execution and a beautiful vessel.”

The on-time completion of the ship comes despite the challenging conditions posed by the coronavirus outbreak. Putting in place robust safety measures, Damen was able to continue work on the project throughout the year.

Project manager newbuild at Damen Shipyards Hardinxveld Marius van Wijngarden said, “Although much of the work has taken place against the challenging backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the excellent cooperation between all parties has made this project a success. I am very proud of the team for the way they rose to this challenge.”

Gerald Rose, project manager from FMSW said, “In 2018, we awarded the contract for the replacement of the TGS Carl Straat to Dutch shipbuilder Damen. Due to the unique nature of the vessel, this is a particularly challenging project. Both parties would like to build an excellent vessel for the operator – WSA Rhine – and I think this has been successful up to now. The Dutch not only live by the water, the work with it and this is impressively confirmed by this vessel.”

There has, however, been an impact on the project; due to the pandemic, the delivery of the diving equipment to Damen has been delayed.  As a result, the diving bell ship will now commence operations next summer. Until that time, the ship will wait at Damen Shipyards Gorinchem in the Netherlands. Here, Damen will provide the vessel’s crew with familiarisation training in the meantime.

The vessel will succeed the existing Carl Straat, which has been performing her duties since 1963. The successor vessel will draw significantly on the proven design of her predecessor.

The new diving bell ship will operate on the Rhine and its tributaries. She will provide dry conditions, in a pressurised atmosphere, in which personnel can work below the water. Her main scope of work will be the search and recovery of lost cargo and wreckage as well as inspection for construction projects.

The vessel will also be capable of providing barrel anchors in gravelly and rocky areas in order to perform sampling activities.

Damen has applied the latest technology to the new vessel to ensure her suitability for future operations. She features high-performance diesel-electric propulsion compliant with EU Stage V standards, guaranteeing a constant cruising speed of 13 km/h.