This year sees a milestone moment for Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania as the yard marks 130 years of operation. Part of the Damen Shipyards Group since 1999, the Galati yard has been responsible for some of the company’s largest and most complex vessel deliveries to date. It continues to play an important role in the development of the Damen portfolio, producing cutting-edge vessels for multiple maritime sectors.
A proud history
The Galati yard, on the banks of the Danube, first opened its gates in 1893, in what had long been a renowned area for the shipbuilding industry. Beginning life as a mechanical construction and iron and bronze foundry, by 1897, it had gone into the ship repair business and was known as G. Fernic et Co Shipyard. Producing and maintaining numerous vessels over the years, by the mid-twentieth century the yard had become renowned for the construction of naval vessels.
Joining the family
The connection with Damen began in 1994, when the group subcontracted the construction of a number of cargo vessel hulls to the yard. From here, the relationship developed until, at the turn of the century, the Damen Group acquired what would become known as Damen Shipyards Galati.
Today, the yard is one of the largest production sites in the Damen Group, covering 55 hectares and employing in the region of 1,500 personnel, plus subcontractors. Since joining the Damen Group, the yard has delivered over 500 vessels. Its production reflects the diversity of the Damen portfolio and includes patrol ships, offshore vessels, ferries, dredgers, barges, tugs, superyachts and naval vessels.
Of the latter, the yard has delivered more than 30 examples to navies around the world, including NATO and EU countries.
Focused on the future
Damen Shipyards Galati is looking ahead. In alignment with Damen’s ambitions to become the world’s most sustainable shipbuilder, the yard has developed a strategy for the future.
Managing Director of Damen’s Romanian Yards Division Mark Vermeulen, said, “Going forwards, our commitment to sustainability will become increasingly visible. We’ve already got a proud track record in the construction of fully electric and hybrid vessels. While developing the digitalisation and automation of our processes, we intend to build on this, staying one step ahead of both the digital and energy transitions and supplying our clients with high-quality, relevant solutions. At the same time, these developments are aimed at making the yard a safer, more enjoyable place of work that continues to attract the very best of local talent, as it has for generations.”
Damen Shipyards Galati Managing Director, Doru Gaibar said, “While we pause at this moment to remember our history, our focus remains very much on the future. This is reflected in the significant investments we are making to ensure the continued success of the yard. An example of this is the new fully robotised welding line for micro-panels and future extended covered production area. With this we are adapting to the future needs of our clients, particularly those requiring complex, sophisticated vessels such as superyachts and naval vessels. The extension of covered space will give us additional flexibility and capacity, enabling us to both take on additional projects and to complete them, safely, with greater efficiency than ever before.”
Care for the community
A sustainable focus is part of the culture at Damen Shipyards Galati. The yard is very active in providing support for local initiatives, with a focus on health, education and social programmes. For example, in 2007, the yard opened its own training centre, at which over 2,000 young people have been trained in welding, steel fitting and pipe fitting. In 2022, the Damen Fund for Innovation in Environmental Education was set up to support local education institutions provide learning on nature and the environment in the Galati area.
A moment of celebration
To commemorate its 130th anniversary, the yard hosted a celebration on 26th August, to which all employees, suppliers and their families were invited. At the event, guests enjoyed food, drinks and music as well as a drone performance and fireworks.