23 May 2022

Damen Marine Components to supply FLEX tunnels, propeller nozzles, steering gear and rudders for new XXL inland tankers

Signing of a contract for the supply of equipment for two tankers

Hans Buitelaar

Contract with Rensen-Driessen Shipbuilding signed at Maritime Industry exhibition

Damen Marine Components (DMC) will supply FLEX Tunnelspropeller nozzlesmanoeuvring systems and rudders for two innovative inland tanker vessels to Rensen-Driessen Shipbuilding (RDS) from Zwijndrecht, the Netherlands. On Tuesday May 17, Wim Driessen from RDS and Leo van Zon of DMC, signed a contract at the Maritime Industry exhibition in Gorinchem, the Netherlands.

The newly developed tankers by RDS are based on the series of four large ‘XXL tankers’ that have been built between 2017 and 2020. The new tankers will be equipped with each two FLEX tunnels, two propeller nozzles and two complete steering systems including four rudders, steering gear and controls. Propellers of a large two meter diameter have been selected, which provide efficient propulsion under all circumstances. Van der Velden FLEX Tunnels under the hull ensure optimal water flow to the propellers. The wings that construct the duct under the hull in front of the propellers, can be retracted up towards the hull and extracted to create the tunnel.

When the tanker navigates on deep water with a full load, the tunnels can be retracted in the hull, as the propellers will be fully submerged to generate thrust. On shallow water and with limited draft, the tunnels can be deployed, so the water will flow under the hull towards the propellers, that will still be fully submerged in the flow towards them. This allows to uphold operations at quite low water levels This concept has proven successful: 13 vessels with FLEX tunnels are operational and seven more are under construction.

Asymmetrical rudders

The new XXL tankers will be equipped with two propellers with each a nozzle. Behind this, two independently operated Van der Velden HD 240 two-rudder systems are installed. Each set of connected rudders has an asymmetrical 60 – 80 degrees rudder angle, that generates optimal thrust. Even at very low speed, excellent manoeuvring capabilities are ensured.

Maximal deadweight

To be able to take as much liquid as possible in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp sailing area, the vessel measurements are impressive. At 135 meter length and 22 meter beam, the vessels are categorised as XXL. The performance of earlier XXL tankers, providing 13000 deadweight, are very promising. New customers at RDS therefore chose for this vessel concept.


Like the earlier XXL tankers, the new vessel design is developed by RDS together with Rommert Ship Design and completed for improved efficiency by DMC. Knowledge gathered in earlier projects was applied. The cooperation between the yard and DMC is outstanding, resulting in state-of-the-art vessels.

“Working with these suppliers has enabled us to optimally develop new ships,” says Wim Driessen. “Thanks to working with DMC we can further improve our industry network and integration of ship systems, to perfectly serve our clients.”

Area sales manager Leo van Zon adds: “We like to thank RDS for the long standing and pleasant cooperation and the openness in this relation. The innovative approach in their shipbuilding projects is a pride to the whole industry!”

The hulls will be built in China to arrive in The Netherlands at the end of 2023 for outfitting.