DISCOVER Magazine #7

Damen in Australia

Published in category: Countries

More than 65 Damen vessels will be operating here in 2013

A global competitor, Australia has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and has enjoyed unprecedented growth for the past two decades. It has huge reserves of natural resources such as iron ore, oil, natural gas and gold and this is coupled with a people with ambition and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Damen has naturally been attracted to this land of opportunity and in fact, Damen introduced the first vessel to Australia already back in the seventies. But over the past decade particularly, Damen has expanded its presence to pretty much every port in the country and just recently, Damen sold its 57th vessel. In 2012 alone, Damen successfully concluded 16 contracts.

In light of developments in this fascinating country, Damen is dedicating an exposition at its Gorinchem Headquarters to Australia.

The Australia Exposition highlights the wonderful cultural diversity, including its famous sporting prowess, artists and aboriginal history, as well its great variety of wines and even the infamous Vegemite, (always a strong divider of opinions!). And so Damen employees can all celebrate the success the company has had in Australia, 2012’s Christmas present had an Australian theme too.

Since Damen decided to focus on Australia in 2000 the speed of growth – like that of the country itself – has been very fast. Damen sold a tugboat to be used in Carnarvon port in 2001 and now the group expects to see more than 65 vessels operate there this year!

Many of Damen’s tugs are destined for Hay Point, Mackay, which is the largest coal exporting facility in the Southern Hemisphere. Roland Briene, Regional Sales Director Asia Pacific, comments: “Damen vessels are often being used by our clients to assist all the large dredging companies which are busy working on new LNG and coal terminals.

Roland Briene, Regional Sales Director Asia Pacific

“Customers appreciate the quality and because we can deliver very quickly. Our standard vessels are in continuous production and this provides a great solution for the Australian market which is moving very fast.”

Damen also works directly with the mining companies. “Mining companies are keen to control the assets and the whole supply chain. With vessels they don’t want the risk that they won’t be available to help the huge bulkers berth and unberth. For these companies safety, reliability and quality are vital.”

Roland has been concentrating on the market since 2006 and has played a key role in Damen’s development in Australia. He visits at least once a month and supports clients wherever he is on the globe. Reflecting on a wonderful year, he comments: “2012 really has been fantastic and even though mining has slowed a little, 2013 is looking positive, particularly in the LNG sector.”

DMS 11-vessel order

Recently, a multi-vessel order for DMS Maritime Pty Ltd. culminated when a Rescue Gear Ship 9316 to support the Royal Australian Navy’s submarine fleet was ordered in November. This vessel is the last in a series of 11 and is due to be delivered in 2016.

“This really is a remarkable project. After working on this contract for more than three years, we are proud to say that all the vessels so far have been delivered ahead of schedule and in budget to the full satisfaction of the client,” he stresses.

Based in Sydney, DMS Maritime is part of the international service company Serco, which works with governments worldwide. Under the Fleet Marine Services Contract for the Royal Australian Navy DMS Maritime operates a fleet of around 75 vessels on the Navy’s behalf.

We could show that we have proven designs and a track record for on time delivery, in budget

Previously, Damen had worked extensively with Serco in the UK on a 29-vessel order completed in 2010. “We took the lessons we all learnt onboard for this contract. For instance, rather than having five project managers we had one to make sure all communications are streamlined efficiently.” The Rescue Gear Ship 9316 is based on a proven Damen concept having built a similar vessel, the ‘SD Victoria’, for Serco UK to support the Royal Navy.

“This is also the first regular contact Damen has had with the Royal Australian Navy and we hope that this positive experience means that the Navy will consider Damen in the future.”

Since 2011, DMS Maritime has ordered five tugboats (four Azimuth tugs – a Damen ASD Tug 2310 and ASD Tug 2009 plus two ASD’s 2411), as well as a Stan Tug 1606 to be deployed in Darwin, Sydney and Rockingham and four water fuel lighters (due for delivery in 2013/14). Four of the five tugs have been delivered. The ASD Tug 2009 will be delivered mid-2013.

As well as this, the contract includes an Escape Gear Ship 8316 Submarine Rescue Vessel, which was signed for in August 2012 and will be delivered in 2015.

“We started talks in 2007 but ultimately DMS Maritime chose us because of our ability to have all of the different types of vessels under one form of contract. During the tendering process we were able to get together with our product groups and give a very fast response and support them throughout the entire tender process with our project engineers, research and finance people. We could show that we have proven designs and a track record for on time delivery, in budget.”

Damen is also responsible for delivering all 11 vessels to Australia and carrying out the initial training and introduction into service.

Bhagwan Marine – seven vessels in 2012

Bhagwan Marine Pty Ltd is another Damen customer that has been extremely busy expanding in the last few years. The family owned company added seven vessels to its fleet, which is now nearly 70 strong (see the next story). The seven vessels included a Fast Crew Supplier 2610, which will be operated in Mackay in Northern Queensland.

In fact Mackay is becoming somewhat of a “show window” for Damen, Roland laughs. “There are five Damen terminal tugs, Shoalbusters, Multi Cats and Fast Crew Suppliers from at least five of our customers operating there.” Rhumb Maritime – a new customer for Damen – ordered three vessels in the last 18 months, two Stan Tugs 1606 and a Stan Pontoon 4113. Roland knew one of the owners, Ian Dalgeish, very well when he worked for another Australian maritime company. But he always had a dream to start out on his own.

PB Towage Australia is another important customer of Damen and has ordered 11 vessels in the last few years, particularly the Stan Tug 1606 and the Damen ASD Tug 2411.

“The Stan Tug 1606 is a compact vessel giving a high bollard pull of 16 tonnes – it’s a real workhorse, offering a great price compared to the quality and the powerful BP. It really has proved a winner in Australia being suitable for all kinds of operations such as towing, pushing, crew supply, pilotage and pushing barges.”

Damen Australia Pty Ltd in Sydney

With Damen’s growth in Australia, the company wants to be as close to its customers as possible and indeed, Damen is proud to announce that it will open Damen Australia Pty Ltd. in the next year.

Damen has already been working with a local team of three engineers who look after vessels during the warranty period and beyond. Eventually, Damen hopes to have two to four Service Hubs in the country. In Sydney local service engineers will initially be handling warranty claims but the intention is to grow into a technical supporting role, including pre-docking inspections and maintenance assistance.

2013 looks to be another busy year for the Australian market. As Roland emphasises: “There is so much going on, never a dull moment!”

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