Damen Maaskant Shipyards Stellendam. Looking ahead with confidence, looking back with pride
A team from Damen Maaskant Shipyards Stellendam (Maaskant) will be attending this year’s Skipper Expo event in Aberdeen over 17-18 May. New managing director Eric Moerkerk, commercial manager Jeroen van den Berg and sales manager Mike Besijn will all be there to discuss the yard’s expertise in new builds, repairs and maintenance. Located to the south-west of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Maaskant builds and maintains a wide selection of workboats, from tugs and fast crew suppliers to research and safety standby vessels. However, its heart lies where it all began over seventy years ago; in fishing boats.
Founded by Piet Maaskant and his two sons in 1948 as a repair yard in Bruinisse for the local fishing boats, the yard that is now Maaskant has, despite a subsequent move to Stellendam, stayed true to its roots ever since. In what has been an uncertain market in recent years, in May 2018, Maaskant delivered the first new beam trawler to take to the North Sea in twelve years. 41-metres in length, it was built using a stock hull and fitted with twin Optima nozzles manufactured by Damen Marine Components (DMC). This was the first time that Maaskant has installed these in a fishing boat. Other recent contracts have included two innovative, tightly designed fly shooter & twin rig vessels for separate clients, due for delivery this year.
One of these, the Spes Nova, is based on a new concept. It has diesel-electrical propulsion and is fitted with a battery pack for peak shaving, which has not been applied in fisheries before. The point of departure is a varied demand for capacity and, by balancing it out more efficiently with a battery pack, considerable fuel savings can be made. The ship also has the exterior of a yacht, which is revolutionary for fisheries.
Over the past seventy years the yard has broadened its capabilities. A side specialisation in building and maintaining winches was very successful, and has since been incorporated into Damen Marine Components, but during that time it has also built 627 new vessels, not all of which have been fishing boats. Maaskant has benefited from demand from the offshore industry and also delivered two innovative Carousel RAVE TUGS to leading towage and salvage specialist Multraship.
The maintenance and repair work has also been going well. A long-term maintenance contract with Rijkswaterstaat (the Directorate for Public Works and Water Management) keeps the yard busy for the first part of each year. With three dry docks, 500 metres of quayside and a full range of workshops, Maaskant can build, repair, maintain and convert any type of vessel.
A new hand on the tiller
In September 2018, longstanding managing director Frits van Dongen retired and was replaced by Eric Moerkerk. Eric was born and grew up in the beautiful Goedereede Havenhoofd, less than one and a half kilometres from the yard. His father was a fisherman and his mother’s family had a fishing business, so the sector is in his blood. He looks forward to maintaining the yard’s reputation of quality and workmanship – its vessels are known for being virtually indestructible. “The vision and the mission won’t change,” he says and, when asked about the prospects for 2019, he responds,
When we have delivered two beautiful new fishing vessels, that will be the icing on the cake. And if, in the area of repair, we have a similar year to last year, then we will be doing very well.