DISCOVER Magazine #7

Long life and prosperity

Published in category: Editor’s choice

Chief commercial officer Arnout Damen, with managing director High Speed Craft Wiard Leenders and product manager tugs Dirk Degroote, talks about delivering Damen’s goal of low total cost of ownership over the lifetime of a vessel.

When it comes to purchasing a vessel, Damen’s chief commercial officer Arnout Damen urges buyers to look beyond the initial outlay. “There are Damen vessels still in operation today that were built in the 1970s. Given a lifespan as long as this, it makes sense to consider the costs of the total operation, not only the capital costs. It often transpires, especially with a Damen vessel, that the total cost of ownership, over the lifetime of the product, can easily offset the cost of initial investment.”


The reasons that this applies notably to Damen vessels are many and varied. For one thing, Damen takes care to ensure the high quality of its facilities, wherever in the world it builds, ensuring high quality welding and painting, for example. Perhaps though, the key element here is the process of standardised shipbuilding.

“With standardisation, we develop a product and improve it over successive generations, with the result that it proves its reliability. Everyone knows what the vessel’s capabilities are because there are other examples of its kind, performing consistently and providing a benchmark. That being the case, Damen vessels have a high re-sale value.

“This is not only good when you want to sell your boat, but also for the buyer – with the product offering a tangible performance, the banks also know what they are looking at and are happier to finance the investment.”


The features of Damen’s standard vessels also play their part in reducing the cost of operations over the lifecycle of the vessel. Again, examples are legion, but the attention that Damen pays to designing efficient hull forms plays its part in considerably reducing fuel consumption.

You can see this with Damen Tugs. Their smooth lines create less resistance and stimulate lower fuel usage.

Also, vessels that have the Sea Axe Bow (the patented Damen hull form developed in collaboration with the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands) feature improved seakeeping and less resistance in the water. As a result, the Axe Bow is proven to offer reduced fuel consumption of up to 20%.”


Managing director High Speed Craft Wiard Leenders: Total cost of ownership is an important part of the design criteria for High Speed Craft. It is, in fact, the reason for the development of some of our products – such as those providing marine access solutions.

“For us, speed, capacity and reliability are all crucial components. From an OPEX perspective, one of our challenges is to reach the maximum speed with the minimum amount of installed power. The amount of power not only affects the weight of the vessel, it impacts fuel consumption, which we aim to keep as low as possible. To that end, we conduct quite some research, often in collaboration with institutes such as the TU Delft and MARIN (Maritime Research Institute Netherlands). As a result, our vessels have developed a reputation for low, predictable fuel consumption combined with excellent seakeeping, particularly in higher sea states.”

Multratug 31 ASD 3212 luchtbeelden


Dirk Degroote, product manager Tugs, agrees with the assessment that standardisation drives low total cost of ownership. “Our tugs draw on the experience of the entire Damen fleet and incorporate the improvements of successive generations, so reliability is assured. Low maintenance is also a feature. As an example, on the ASD Tug 2312 we have incorporated fresh water keel cooling channels. It’s a simple system without the need for box coolers or ICAF (Impressed Current Anti-Fouling) anodes It’s a system that has already proven itself the world over on Stan Tugs, so we have absolute confidence in optimising it for higher power on ASD Tugs.

“I tend to see that the clients really see the return on their investment with a Damen vessel during their fifth year – at the five-year survey. Our aim is that this should be a time of simple maintenance, not a massive overhaul and my experience is that the quality of the vessel, at this stage, can already offset the expenditure of the initial capital investment.”


Wiard agrees: “For all systems and sub-systems we apply A-brand materials and components. This not only reduces maintenance, it makes it more predictable. And, if maintenance is necessary, our use of high quality materials ensures the easy availability of spare parts.”

“In that respect,” rejoins Arnout, “our international network of Service Hubs and globally available fleet of engineers also play their part in making sure that Damen clients face the absolute minimal downtime in their operations.”


Wiard: “Indeed, a good part of our work towards lower OPEX is not about minimising costs, but maximising performance. The longer the vessel can operate comfortably, the more income it generates for the customer. This is where our focus lies.”

Within this area of focus are numerous elements – widening windows of operability based on weather windows and increasing safety and on board comfort to name a few.


With the increasing digitalisation of the maritime industry, new tools are becoming available that assist with reducing fuel consumption, lowering maintenance requirements and maximising vessel uptime. Damen has been quick to embrace the new technology, implementing such things as remote monitoring with Damen Digital.

Arnout: “Damen Digital includes the remote monitoring of fuel consumption patterns to promote efficient sailing. It also paves the way to extending periods between maintenance, based on accurate monitoring of such things as fuel and oil quality and parts performance. Similar practice has already had much success in the automotive industry where the additional in-depth knowledge provided by remote monitoring has brought a lot of success in cost-saving and maximising uptime. We are maintaining a close eye on digital developments as we foresee digitalisation will further increase opportunities to bring OPEX down in the future.

“We are always looking to further develop our performance, collecting valuable feedback from our clients and industry and incorporating it into the continual development of our products. We operate on the basis that there is always room for improvement. However, we are proud of what we have achieved to date and I feel confident in saying that you can earn more money with a Damen boat. It’s not the cheapest, but it is the best,” concludes Arnout.

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