DISCOVER Magazine #7

Charter Partners

Published in category: Markets

The benefits of temporary vessel ownership
Damen Marine Services started life back in 1974 providing charters to customers with an immediate need for a workboat. With their ‘frontrunner’, clients could get on with the job, not wasting a single day’s work. Since then, horizons have broadened in terms of vessels owned, markets served and charter options offered.

Today, Damen Marine Services complements the sales department by introducing clients to the company’s portfolio. Highlighting the advantages of temporary vessel ownership is Damen Marine Services Managing Director Rik van Prooijen.

What maritime sectors are you involved in?
From day one, we’ve been involved in the dredging industry and, as the time went on, we expanded into oil and gas. We are always on the lookout for new markets – you can see this dynamism in our fleet.

How is the fleet structured?
Our backbone is workboats – Shoalbusters, Multi Cats, Tugs and Fast Crew Suppliers. We offer vessels with operational support, bareboat vessels and vessels under a lease purchase scheme. On top of this, we also have two 60-metre Stan Pontoons, which we rent out as auxiliary equipment.

Has the ‘frontrunner’ arrangement changed since the early days?
As well as offering clients a ‘frontrunner’ vessel, while their new build is under  construction, this concept is ideal for other purposes too.

Our FCS 2610 is a good example of this. We offer it without crew, on a bareboat basis, to operators whose own vessels are undergoing maintenance or repairs.

When does a lease purchase agreement come into play?
Together with Damen’s customer finance department, we can help out with the financing to help grow a customer’s business. In this situation we have very little involvement in day-to-day operations – the client knows how to do that best.
At the end of the lease period the customer is the owner of the vessel.

And what about the time charters?
This is a total package that includes crew, service and maintenance – the time scale for which could be anything between one day and 18 months. We have reduced this side of the business over the last few years – after all, we don’t want to become a competitor to our own customers. We now have a small fleet with experienced crews – a structure that also helps clients break into new markets.

Does that mean you work with new vessel designs too?
Yes, in the past we have acted as a launching customer for new designs. The Shoalbuster, for example, is just one of these success stories. Being a launching customer has its advantages – with our operational knowledge we can look at areas for improvement on a new design. We are also involved in testing new technologies.

Can you tell us more about your Research & Development activities?
We facilitate a company-wide research programme on remote monitoring: this will optimise the aftersales care that Damen Services provides. And we also collect information on operational profiles. For example, if you know how a vessel behaves in practice, you can optimise the hull shape, power configuration – the whole design. This fits perfectly into our long term goals of working together with our customers to create more efficient and advanced vessels.

The DMS Fleet available for chartering or sale

We are always on the lookout for new  markets – you can see this dynamism in our fleet.

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