DISCOVER Magazine #7

Mexican Navy and Damen cooperating in most technologically advanced naval ship in Latin America

Published in category: Defence & Security

Damen Shipyards Group and the Mexican Navy, via the Directorate General of Shipbuilding, are currently working together to build the Long Range Ocean Patrol (POLA (from its initials in Spanish)), the most technologically advanced vessel in Latin America. With this, the Mexican Navy will join the long list of navies around the world that have Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding vessels in their fleets. POLA will be the Mexican version of the Damen SIGMA 10514, a proven design that has booked successful results internationally. POLA will be 107 metres in length, with a beam of 14 metres. It will be able to sail at speeds of up to 25+ knots and a capacity of more than 20 days at sea.

A Damen representative said, “This vessel will be capable of carrying out various missions such as safeguarding Mexican sovereignty, international security cooperation, long range search and rescue operations and humanitarian aid. POLA will allow the Mexican state to increase its surveillance coverage and the protection of Mexican maritime interests beyond the Exclusive Economic Zone.

Damen, with its global experience in the construction of complex vessels, is transferring knowledge to the Mexican shipbuilding industry through this project. This is a process that Damen undertakes regularly via the Damen Technical Cooperation (DTC). This project, however, takes the DTC concept to the next level. Damen and the Mexican Navy took the decision to build two of the six modular sections of the vessel at Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) in Vlissingen, the Netherlands.

The remaining four modules will be built locally in Mexico. The construction of these modules, along with the integration, will be carried out at a yard that cooperates on this with Damen. “In this way, for the most part,” the Damen representative stated,

the vessel will be built for Mexico, in Mexico, by Mexicans.

During the construction of the modules in Europe, a Mexican team is based in the Netherlands to supervise the process and to receive knowledge transfer. At the same time, Damen is benefitting from the transfer of region-specific expertise from the Mexican delegation.

The first of the Dutch modules has already arrived in Mexico, where it is being integrated by Mexican personal with two of those already built in Salina Cruz. Just fifteen months following the inking of the contract, the hull is already complete in drydock. It will now be prepared to receive the other three superstructure modules.

The flagging ceremony of the POLA is planned for November 2018. After this, a full integrated process of setting to work, commissioning, training, tests and trials will continue in 2019.

This level of cooperation between Damen and the Mexican Navy is the result of the synergy developed through the years while building together ten Tenochtitlan class patrol vessels that are a spin-off of the Damen Stan Patrol 4207 and one logistic supply vessel Isla María Madre class that comes from the Damen Fast Crew Supplier 5009 design. All these projects provided a significant transfer of technology in favour of Mexican shipyards.

Luchtfoto 1

Characteristics of the POLA
• Length: 107 m
• Beam: 14 m
• Displacement: 2,570 tons
• Speed: 25+ knots
• Propulsion: CODOE
• Range: 20+ days

Modular building

As with previous projects throughout the world, the Damen SIGMA design is conceived to be built modularly anywhere in the world and in more than one location simultaneously. With each SIGMA vessel divided into six modules, this way of assembly allows each module to be built in parallel. For both the Mexican and Indonesian projects, two out of the six modules are built at Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) in the Netherlands. The remaining four modules are designed to be built at local yards. Upon completion at the local yard, the six different modules are brought together for final assembly and integration with assistance from Damen. The result is a process that is controlled, flexible and fast.

Damen’s modular building and the SIGMA concept are supported on three pillars:

Process control
Keeping control is the key to success. Damen takes full responsibility, from design to manufacturing, through purchasing to logistics, with integral planning and reporting, all based on international standards for complex project management. Using digital platforms for information availability and visualisation of progress, a first time right understanding is being created by all involved parties.

Global coverage
It is always the aim to optimise the use of local yard facilities, skills and conditions. No shipyard in the world is the same, so a flexible approach is necessary to make it possible to build a SIGMA in any location the client desires.

Building strategy
The building strategy maps out the entire project from design and engineering to construction and delivery. Damen develops a dedicated building strategy for each project before it starts, so all stakeholders are able to use this as a base for the project execution.

The contractual milestones of the Mexican POLA are on schedule from the beginning, being a good example of Damen’s ingenuity and of cooperation between Mexico and the Netherlands – something which generates a boost in the development of the maritime and shipbuilding industries of both nations.

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