DISCOVER Magazine #7

Achieving the WOW factor

Published in category: Fishing & Aquaculture


With 70 years of experience in the fisheries sector, Damen Maaskant Shipyards Stellendam is a prime example of how some Damen yards have developed their expertise into niche markets. Operations have been the responsibility of Director Frits van Dongen for the last 25 years, and in that time the yard’s reputation has grown to an enviable status within the Dutch, as well as the wider European, fisheries industry. A dedicated workforce and close client contact combined with steadfast designs that have not shied away from innovative ideas have been the cornerstones of the yard’s success.

Marking the continuance of this strong position, 2018 has seen some new faces at the yard. Eric Moerkerk is currently working as Deputy Director. The son of long-standing fishing families (from both his mother’s and his father’s side), his connections with Maaskant go back to the times he spent at the yard as a boy.

Efficient power management

This year also sees the introduction of a new range of fishing vessels, based on a Vripack Naval Architects design that will set new benchmarks for the entire sector. The range comprises three designs of gross tonnage: 340GT, 400GT and 500GT. “They all have the same look and can be fitted out with diesel-electric, or conventional diesel depending on what the client wants,” Mr Moerkerk explains. The range of vessels could also be outfitted with electric winches (instead of the more traditional hydraulically powered).

Electric systems have the big advantage of being easier to maintain and actually generate electricity while the winches are paying out.

Home away from home

Maaskant is also offering the option of a battery pack throughout the range. Activities such as taking in the winches and sailing in and out of port could all be performed under electric power. “Battery technology is advancing fast, so we have a space reserved for the battery pack, allowing a client to wait as long as possible to confirm the components to gain the maximum advantage.”

“We can adjust the standard designs exactly to how the client wants them. In fact, there is standardisation in the fishing sector because we are dealing with owner-operators.”

To them, their vessel is their second home.

Creating the WOW

A new range of vessels is always accompanied by a so-called launching customer. And this is where Dutch fishing company Ekofish Group enters the equation. Family-owned Ekofish has a history that goes back more than a century. The company’s working practices are a result of a rich fishing heritage and a sustainable way of thinking. “We have a long-term vision about where we want to be in ten years’ time,” states owner Louwe de Boer. “This new vessel matches that vision exactly.” Ekofish approached Vripack Naval Architects with their ideas: “Our starting point was to use the same fishing gear, but with a 30 percent reduction in fuel consumption. In terms of design, we wanted a ship with the ‘wow’ factor – we wanted to try something new from the bottom of the keel to the top of the mast.”

“We presented the design to Maaskant, and they also had that ‘wow’ feeling,” adds Mr De Boer. “Then it was time to combine Damen’s knowledge, experience and ability with the Vripack design.”

Why Damen?

When asked about Ekofish’s motivation to select Damen Maaskant as construction yard, Mr De Boer is certain of the choice: “A Maaskant boat is the top of the range,” he smiles, backing up this notable statement with some hard facts about another Maaskant vessel in his fleet. “This was built here 33 years ago. It is still going strong – its last Lloyd’s special survey only took two days!”

The new vessel is currently under construction: “It’s futureproof. With three compact generators and a battery pack, it will be in line with stricter emissions regulations. With the on-board fish handling equipment, we will be combining sustainability with quality of product because we want our consumers to have the ‘wow’ factor too. And, with its looks, our ultimate aim is to win 2019 Ship of the Year.”

Electric systems have the big advantage of being easier to maintain and actually generate electricity while the winches are paying out.”

Eric Moerkerk

back to top