DISCOVER Magazine #7

Destination of choice. For the most complex offshore projects

Published in category: Offshore Wind

Damen Verolme Rotterdam (DVR) is fast approaching its second anniversary of joining the Damen family. In that short space of time it has already demonstrated its ability to take on the largest and most complex offshore projects thanks both to its impressive facilities and its more than 60 years of ship repair and conversion experience. 


If further proof was needed as to its capabilities, then the recent major refit of the drilling rig Stena Don is surely it. The vessel arrived in Rotterdam on the 4th of October 2018 and remained there for nearly five months undergoing a comprehensive range of works to prepare her for her next project, with DVR delivering a complete turnkey package. 

The Stena Don, a harsh environment, dynamically positioned, fifth generation semi-submersible drilling rig capable of drilling in waters up to 650 metres deep, is owned and operated by Stena Drilling. 95.5 metres in length and with a beam of 67 metres, she was built by the Kvaerner Warnow Werft Shipyard in Germany in 2001 and, following the refit, has accommodation for up to 140 personnel.  

The refit process in fact started more than three months earlier at the signing of the contract. Work got immediately underway on preparations for the installation of the new, eight-point mooring system that was to be the largest single element of the refit. Engineering began at once followed by the manufacture of various elements of the system including the anchor chain lockers, and also two sponsons. Weighing 1,200 tonnes in total, they were all fabricated at Damen Shipyards Mangalia before being shipped to Rotterdam ready for installation. 

The installation of an eight-point mooring system was deemed necessary for her future drilling contracts. The Stena Don already had a DP3 system for maintaining position, but an anchor-based system is more effective in shallow waters and, by not having thrusters in continual operation, emissions can be significantly reduced and substantial savings on fuel costs made. 


The Stena Don arrived at the Maasvlakte deep-water area off Rotterdam on 4th of October. There her six thrusters were removed over the course of six days, after which she entered DVR, moored alongside the quay, and work on board immediately began. 

As well as the anchor chain lockers, the installation of the mooring system included fitting eight anchor winches and their fairleads plus the winch control cabins, new VFD switchboards and brake resistor units. The eight ultra-high-holding power anchors were delivered by Damen’s Anchor and Chain Factory. In addition to that the yard also strengthened the hull to comply with the new regulations regarding the mitigation of wave impact forces. All this extra weight then required the fitting of the two additional sponsons fabricated at Damen Shipyards Mangalia in Romania to maintain stability. Meanwhile, the POB capacity was upgraded from 120 to 140 persons on board, which involved accommodation upgrades as well as the fabrication and installation of two triple lifeboat systems. This was another major project in its own right. 

On 18th of February 2019 the Stena Don exited the yard for the Maasvlakte and the reinstallation of its DPS thrusters. The official handover to Stena Drilling followed on 26th February, in line with the original schedule. The next day she departed for Bergen for inclination tests and additional assessments prior to starting work off the Shetland Islands. 


“This was a major project with limited time available, and it had its challenges.” said Jan Kees Pilaar, managing director of DVR, “It was effectively a turnkey project with DVR handling every aspect including the engineering. However, we know Stena Don from previous projects and have an excellent working relationship with Stena Drilling, so the combination of familiarity with the vessel and the support of different specialist units within the Damen Group ensured a successful conclusion.” 

We are deeply impressed with how DVR, in close cooperation with our own first-class project team on site and all involved subcontractors, managed to successfully complete this very challenging project on time, on budget and without incidents,

added Fredrik Samuelsson, commercial project manager at Stena Drilling. “A lot of work had to be completed in a very short timeframe and this could only be achieved thanks to the professionalism and dedication shown by DVR throughout the project. The result is a very capable and highly versatile rig which will make us and our clients proud for many years to come.” 

Despite the size and scope of this project, while it was going on DVR was undertaking a series of other projects including an upgrade for the 198-metre Saipem 7000, one of the largest semi-submersible crane and pipe-laying vessels in the world. In the world of offshore repair and refit, DVR really is a force to be reckoned with. 

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