DISCOVER Magazine #7

Meet the team that is taking on Damen’s biggest challenge yet

Published in category: Offshore Wind
Chris Groninger Chris Groninger
Managing director
Damen Shipyards Mangalia
Ruud van der Stroom Sales director offshore Damen Shipyards Group Ruud van der Stroom
Sales director offshore
Damen Shipyards Group


Peter Robert Director BD&MI Damen Shipyards Group Peter Robert
Director BD&MI
Damen Shipyards Group
Wouter Henstra Business development manager, Damen Shiprepair & Conversion Wouter Henstra
Business development
manager, Damen Shiprepair
& Conversion


20th July, 2018 will go down in the history of Damen as the date that the group stepped up to a new level. The acquisition of the yard formerly known as Daewoo Mangalia Heavy Industry and the taking on of managerial and operational responsibility for the site brought into the Damen network a yard that dwarfs all the others in size and capability, and at the same time opened up a whole new range of opportunities and challenges.

The opportunity that the renamed Damen Shipyards Mangalia (DSMa) offers is the ability to build larger, more complex vessels than the group has ever built before. Damen regularly performs repairs and maintenance work on cruise ships, LNG carriers and other very large vessels, but newbuilding on that scale will be something new for the 90-year old company. Specifically, the focus at DSMa will be primarily, but not exclusively on offshore, RoPax and cruise vessels. The yard’s location on the Black Sea also opens up the possibility of winning more conversion and repair business from the Greek shipping industry and other local operators.

The challenge will be to integrate Damen’s working and management practices and the Dutch focus on quality and efficiency quickly and effectively with a yard that will employ several thousand people.


Making it happen

Leading the team responsible for making DSMa a success is its new managing director Chris Groninger. Chris combines an accountant’s eye for detail and the bottom line with shop floor experience of setting up and managing a successful yard; in this case Damen Song Cam Shipyard in Vietnam.

Mangalia has the ideal infrastructure for what we plan to do,

says Chris.

“We have three drydocks up to 360 metres by 60 metres in size, 1600 metres of quayside and lots of crane capacity and workshops distributed over approximately one million m2. However we will need to further expand its capabilities so that we can meet our goals.

“For example, we want to move to an environment that is more balanced between steel works and outfitting works. Our intention is to deliver complete vessels from this yard, but currently the yard is set up for the construction of ships for which all the engineering work is complete. We will be building one-offs at Mangalia, these will be highly complex vessels, and so engineering and production activities will need to take place in parallel.”

Wouter Henstra, business development manager, Damen Shiprepair & Conversion, is looking forward to the benefits that DSMa will offer to the wider Damen group. “With its sizable steel-working facilities Mangalia will support vessel refit and conversion projects at Damen Shiprepair & Conversion yards in the Netherlands and France by undertaking the pre-fabrication of large steel structures. We are already working on some steel assemblies weighing 1,200 tonnes in all for refit works on board the drilling rig Stena Don, ahead of its arrival at Damen Verolme Rotterdam in October.”

Offshore opportunities

Ruud van der Stroom, sales director offshore for Damen, is optimistic that the timing of the purchase is good. “The offshore sector is just starting to see an improvement in business conditions which makes this the right time for us expand our ambitions in this sector. We have decided to focus on four offshore areas to start with, leveraging our existing relationships and expertise. The first of these is heavy-lift, where we are offering the latest jack-up rigs in partnership with GustoMSC, along with the new WOLF 2500, an in-house monohull design optimised for wind turbine installation but with multiple applications. The second area is field development vessels for offshore oil and gas including well intervention, AHT and survey vessels. Here we are working with the highly respected naval architects OSD-IMT.

“The third offshore vessel type that we plan to build at Mangalia is compact floating production and storage units. These will be versatile designs suitable for meeting specific needs such as marginal fields in the North Sea. Lastly, we plan to take advantage of the location and space available at Mangalia to build offshore structures such as jackets, subsea templates and pipes. With Black Sea oil & gas production growing and local content requirements commonplace, we have already received a number of enquiries, and this will also support our other yards with their refits and conversions.”

In fact, Ruud and his team are in discussions with prospective clients across all their target markets, and the number of companies making unsolicited enquiries is a positive indication of what the future may hold for the yard.

The final word goes to Peter Robert, director business development & market intelligence at Damen, for whom this is as much a global opportunity for the group as a regional one. “The acquisition of this yard provides Damen with the means to develop in a number of new markets such as cruise and RoPax on a global scale. In particular it will allow us to complete the portfolio of vessels that we can offer to the worldwide offshore wind market, especially the next-generation wind turbine installation vessels starting with our new WOLF 2500 design, which we hope to start building soon.

“In the immediate future, our task is to facilitate the yard and Damen adjusting to each other, and to put the best of both into the vessels that we are going to build there.

There’s a lot of work to do, but the consensus is that this is the right time to embark on this exciting new phase for the Damen Shipyards Group.


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