RHIBS according to the Damen philosophy
Damen Shipyards adds a range of 7- to 12- metre RHIBs to its portfolio
Says Arnout Damen, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), “One of our main aims was to fill in this gap in our portfolio. We can now serve our clients from A to Z.”
With the introduction of the RHIB range, Damen can serve the entire maritime spectrum, from 7-metre RHIBs right up to 200-metre logistic support vessels. This is in line with Damen’s goal of providing a complete package of services from the design phase up to global 24/7 service.
“We want to develop our RHIBs in collaboration with our customers,” says Roel Foolen, the Project Manager at Damen Shipyards Hardinxveld who developed the RHIB range. The RHIB range has been developed for the military, security, and commercial markets. These markets include Defence & Security, Offshore Wind, Offshore Oil & Gas, and Public Transport. The RHIBs can operate both independently and from a mother ship. They are deployed, for example, as autonomous platforms by special forces, customs, the coast guard, police, or fire service.
When RHIBs are deployed from a mother ship, that ship – which may be a coast guard, customs or navy vessel – can only carry out its duties if the RHIBs can be launched in heavy seas. “A RHIB is a force multiplier,” says Richard Keulen, Naval Sales Support. As the former commander of a frigate built by Damen, Mr Keulen has practical experience of their operational value. Deployment of a frigate in counter-drugs or anti-piracy operations depends entirely on the availability of RHIBs. “In operations of that kind, it’s RHIBs that provide the speed you need. And if you don’t have RHIBs, you can’t board, search, and perhaps take over a suspect vessel.”
“You need to see the RHIB as one of the main tools of your ship,” says Piet van Rooij, Design & Proposal Manager at Damen Shipyards Gorinchem. “If the RHIB doesn’t function properly, the mother ship – for example an Offshore Patrol Vessel – can’t carry out its duties effectively. All its equipment needs to be top of the bill.”
Piet explains that the best way to design a RHIB – whether one to operate as an autonomous platform or as a tool of a patrol vessel – is for the shipyard and the client to collaborate closely. “For a patrol vessel,” says Piet, “you’re dealing with an entire concept for boarding operations, including planning how to launch the RHIB using a crane, a davit, or a slipway. The lines of communication between the yard and the client, therefore, need to be very short.”
“Damen has built military and commercial ships since 1875,” through the acquisition of Royal Schelde emphasises Arnout. “This long tradition makes Damen a solid and reliable partner. We’ve been building vessels in series since the 1960s,” he adds. “Back then, that was an innovation in the shipbuilding industry. Today, it’s the core of our business strategy.”
A high degree of standardisation in the design and build results in proven systems, high levels of quality and reliability, competitive prices, and short delivery times – without surprises. “We build vessels in series, using not only standardised designs, but also standardised assembly-line techniques, resulting in well-proven and reliable ships,” explains Arnout.
Standard concept, flexible outfitting
As a result, the new RHIB range fits seamlessly into the Damen tradition of providing vessels that are customer-specific where desired and standard where possible. Roel refers to this as “standard concept, flexible outfitting”. The hull of the RHIB is based on a standardised design and a standardised high-end production method that Damen has long used to achieve high efficiency and top quality. The propulsion and outfitting details of the RHIB are determined according to the client’s requirements.
This summer, two prototypes will undergo an intensive programme of tests, after which the RHIB range will come onto the market.
■ Roots in military and commercial shipbuilding stretching back to 1875
■ Impressive credentials in the Defence & Security market around the globe
■ Series Production, resulting in well-proven and reliable ships with unrivalled delivery times
■ Global 24/7 service and training
■ Multifunctional RHIBs with multi-mission flexibility