DISCOVER Magazine #7

40 Dry Docks guaranteeing capacity

Published in category: Shiprepair & Conversion

In a strategic move in 2012 all 13 shipyards specialising in repair and conversion have been brought together under one organisation named ‘Damen Shiprepair & Conversion’, giving Damen a leading position, especially in the North Sea market.

Damen Shiprepair & Conversion

With repair yards in the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Dubai, as well as yards in South Africa and Singapore, Damen now has more dry dock capacity than any of its competitors, which enables it to accommodate customer requests promptly.

Durk-Jan Nederlof, who is heading up Damen Shiprepair & Conversion, says: “This move to bring the yards under one umbrella organisation ensures that Damen makes the most of synergies between newbuilding and repair and that the group has a solid platform from which to grow its activities, whether organically or through acquisition.” Most yards have been renamed Damen Shiprepair, followed by the yard’s location.

Mr Nederlof is in the process of building up cooperation amongst the repair yards in the group and the objective is that they work closely together when it comes to Sales, Public Relations, Procurement, Human Resources, ICT and HSEQ. “We want to professionalise the entire organisation, have uniform quality and safety standards and benefit from each other’s expertise. This more intensive cooperation will also enable us to grow.”


Five acquisitions

2012 saw Damen embark on a substantial acquisition spree in the repair sector, when the group acquired five yards in less than a year. “The extensive knowledge of offshore vessels and construction, as well as the commercial contacts with the offshore companies existing in the repair group will also be utilised to help Damen achieve its ambition to build larger vessels for the offshore market. We can now start to see that there is more synergy between newbuilding and repair and we can make the most of this.”

Brest, France
In March 2012, Damen became the new operator of the French shiprepair yard Sobrena. Now named Damen Shiprepair Brest, the yard has three dry docks, the biggest measuring 420 x 80 m, being one of the largest docks in Europe.

Sobrena had a very good reputation in the LNG sector and since the acquisition Damen has already worked on three LNG carriers. ‘Damen Shiprepair Brest’ is serving several markets and vessel types, such as LNG carriers, tankers, semi-submersibles, FPSOs, Offshore Construction Vessels, Jack-up rigs, cruise ships and ferries.

“Damen Shiprepair Brest has really added value to our ship repair business. Until then, our largest dock had been 350 m x 50 m in Rotterdam. This also means we can get a stronger position in markets such as semi-submersibles, LNG carriers and rigs.”

Oskarshamnsvarvet, Sweden
Then in May Damen acquired Oskarshamnsvarvet, a ship repair yard and steel construction company on the south-east coast of Sweden, specialised in the maintenance and repair of vessels up to 80 m. This yard has built, repaired and maintained a substantial part of the Swedish coastal fleet since 1863. Damen Services also has a Service Hub there serving Damen clients on the east coast.

ARNO Dunkerque, France
Damen then finished off the year with the acquisition of ARNO Dunkerque, which was established in 1987, although its roots date back more than 100 years. The French yard is known for a variety of specialities including ferries, cruise liners, ro-ro vessels, container ships, dredgers, bulkers and tankers, as well as many vessels for the offshore industry.

Mr Nederlof is hopeful for the future despite the present economic difficulties in the market. “At the moment it is quite a challenging market in the repair sector as owners are worried about the economic climate but we are confident going forward. Damen Shiprepair & Conversion has an enormous capacity and this allows us to operate a reliable service. We will always have a dock when the client needs one and not many competitors can say that. We can be more efficient and specialise in certain niche markets because we have a highly skilled workforce capable of taking on the most challenging jobs.”

Shipdock, Amsterdam & Harlingen
In the last weeks of the year, Damen made a series of rapid acquisitions on the back of each other. Closer to home it bought Shipdock, a very well known Amsterdam repair facility able to handle vessels up to 250 m. In Amsterdam, Shipdock has a professional machine shop and steel construction facility Niron Staal.

And Damen also acquired Shipdock’s other smaller yard in Harlingen, which handles vessels up to 120 m. “These yards have excellent facilities, a Synchro Lift and very skilled people,” Mr Nederlof points out.

Huge projects prove Damen Shiprepair’s extensive capabilities

Damen Shiprepair & Conversion has recently handled two of the largest projects in its history. In a huge contract Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam carried out repairs and the lifetime extension of the FPSO Gryphon A for Maersk Oil UK Yards.

Taking place between June 2011 and August 2012, the Gryphon A project involved dry-docking, damage repairs and a complete refit.


The full scope of this challenging project included the complete overhaul of the turret and fairleads, around 800 tonnes of steel renewal in way of the cargo area, extensive coating of the vessel, both inside and outside involving over 200,000 m2 of ballast tank coating. Additionally this included renewal and modification of the topsides and the overhaul of all thrusters, pumps, motors, winches etc., as well as an accommodation upgrade.

Furthermore, Scheldepoort Repair & Conversion Yard, which is now known as Damen Shiprepair Vlissingen, won a contract to convert a jack-up drill rig, the ‘Shelf Explorer’, into offshore hotel accommodation.

The accommodation unit is now known as ‘Atlantic Amsterdam’, and is owned by Atlantic Amsterdam Pte. Ltd. of Singapore, a subsidiary of Ezion Holdings. The new accommodation block, which houses approximately 135 people, was prefabricated in the yard prior to the arrival of the rig. Existing accommodation facilities were also refurbished. New lifeboats were installed and the rigs were fitted with stabiliser pumps to comply with the latest regulations.

Damen Shiprepair Vlissingen carried out an identical project in April 2011 on a drill rig, which is now known as Atlantic Labrador. Durk-Jan Nederlof emphasises: “These are some of the biggest projects in our history which we have completed very successfully. These really take us into the Champion’s League of repair and conversion and proves the capabilities of our yards.”

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