Brest sets the pace in cruise ship retrofits and repairs
Following the success of recent retrofit projects, most notably that on the 329-metre, 4,100 passenger capacity cruise ship the Norwegian Epic, together with repair and maintenance works on board a number of other cruise ships, Damen Shiprepair & Conversion (DSC) is looking to build on this experience by developing its market share in the sector. Cruise ships bring with them many distinct challenges, not least in the broad range of amenities for their many thousands of expectant customers, intensive itineraries fixed up to a year or more ahead, and the sheer size of the largest vessels.
The Damen advantage
With fast turnaround schedules and equipped for the complex logistical requirements of cruise vessel operators, DSC is well positioned with yards near the major European cruise terminals of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Southampton.
Such locations can cut hours or even days from the total time needed for these challenging retrofi t works. DSC operates 11 repair and refit yards in north-western Europe and five of these (three in the Netherlands (Rotterdam, Vlissingen and Amsterdam) and two in France (Brest and Dunkerque)), are located close to the major cruise terminals and capable of taking the largest cruise ships.
Damen Shiprepair Brest – a first among equals
Of all DSC’s repair yards, it is perhaps Damen Shiprepair Brest (DSBr) that best typifes the advantages that the group can offer operators of even the largest cruise ships. Located on the most western point of France it offers fast and easy access to the Atlantic and is around 12 hours steaming from Southampton, the UK’s leading cruise terminal.
It specialises in the repair and conversion of larger vessels with three substantial dry docks, the biggest of which is 420 metres in length and 80 metres across, making it one of the largest in Europe. Ample crane capacity of up to 150 tonnes and up to 78 metres in height is also available.
Its skilled staff have worked on many substantial vessels including LNG tankers, oil tankers and FPSOs, but recently DSBr has developed an additional focus on cruise ships.
This has involved substantial investments in facilities such as an enhanced black and grey water disposal capability and a new fire and cooling water supply system. The yard also features ample owners’ storage, extensive laydown areas and spacious temporary workshops for subcontractors.
There is even an adjacent container terminal. The yard has a constructive relationship with the local authorities and, with a culture at the yard based on maximising safety and cooperation, customers can rely on a committed, efficient service at every level.
Damen Shiprepair Brest’s capabilities were put to the test in the autumn of last year when the Norwegian Epic, the world’s sixth largest cruise ship, arrived for a three-week maintenance and refit programme.
Over that period around 3,500 personnel worked around the clock on a broad array of tasks. These included some major operations such as the replacement of both rudders and work on the stabilisers, the refurbishment of the public spaces, and the vessel’s first special survey since she was commissioned in 2010.
DSBr was also responsible for managing the major logistics programme involving the movement of the ship’s lifeboats, containers and spare parts that made the fast execution of this complex and intense project possible. Despite the scope and pressures of the project, Norwegian Epic left DSBr for Southampton a day ahead of schedule.
With its track-record of successful projects and a network of yards with first-class facilities in some of the best locations, Damen Shiprepair & Conversion offers cruise ship operators a complete package that will ensure that they in turn can provide their customers with great experiences on board vessels operating at peak efficiency.