Damen Shipyards Group has completed construction and outfitting of a diving bell ship for client FMSW Koblenz (Department Machinery Southwest) / operator WSA Rhine (Waterways and Shipping Office) according to schedule. Following her completion, the vessel has recently undertaken successful river trials. The on-time completion of the ship comes despite the challenging conditions posed by the coronavirus outbreak. Putting in place robust safety measures, Damen was able to continue work on the project throughout the year.
There has, however, been an impact on the project; due to the pandemic, the delivery of the diving equipment to Damen has been delayed. As a result, the diving bell ship will now commence operations next summer. Until that time, the ship will wait at Damen Shipyards Gorinchem in the Netherlands. Here, Damen will provide the vessel’s crew with familiarisation training in the meantime.
The vessel will succeed the existing Carl Straat, which has been performing her duties since 1963. The successor vessel will draw significantly on the proven design of her predecessor.
The new diving bell ship will operate on the Rhine and its tributaries. She will provide dry conditions, in a pressurised atmosphere, in which personnel can work below the water. Her main scope of work will be the search and recovery of lost cargo and wreckage as well as inspection for construction projects.
The vessel will also be capable of providing barrel anchors in gravelly and rocky areas in order to perform sampling activities.
Damen has applied the latest technology to the new vessel to ensure her suitability for future operations. She features high-performance diesel-electric propulsion compliant with EU Stage V standards, guaranteeing a constant cruising speed of 13 km/h.