(GORINCHEM, Netherlands) — The Damen 80-meter ice-class ro-pax ferry M/V Veteran handover to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador (GNL) took place in St. John’s, Newfoundland, on Oct. 23. Launched by Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania on March 27, the vessel will start services from Fogo Island and Change Islands before the end of November. M/V Veteran was delivered from the shipyard on time and within budget.
Announcing the arrival of the vessel, Premier Paul Davis of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador stated: “The arrival of the M/V Veteran is a proud moment for our province and the residents of Fogo Island and Change Islands.”
M/V Veteran is the first of a two-vessel contract, with a design stemming from a Canadian-Danish partnership between Fleetway and Knud E. Hansen. Several Canadian companies provided services for these vessels, from electrical equipment to firefighting systems. The sister ship, M/V Legionnaire, launched by the same shipyard on July 15, is scheduled for delivery in the spring of 2016. M/V Legionnaire will operate on the short-haul route, the busiest route from Portugal Cove to Bell Island.
Lifeline vessel replacement program
Both vessels are part of a large “lifeline” vessel replacement program being undertaken by the provincial government to modernize its fleet. These are critical marine ferry services for Newfoundlanders as well as visitors to the region. For GNL, upgrading the safety level and reliability of its vessels is a major priority in order to safeguard the well-being of the islanders. GNL’s provincial fleet annually transports over 900,000 passengers, 400,000 vehicles and 20,000 tonnes of freight with more than 50,000 arrivals and departures.
Robust ferries for continuous service
Since this region is located near the Arctic, vessels have to maneuver in drifting ice. According to Jan van Hogerwou, Damen manager North America, “GNL wants to provide service continuity. These highly durable ferries can handle the impact of 40-cm-thick floating ice at 4 knots. Their rudders, hull and propellers have been strengthened and are outfitted with extra plate thickness for heavy winter conditions.”
Henk Grunstra, product director Damen Ferries, said: “The highest certificate available for ferries is the Ice Class 1A Super certificate. These diesel-electric-propelled vessels also have redundant systems. The bridge is ergonomically designed and has optimal working space for efficient and safe operation. The modern, low maintenance interior was designed by an internationally recognized designer. The shift crew lives on board the ship in 15 single crew cabins.”
These 200-passenger vessels have roll-on, roll-off capacity for 60 vehicles, and unload passenger and vehicle traffic quickly. M/V Veteran, with a beam of 17.2 meters and cruising speed of 14 knots, will replace M/V Earl Windsor, built in 1975. The sister ship will replace M/V Beaumont Hamel, which dates from 1985.
New Canadian service hub
Besides this recent handover, a Canadian service and support hub for these vessels is being established. A certified Damen maintenance center will be located in the capital of the Newfoundland and Labrador region, St. John’s. An agreement with a local Newfoundland-based company is in place. Their employees are currently being trained at Damen Shipyards Galati. Together with Memorial University in St. John’s, Damen also offers a student (exchange) program for naval engineers. Once the vessel is in operation, the service center will commence its activities. “This service hub is the start of Damen’s presence in Newfoundland, which Damen hopes to grow in order to become a substantial economic motor, taking into account vessel replacement projects that have to be launched," Hogerwou said.
With regard to the growth of Damen’s presence, Damen is also building four platform supply vessels for the oil and gas industry which will be delivered to Canadian-owned towing and salvage company Atlantic Towing. These platform vessels will be stationed at St. John’s.
For more information about Damen Shipyards Group, visit www.damen.com.