Damen wins nine-vessel Waterbus order

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Damen Waterbus

Damen Shipyards has signed a contract with the Dutch ferry joint venture Aqualiner-Swets covering construction of a total of nine passenger vessels.

The order follows the Aqualiner-Swets joint venture’s success in winning a 15-year contract to operate the Waterbus public transportation service between Rotterdam and the Drecht cities.

Six of the nine vessels will be hybrid carbon fiber Waterbuses that will serve fast ferry intercity routes, primarily between Sliedrecht, Dordrecht, Rotterdam and the World Heritage site Kinderdijk. They have been designed to allow for possible conversion convert tovessels to fully electric propulsion, by 2030 at the latest. The remaining three vessels will provide a service in the city area of Dordrecht, Papendrecht and Zwijndrecht and will be fully electric from the start of operations in 2022.

Damen has developed the vessels to meet the green goals of Aqualiner-Swets, the regional minister of transport and all the local governments involved, which include requiring that all ferry services be completely emissions free by 2030.

All nine of the Waterbuses are therefore extremely efficient in terms of weight, hull design and systems, featuring a hybrid-electric arrangement for peak shaving.

In cooperation with the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (Marin), Damen performed a parametric study and hull optimization aimed at reducing the wake wash produced by the vessels.

Sustainability is an important element of the overall vessel design. Thus, Damen has developed the vessels’ interiors to be completely recyclable, using natural materials such as wool and wood, as well as recycled materials.

Vincent Maes, Damen’s Sales Manager Benelux said, “Our work on this project is a good demonstration of Damen’s role, not only as a shipbuilder, but as a provider of comprehensive maritime solutions. What makes it special is our close cooperation with the team of Aqualiner-Swets. Together we have considered every aspect of the operation, looking at vessel types, routes and speeds for maximum fuel efficiency and considering methods to improve the passenger experience. The collaboration has been excellent and we are looking forward to continuing it during construction and beyond.”

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