Damen Scheldepoort books offshore, navy conversions

Written by Nick Blenkey

Shelf-ExplorerAUGUST 15, 2012 — Damen Shipyards reports that recent contracts awarded its Scheldepoort Repair & Conversion Yard include its second for conversion of a jack-up rig into offshore hotel accommodation and a substantial Royal Netherlands Navy contract to modernize and upgrade the propeller shaft lines and generator sets of four Air Defense and Command Frigates.

Located in Vlissingen, The Netherlands, the Scheldepoort yard specializes in modifications, repairs and refits.

The jack-up conversion will see the drilling unit Shelf Explorer become the accommodation unit Atlantic Amsterdam, owned by Atlantic Amsterdam Pte. Ltd., Singapore, a subsidiary of Ezion Holdings Ltd.

The shipyard carried out an identical project in April 2011 on the former drill rig now known as Atlantic Labrador. It says this type of conversion work is becoming more common following new safety regulations where offshore workers are no longer allowed to live on production platforms except during working hours.

The Atlantic Amsterdam was transported from Singapore to Rotterdam onboard the Dockwise Heavy Lift Vessel Black Marlin. She arrived in Rotterdam on June 25 and a Scheldepoort team carried out repairs and an inspection of the spud cans while she was still mounted on the Black Marlin. The rig was then offloaded and towed to Vlissingen.

Demolition work started with removing the derricks and drilling installation completely, including the mud pumps and tanks, sliding piece and cement installations as well as all the remaining drilling equipment, cabling and piping.

The new accommodation block, which will house approximately 135 people, has already been prefabricated in Vlissingen and existing accommodation facilities will be refurbished. New life saving boats will be installed and the rigs will be fitted with stabilizer pumps to comply with the latest regulations. Work is expected to be completed in October.

Nordica Offshore is project manager on behalf of the customer and is carrying out the outfitting of the accommodation unit. Dutch engineering services company Alewijnse Marine Systems will be handling the electrical systems work. Alewijnse Marine Systems is also based on-site at Scheldepoort.

“We are specialised in the repair and conversion offshore market and already carry out a lot of maintenance and repairs for support vessels as well. Scheldepoort operates to the strictest health and safety standards, which are regularly audited by the oil and gas industry representatives,” noted Mr. Loohuis.

Peter Sterkenburg, Sales Manager at Scheldepoort, comments: “After an extensive negotiation period, we are very proud to have been selected for this technically challenging and complex project.”


The first of the four frigates, HR. MS. De Zeven Provinciën, was set to arrive in the yard this month and the second in early 2013, with the last two arriving in 2014. Each vessel is expected to take 70 to 80 days to complete and Scheldepoort has a dedicated team working on the naval contract.

Peter Sterkenburg, Sales Manager at Scheldepoort, notes that echnology has moved on considerably since the vessels were built, some 12 years ago, at sister company Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS).

“Modifying the Controllable Pitch Propeller system will make the vessels much more fuel efficient, quieter and more environmentally friendly – crucial in today’s environment,” he says. “At the same time the frigates will be more powerful and the systems smaller and lighter.”

The new engines of the generator sets – four on each vessel – are being delivered, engineered and modified by Wärtsilä. And in cooperation with Scheldepoort the generator sets will be replaced. Scheldepoort has partnered Imtech Marine for the electrical and automation work on the generator sets.

Scheldepoort Project Manager John Zijlstra said that one reason the yard got the frigate contract was because it could carry out the work within a tight schedule.

“It is crucial to have all of the planning arranged well but we also have to have flexibility,” he said. “This is a very complex job, logistically speaking, requiring our expertise in the conversion and repair sector combined with the vast knowledge of DSNS, a specialist in newbuild naval vessels. We work very closely together with DSNS and have very short lines of communication.”

In the past Scheldepoort has also carried out maintenance work for the Royal Netherlands Navy’s Rotterdam-class Landing Platform Docks.

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