Entry into Service for Doeksen’s LNG Ferries Pushed Back Again

After several delays during construction, Rederij Doeksen has had to push back the delivery date for its new LNG-powered catamarans once again. Following water damage suffered during transport from Vietnam to the Netherlands, delivery will now be in April instead of in January.

‘We regret that our passengers have to wait a little longer before they can sail with the new ships,’ says Paul Melles, director of Rederij Doeksen. ‘We are also impatiently looking forward to it, but we have to be realistic. At the moment, our team and local subcontractors are working extremely hard at the finishing location in Harlingen, and there is only positive news to report on this.’

Delay upon Delay

The project has been characterised by delays. The vessels were to be delivered in a Dutch port at the end of 2017. The vessels’ keels were laid on 15 July and 9 August 2016. Due to financial difficulties at the shipyard’s Australian holding company Triyards construction was delayed. It took until 8 and 12 January 2019 for the ferries, now named Willem de Vlamingh and Willem Barentsz, to be launched at the Vietnamese yard.

As Triyards once again faced serious financial problems in summer 2018, Rederij Doeksen decided to take matters into its own hands and transport the vessels to the Netherlands to finish them there.

Water Damage During Transport

The ships left Vietnam on 8 March on board semi-submersible heavy lift vessel Sun Rise. During transport rainwater was able to enter the ships and flood the synthetic floors because the ships were stowed backwards. If the ships had been stowed the other way around, this would not have happened.

Once the ships had arrived in the Netherlands on 27 May, it became clear the floors had to be removed and laid again. This resulted in Doeksen having to delay taking the vessels into service from 7 January to April 2020. The official festive commissioning is now to take place at the end of March, if everything goes according to plan. Passengers will then be able to use the new LNG catamarans from April (start of the summer season).

First LNG Ferries in the Netherlands

Rederij Doeksen’s new LNG catamarans are the first (single fuel) LNG ferries in the Netherlands and the first ships in the world with single fuel LNG engines directly driving rudder propellers with fixed propellers. The introduction of LNG as a fuel means a substantial reduction in harmful emissions: eleven per cent less CO2, ninety per cent less nitrogen oxides (NOx), one hundred per cent less sulphur oxides (SOx) and 95 per cent less particulates. Noise will be reduced by between fifty and 75 per cent.

The ships are also provided with numerous environmentally friendly and efficiency enhancing applications. For example, residual heat is converted into electrical energy to power the bow thrusters and solar panels have been installed on board, which supply energy to the ship’s grid.

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Picture: The Willem de Vlamingh arriving in Harlingen (picture by Rederij Doeksen).

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.