Damen to introduce new design for ‘Swiss army knife’ of vessels

Industry Database

Damen Shipyards Group will be presenting its new design of Shoalbuster at Seawork.

Damen has developed the new 27 metre long, 11 metre wide vessel in response to recent Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) changes concerning crew accommodation capacity.

Damen introduced the first Shoalbuster 25 years ago with a view to combine the bollard pull of a Tug with the shallow draught of a Multi Cat. While the owners of the first few vessels operated in the dredging industry, the benefits of its design were quickly seen by companies working on all sorts of harbour, coastal area and shallow water contracts. The range of Damen Shoalbusters gained a reputation for being the Swiss Army knife of workboats, capable of a vast range of tasks with a wide variety of optional on-board equipment. Moreover, the Shoalbuster is classified for unrestricted navigation, enabling clients to operate on a truly global scale.

Importantly for maritime operators is that, over the previous quarter century, Damen has continuously fine-tuned the Shoalbuster’s design in response to market requirements and regulations. This has resulted in the Pushbuster, the Renewables Services Vessel and a specialised shallow draught version, to mention a few examples.

The new Shoalbuster (SBu) 2711 represents another step in this evolution of design; this time to offer operators a means to comply with new MLC regulations that stipulate increased accommodation capacity. By increasing the width of the SBu 2709 (with accommodation for six people) by two metres, Damen has achieved accommodation for seven people with the new vessel.

The accommodation capacity is not the only technical specification to have changed. The increased width has also resulted in increased stability. “This has multiple benefits,” explains Damen Manager Design & Proposal John Krielaart. “For example, it means that, without actually increasing crane capacity, this new vessel can lift more over the side.

“Furthermore, because this wider vessel has more buoyancy, it can carry more or heavier equipment on the larger deck space. Bollard pull is increased as we were able to install larger, more powerful nozzles. We are also pleased to announce that this SBu 2711 has anchor handling notation – the extra stability allows it to handle bigger and heavier anchors.”

This long list of advantages is topped by the fact that the SBu 2711 is still within the 24-metre load line length. “This is a key point for operators working in UK waters or out of UK ports, one that makes this vessel a very interesting proposition,” Mr Krielaart continues. “In fact, because it will be able to compete with larger vessels, we expect that this new design will be a real money maker for these operators.”

Damen intends to utilise its building-for-stock approach for this new model of Shoalbuster, a strategy that will assure buyers of a swift delivery time. “This vessel will be perfect for North Sea and UK marine contracting, towing and dredging markets. But also, because of the unrestricted navigation, for contracts all over the world,” says Jeroen van Woerkum, Damen Commercial Manager.

Fresh from the successful completion of sea trials, the new SBu 2711 is currently making her way to Southampton, UK for this year’s edition of Seawork. “We are excited to bring her to Seawork. We have equipped her with almost all of the optional extra possible: towing pins, crane and winches, for example. The whole team behind the SBu 2711 will be there and we are all looking forward to showing her off to the market.”

Damen is on stands Q12, VA46, VC1

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