Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque (DSDu) has completed major refurbishment works to the yard’s floating dry dock. The dock, capable of taking vessels up to 180 metres in length and lifting 14,000 tonnes, is owned by the Port of Dunkerque (Grand Port Maritime de Dunkerque – GPMD) and is operated by DSDu. It is a major piece of ship repair infrastructure and an important part of the yard’s capability to repair and maintain a wide range of vessels.
The dock has recently celebrated its thirtieth anniversary. It was built in 1986 in Germany and purchased by GPMD in 2001. After 30 years in service, in which the tank top had undergone only minor repairs, it was time to renew this major part of the overall structure. The contract was awarded to DSDu after a public tendering process and required the replacement of 700 tonnes of steelwork plus 16,000 metres of new welding and the application of 12 tonnes of paint.
The project also demanded a fast turnaround, with just three months available to remove the old steel, fabricate and fit the new tank top and then apply the special paint system. To prepare for that, a dedicated team of 10 engineers spend the previous four months undertaking studies and getting everything ready for work to begin as soon as the dock ceased operations. Then 170 people worked night and day to cut out and remove the old floor, prefabricate the new steel sections and then install the new structure before finally applying the anti-corrosion treatment to guarantee optimum protection of the new structure.
In addition, a new access pontoon for the dock called Dynamo was added. Originally a Damen Stan 5213 pontoon, it was adapted by the yard for its new purpose. Work on the dock began at the start of September 2016 and was completed in mid-December, just in time to receive the first ferry – P&O’s European Seaway – marking the start of DSDu’s annual winter refit season.
Achieving this deadline required close cooperation between DSDu’s steel workers at every level and the various project partners including Quadrant Marine and NIDAB.
On the 10th of March 2017, a special event was held in the yard to celebrate the inauguration of the dock with local and regional dignitaries invited by the GPMD and Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque. Guests included Michel Lalande, Prefect of the Hauts-de-France Region and Prefect of the Nord Department, Xavier Bertrand, President of the Hauts-de-France Region, and Patrice Vergriete, Mayor of Dunkerque.
The work was jointly funded by GPMD, the Hauts-de-France Region and Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque under an agreement signed in 2012 when Damen first arrived at the yard. The strategic location of Dunkerque near to major shipping lanes and at the heart of the ferry traffic crossing the English Channel / Le Manche makes it a convenient location for ship repairs. Since P&O’s European Seaway, the newly refurbished dry dock has accommodated various vessels including ferries, a bunker-tanker and a floating training school for welders operated by Allseas.
“The refurbished floating dry dock will give us at least 25 years more service and represents a valuable upgrade to our capabilities,” said Bob Derks, Managing Director DSDu, “and we are very pleased that GPMD entrusted us to undertake this major project. It demonstrates the successful partnership that continues between the Port of Dunkerque and Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque, and the willingness of both parties to invest for the long term to ensure a bright future for the port, the yard and all those that work in them.”