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Rejuvenation on the Rhine

Ship & Boat International: eNews February 2019



Damen Shipyards Group reports that it is constructing a new diving bell ship, intended to undertake a wide range of tasks in and around the River Rhine in Germany. The vessel's potential list of duties includes conducting cargo and wreckage retrieval projects, as well as supporting construction and inspection tasks.


Upon delivery to operator WSA Koblenz, the newbuild will effectively replace the existing, 52m diving bell vessel Carl Straat (pictured), which has been in service since 1963. Damen says that the newcomer will “draw heavily on its predecessor” in terms of design, albeit with the inclusion of state-of-the-art technology. For instance, the newcomer will incorporate 1,400kWe worth of diesel-electric engine power, provided by Caterpillar, so as to comply with EU Stage V emissions standards. This arrangement is expected to grant the vessel a cruising speed of approximately 7knots. The new vessel will also be larger than Carl Straat, measuring 69m in length and approximately 11.8m in beam.


Damen says: “The modern diving bell system, including the lifting device, makes it possible for the ship to travel on the Rhine and its tributaries and to operate without lowering the water level.” The diving bell system will come equipped with a fixed arm (or pipe) between the pressure chamber and the diving bell. Damen adds: "This arm has a ladder inside and is non-extendable". The diving bell will be capable of working to a depth of 10m.


The vessel will be built at Damen's Hardinxveld facility, with delivery expected in 2020.