Earlier than planned, Damen has cut the first steel on the Royal Netherlands Navy’s Combat Support Ship Den Helder at its shipyard in Galati, Romania. The cutting is the first of sixteen batches, totaling 7500 tonnes of steel in 180 sections.

The steel cutting was supposed to take place in February next year. DSNS has brought the date forward to 2 December in order to safeguard the project’s progress during the continuing coronavirus pandemic and to effectively manage the enhanced security rules that alter the way of working for the shipyard.

With construction of the Combat Support Ship (CSS), the maritime supply capacity of the Dutch navy will be restored. The vessel will operate alongside the Joint Support Ship (JSS) HNLMS Karel Doorman and is based on the same design. The vessel can operate worldwide and under high threat, protected by frigates. Additionally, it can be used in the fight against drug trafficking, controlling refugee flows and providing emergency aid.

Dutch maritime suppliers

Engineering of the vessel is taking place mostly in the Netherlands and the project will provide work for over 100, mainly Dutch, companies. To date, 47 contracts have been signed for the CSS, out of which 34 with Dutch maritime suppliers.

Among the latest Dutch contractors to be included in the project are SMST (helicopter hangar door), Corrosion (cathodic protection system), Alfa Laval Benelux based in Breda (ballast water treatment system, the fuel oil separators, the oily bilge separator and the plate heat exchangers), The IP Company (Wireless Communication & Messaging System), Facet Netherlands (helicopter refuelling system), and Alewijnse Marine (electrical equipment).

The next milestone will be in May next year, when the keel-laying ceremony will take place.