Royal IHC and the Department of Material Maintenance of the Royal Netherlands Navy have signed a contract for the docking and repair of HNLMS Groningen. The ship is currently back in the Netherlands due to issues with the propeller shaft on the starboard side.

Royal IHC’s Director of Defence, Louwrens op de Beek, and DMI’s Head of Purchasing, Annemieke Selbach, put their signatures to the document at the naval yard in Den Helder on 10 March.

Also read: Dutch navy vessel Groningen returns to the Netherlands for repairs

Shaft inspection and repair

Royal IHC will coordinate and carry out the inspection of the shaft, and to this end, the ship will be docked at the Reimerswaal shipyard in Vlissingen.

The project will be carried out in two phases. Firstly, the propeller shaft will be removed and its associated components disassembled so that an inspection can take place. The patrol vessel will then return to Den Helder. After the propeller shaft has been repaired, the HNLMS Groningen will dock again in Vlissingen where Royal IHC will reinstall it.

Defence market

Last year, Royal IHC had to be rescued by the Dutch Government after the shipyard got into financial problems. Subsequently, a massive restructuring was announced, which cost 1100 jobs. The shipbuilder then set out a new course in which it planned to focus on the dredging and offshore market. Activities in the (wet) mining and defence markets have been designated as potential core activities, with opportunities to develop further. This project falls into the defence category.

Also read: Dutch Government and companies rescue shipbuilder Royal IHC

‘We are honoured that DMI has awarded us this contract, says Op de Beek. ‘Alongside the engineering assignments that Royal IHC is currently carrying out, this project is a great opportunity to use our knowledge and expertise more widely for the Dutch Ministry of Defence. It is a step towards our ambition to intensify our cooperation with them, and together, we will ensure that HNLMS Groningen can carry out its tasks effectively once more.’

Together with French Naval Group, IHC is also in the race for the Dutch submarine replacement contract. The other competitors are Damen Shipyards together with Swedish Saab Kockums and German ThyssenKrupp. The winner of this multi-billion euro contract will be announced in Q3 or 4 in 2022.

Also read: State Secretary: Speeding up tender for Dutch submarines not an option