By working closely with Bureau Veritas and the Dutch and Belgian flag authorities, Damen Shipyards can now offer designs for a wide range of methanol-powered workboats. These range from tugs, stationary dredgers and high-speed vessels to fast crew suppliers, pilot boats, stan patrols and fast ferries, as and when the engines for these vessels are available.

Development started in the summer of 2022. LNG carriers set the standards for using methanol as fuel, but their size has resulted in rules that are very different to those required by much smaller vessels. Clearly a new design approach was needed to make them applicable for workboats.

The framework lays out the design modifications that are required to ensure that the methanol-powered workboats have standards of safety at least equal to their diesel-fuelled equivalents. Part of the process involved identifying existing rules that were not applicable to smaller vessels so they could be replaced with alternative solutions, and then identifying and analysing the risks.

The Damen team also had an additional goal; to develop standardised solutions that could be used across the workboat portfolio. The developed designs have now gained approvals in principle from both Bureau Veritas and the Dutch and Belgian flag states.

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Flag states as early adaptors

The initial proposals were presented to Bureau Veritas and thereafter changes were implemented in a back-and-forth process. Damen then also brought on board the flag states of the Netherlands and Belgium on the basis that flag states would need to give their own approvals before vessels can be built. The Netherlands and Belgium were selected as among the most likely early adopters of sustainable workboats.

The next stage was the establishment of a Hazard Identification Workshop. Chaired by an independent expert, solutions were presented, alternative designs proposed, and additional measures and safeguards identified where required. Obtaining the input of all the key stakeholders at a relatively early stage helped reduce the time required to implement all the changes and so achieve AiP in a relatively short time.

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Methanol storage and systems while keeping vessels compact

‘We are very pleased to now have the approvals in principle,’ says Pieter Spruijt, Technical Specialist Alternative Fuels and Damen System Owner Methanol Systems. ‘One of the interesting outcomes of the design process is that the methanol storage and fuel systems will take up less space than they would have under the prescriptive rules. Small vessels present a real challenge with space at such a premium, but our designs will not only keep the vessels compact, they will also be more sustainable as they will not require additional inputs when being built.’

‘Bureau Veritas had the privilege of assisting Damen in achieving an approval in principle for a modular-based methanol fuel system,’ adds Herman Spilker, Bureau Veritas’s Vice President North Europe. ‘Several innovative technical solutions for compact ships were devised and successfully underwent the approval and HAZID process under the oversight of the acknowledged flag states of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Belgium. We look forward to assisting Damen in the construction of the inaugural unit.’

Picture: Jeffrey Jacobs (Manager Technical Development, Damen Workboats), Vincent Avontuur (Business Support Manager – Senior Surveyor, Bureau Veritas), André de Bie (Programme Manager Sustainable Propulsion, Damen Workboats), Herman Spilker (Vice President North Europe, Bureau Veritas), Pieter Spruijt (Technology Specialist Alternative Fuels, Damen Workboats), Sander van der Sluis (Project Manager Engineering, Damen Workboats), Erik van Schaik (Product Manager Design Tugs, Damen Workboats) and Joost Mathôt (Director Products, Damen Workboats).

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