Damen Shipyards Group said it has secured a contract to build a new workboat for the Ports of Jersey following a tender procedure.

The newbuild, a Shoalbuster 2711, is the second vessel of its kind ever to be built, and it will be the second Damen vessel to be operated by the Ports of Jersey, which has operated a Damen Shoalbuster 2709, named Duke of Normandy, for the past fifteen years

Ports of Jersey was looking for a vessel offering versatility, as Donford Nicholas, operations and commercial manager, explained: “Since our incorporation, Ports of Jersey Marine Services department has developed a presence in the commercial maritime world, while still undertaking regular maintenance work in local waters.

“With an expanding work scope we needed a vessel with increased capability. We were looking for something that could support a wide range of tasks, including engineering and survey projects. We have a keen focus on sustainability so it is our goal to support the forthcoming offshore wind projects that will take place in UK and EU waters nearby. We see this vessel as added value, not only for the Ports of Jersey, but for the community as a whole, offering a greater potential of commercial opportunities and, ultimately, wider employment prospects.”

Ports of Jersey selected the Damen Shoalbuster 2711, an evolved version of the 2709. An additional two meters of beam provide extra stability, work space, storage and space for a larger crane, the builder said, adding it is MCA compliant, offers 40 tonnes bollard pull and boasts excellent crew facilities.

The Shoalbuster will be outfitted in the Netherlands by Damen Shipyards Hardinxveld and will be delivered to Ports of Jersey in the fourth quarer of 2021.

“We’ve opted to have the vessel fitted with the latest Heila crane,” Nicholas said. “[Heila] provided the crane to the Duke of Normandy and everyone is familiar – and happy – with it.”

The Duke of Normandy played an important role in Damen’s success in securing the contract for the new vessel, Nicholas said. “We’ve been very happy with the performance of the Duke of Normandy. She’s proven her quality over 15 years. The price for the new vessel was also , ompetitive. Besides this, we enjoy a good relationship with Damen.”

This was demonstrated just last year when Damen Shipyards Gorinchem won the tender to conduct the Duke of Normandy’s 15-year drydock and renewal survey. No sooner had the vessel docked than the coronavirus outbreak occurred. All the crew had to leave the Netherlands and return to Jersey.

“From then onwards we had to manage the project remotely. Damen were very supportive. We had regular digital contact throughout the project and everything was done well and on-time. Like Damen, we’ve taken the coronavirus very seriously. We’ve had a track and trace system in place since July last year – something we’ve been happy to share with our colleagues at other ports and airports – and we require a negative test result for anyone coming aboard.”

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