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Staying on top of the market

Converting platform supply vessels into high demand fish feed carriers is one way of staying on top of the market according to Damen.

Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam (DSAm), is converting the vessel, now renamed Eidsvaag Opal, into a fish feed carrier for Eidsvaag, the Norwegian company that specialises in the distribution of fish feed.  She was originally part of a six-vessel order that Damen built for the offshore supply company, World Wide Supply, and was delivered in 2013.

“One of the main things that made Damen stand out as a strong candidate in the tender process was their previous experience with the vessel,” explains Vidar Eidsvaag, general manager and owner at Eidsvaag which sees the fish feed carrier as a way of improving efficiency and sustainability in the Norwegian aquaculture industry.

The tender was won by DSAm which was the most suitable yard in the group for the project, based on its facilities and its proximity to Damen’s specialist steel fabricator Niron Staal; the conversion does involve a lot of steelwork. The Eidsvaag Opal arrived at the yard in the final weeks of 2019, where stripping was soon underway with the removal of the main deck the first order of business.  The vessel was then cut in half with sub-contractor Mammoet moving the aft section of the vessel 10 metres back in order to allow space for the fitting of anew 4.9-metre section.

31 new steel sections are now being inserted into the hull and divided into sponsons and the new big bag hold.  In total, 650 tonnes of new steel will be fabricated by Niron Staal and installed in Eidsvaag Opal while she is in drydock at DSAm. 300 tons of redundant ship’s structure will also be removed as part of the conversion process.

The project will also include increasing the beam with side boxes to give additional stability and extra cargo capacity. Each side box will be 1.2 metres. Damen will install 35 silos as well as cargo holds. When complete, the vessel will be able to transport 2,800 tons of feed at a time.  5 new cranes as well as a discharger will be installed.

“It is really helping speed up the project with Damen already being familiar with the design of the ship,” continues Vidar. “Of course, there were other reasons for their success in the tender process. In addition to knowledge of the actual vessel, Damen was able to demonstrate the successful completion of a relevant conversion for the aquaculture industry.”

Damen’s previous track record includes the conversion of a Damen Combi Coaster into a fish feed transportation vessel. This involved the shipbuilder shortening the vessel in order to provide the added manoeuvrability necessary for operating within fish farms. The vessel was then outfitted with 64 silos for the transportation of different types of fish food.

“We really appreciate the close cooperation that we have with the client,” says Tjeerd Schulting, managing director at DSAm. “We sailed with the client for a trip, which is something that we do not often have the opportunity to do, and it gave us a close understanding of the way the client works. This project really is a joint effort between the client and ourselves.”

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