WSA Koblenz (WasserSchiffahrtsAmbt) has awarded Damen Shipyards Group a contract to build a new diving bell ship. The ship will succeed an existing vessel – the Carl Straat, which has been in operation since 1963. The new vessel, like her predecessor, will operate in the River Rhine and its tributaries.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans-Heinrich Witte, President of the Directorate General for WSA Koblenz, said, "The new modern diving bell ship is a unique specimen. On the Rhine and its tributaries, this special vessel is needed to search for and recover lost cargo or wreckage. In addition, it will be used for important work on the river bed or for construction inspections."
The ship can also be used to produce barrel anchors in the gravel or rocky area and to carry out sampling by drilling with nitrogen icing. The modern diving bell system including the lifting device makes it possible for the ship to be able to travel on the Rhine and its tributaries and to operate without lowering the water level.
Damen Sales Manager Remko Bouma said, “We are very proud to receive this contract and are looking forward to building this new vessel. The existing vessel, the Carl Straat, has distinguished herself over decades of successful operation. It is an honour to be entrusted with the delivery of a vessel able to match this track record.”
Damen Project Manager Marius van Wijngaarden said, “We are very proud to build the new Carl Straat for the FMSW. This is such a special vessel. Really a one of a kind in the world and also, keeping in might the old Carl Straat is almost 60 years old, this is a once in a lifetime work experience. Besides that, this is the first time we are working for the FMSW Koblenz and we are looking forward to building more vessels for the WSA/FMSW in the future already.”
Due to the proven suitability of the Carl Straat the new vessel will draw heavily on its predecessor. Damen will, however, apply the latest technology to the new vessel to ensure its suitability for the years to come. The new ship will be equipped with high-performance diesel-electric propulsion compliant with EU stage V standards and guaranteeing a constant cruising speed of 13 km/h. With a total length of 69 m, the ship will be 17 m longer than the Carl Straat.
Damen will construct the vessel at Damen Shipyards Hardinxveld and has scheduled to deliver it to the client in 2020.