Damen completes OceanXplorer rebuild

Damen Shipyards Group has recently completed the extensive rebuild of cutting-edge research vessel OceanXplorer at Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam.

Damen served as the main contractor bringing together various disciplines from across the group – including offshore and survey newbuild, repair and conversion, and yachting specialisms.

The project required Damen to rebuild the vessel – a former offshore survey ship – in essence from the main deck upwards by stripping the existing accommodation and adding a complete new and much larger accommodation to house the new laboratories, workshops and submarine hangar.

A fully integrated heli hangar was added to the superstructure, as well as extensions on both sides of the accommodation decks to house new cabins over the (increased) full beam of the vessel. The work included overseeing the complete integration of all ship’s systems including specialist hydrographic and laboratory systems and an innovative IT infrastructure to facilitate the combination of research facilities and cinematography/media studios.

Upon completion of the project, OceanXplorer is said to have become the most advanced exploration, research and media vessel in the world. Equipped with a series of submersibles, sonar arrays, manned submarines, an ROV and AUV, OceanXplorer is able to explore and map the depths of the oceans.

The vessel is able to collect live samples and bring them aboard where they can be analysed by scientists in state-of-the-art laboratories – with the capabilities, amongst other things, to carry out DNA sequencing.

OceanXplorer’s research facilities are paired with quality filming and media studios – developed in partnership with renowned filmmaker James Cameron. With this, the vessel’s findings can be live streamed to audiences worldwide at the exact moment of discovery.

“This has been a challenging project, the result of which we are very proud of,” says Tjarco Ekkelkamp, Damen’s project director for the OceanXplorer. “On the one hand, this shows the extensive capabilities of Damen as a group – the powerful synergies within our group, covering both newbuild and repair and conversion capabilities, and spanning commercial vessels and superyachts. On the other, this is a vessel that represents a force for good in the world – one that will enhance human involvement, understanding and ultimately conservation of our oceans. With our strong commitment to maritime sustainability, we are delighted to have played our part in the development of OceanXplorer.”

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