Damen Shiprepair Dunkerque (DSDu), France, recently staged a formal inauguration ceremony to mark the completion of major refurbishment works to its floating dry dock.
The dock, capable of taking vessels up to 180 m in length and lifting 14,000 t, is owned by the Port of Dunkerque (and is operated by Damen. It is a major piece of ship repair infrastructure and an important part of the shiyard's capability to repair and maintain a wide range of vessels.
The floating dry dock was built in 1986 in Germany and purchased by the port in 2001. After 30 years in service, the tank top had undergone only minor repairs and it was time to renew this major part of the overall structure. The contract was awarded to Damen after a public tendering process and required the replacement of 700 tonnes of steelwork plus 16,000 m of new welding and the application of 12 tonnes of paint.
The project also demanded a fast turnaround, with just three months available to remove the old steel, fabricate and fit the new tank top and then apply the special paint system.
In preparation, a dedicated team of 10 engineers spend the previous four months undertaking studies and getting everything ready for work to begin as soon as the dock ceased operations. Then 170 people worked night and day to cut out and remove the old floor, prefabricate the new steel sections and then install the new structure before finally applying the anti-corrosion treatment to guarantee optimum protection of the new structure.
In addition, a new access pontoon for the dock called Dynamo was added. Originally a Damen Stan 5213 pontoon, it was adapted by the yard for its new purpose.
Work on the dock began at the start of September 2016 and was completed in mid-December, just in time to receive the first ferry – P&O's European Seaway – marking the start of the shipyard's annual winter refit season.
Achieving this deadline required close cooperation between DSDu's steel workers at every level and the various project partners including Quadrant Marine and NIDAB.
"The refurbished floating dry dock will give us at least 25 years more service and represents a valuable upgrade to our capabilities," said Bob Derks, Managing Director DSDu.