Damen Shipyards Galati, Romania, cut the first steel on the Royal Netherlands Navy’s (RNLN) Combat Support Ship (CSS) Den Helder on December 2.
The cutting is the first of sixteen batches, totaling 7500 tonnes of steel in 180 sections.
The steel cutting was supposed to take place in February next year. However, DSNS has brought the date forward with the aim of safeguarding the project’s progress during the continuing coronavirus pandemic and managing the enhanced security rules that alter the way of working for the shipyard.
The vessel will operate alongside the Joint Support Ship (JSS) HNLMS Karel Doorman and is based on the same design.
The almost 200-meter-long ship will have a 75-person crew and can also take an additional 75 people on board. There is room for several helicopters and around twenty containers.
The vessel can operate worldwide and under high threat, protected by frigates. Additionally, she can be used in the fight against drug trafficking, controlling refugee flows and providing emergency aid.
Engineering of the vessel is taking place mostly in the Netherlands and the project will provide work for over 100, mainly Dutch, companies. To date, 47 contracts have been signed for the CSS, out of which 34 with Dutch maritime suppliers.
The next milestone will be in May next year, when the keel-laying ceremony will take place. The delivery of the vessel is expected in 2024.