Damen Shipyards have become an increasingly important designer and constructor of offshore support vessels.

The company was started in 1927 by Jan and Marinus Damen in a workshop which they built themselves, and by 1954 they had delivered 200 small ships. In 1967 Kommer Damen who was the son of Jan Damen took over as manager of technical services and initiated a new process of stocking hulls of vessels to shorten the delivery time.

Later they developed the process of providing ships in pre-constructed form for assembly at shipyards which did not have the technical expertise of the yard in Holland. Although this process would appear to be revolutionary, prefabricated ships had been provided to distant parts of the world by British shipbuilders in the 19th century, possibly most famously the Yavari and Yapura, ordered by the Peruvian Government in 1861 and delivered by mule to Lake Titicaca in 1872.

Damen Shipyards now have over 30 facilities worldwide and build many different types of small ships. These range from tugs to luxury yachts and increasingly feature small military and coastguard craft.  Today the group builds more than 150 vessels a year.

The move into the design and construction of offshore vessels was a logical step, the first vessel of this type being the Damen 6114 anchor-handler, an example of which is the Med Otto delivered to Med Offshore in 2006. The company broke new ground for the Dutch ship-owners Vroon by designing a standby vessel which had the appearance of being loosely based on the form of the traditional deep sea fishing vessel. This design made the best use of the hull of the ship, avoiding unnecessary embellishments and possible unrealistic requirements for the carriage of cargo.

By 2010 the company had streamlined its range of available designs. There were three anchor handlers available, ranging in bollard pulls from 130 tonnes to 200 tonnes. The largest was a little beyond the range of anything produced so far, at 85 metres in length and 3500 tonnes deadweight. Similarly the company was offering three sizes of platform ship, the largest design being over 100 metres in length and having a deck area of an astounding 1400 m2. Two types of standby vessel were offered a smaller version with its rescue boats set ahead of the pilot house and with a length of 48 metres, and a larger model with an open deck aft and a length of 60 metres. None of these latest designs were ordered except for the Standby vessel type 4811, of which four have been built for Vroon.

By 2016 the company had produced a whole new range of offshore vessels and had built six platfomr ships for World Wide Supply. In addition although not so far featured on Ships and Oil sites, they produced a very workmanlike design for a fast crew boat, of which a large number have been built.

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