First steel was cut on the Royal Netherlands Navy’s (RNLN) Combat Support Ship (CSS) Den Helder Damen Shipyards Galati, Romania yesterday.
The cutting is the first of sixteen batches, totaling 7500 tonnes of steel in 180 sections.The RNLN had unveiled the design of the HNLMS Den Helder) in November 2018.
The steel cutting was supposed to take place in February next year. DSNS has brought the date forward in order to safeguard the project’s progress during the continuing coronavirus pandemic and to effectively manage the enhanced security rules that alter the way of working for the shipyard.
With construction of the CSS, the maritime supply capacity of the RNLN will be restored. The vessel will operate alongside the Joint Support Ship (JSS) HNLMS Karel Doorman and is based on the same design. 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, Damen said in a press statement.
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.
Den Helder will supply other naval vessels at sea with fuel, ammunition and goods, and will have two refueling stations. She will be armed with self-defense weapon systems.
The ship will be equipped with a helicopter deck and hangar for flight operations. There will be space for sea containers on the upper deck. She will also carry two rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIB) on board for boarding, rescue operations and passenger transport and two FRISC (Fast Raiding, Interception and Special forces Craft) interceptor boats.