Damen Shipyards Group has completed the construction of German Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration’s (WSV) new diving bell vessel.

Work on the ship was completed on time despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, noted the company. The vessel has also been put through its river trials.

Due to the delay in the delivery of the diving equipment, the diving bell ship will commence operations in the second half of 2022.

Until then, the vessel will be docked at Damen Shipyards Gorinchem in the Netherlands.

Damen sales manager Remko Bouma said: “We are very pleased to have completed construction of this iconic vessel on schedule and to the satisfaction of the customer.

“This is the result of a very constructive collaboration between all parties, including FMSW Koblenz and Damen Shipyards Hardinxveld.

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“This close cooperation and hard work have led to efficient project execution and a beautiful vessel.”

Meanwhile, the vessel’s crew will be offered familiarisation training by Damen.

The newbuild will replace the existing Carl Straat, which has been in service since 1963. It will operate on the Rhine and its tributaries.

Powered by diesel-electric propulsion that meets with EU Stage V standards requirements, the ship has a constant cruising speed of 13km/h.

The vessel will be used mainly for search and recovery missions, involving lost cargo and wreckage, and for inspecting construction projects.

Furthermore, it will provide dry conditions and barrel anchors in gravelly and rocky areas for performing sampling activities.