Damen Shipyards Group has completed the rebuild of research vessel OceanXplorer at Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

The ship will contribute to OceanX’s mission of exploring the ocean and building a global community that is engaged in protecting the oceans.

Following the completion of the project, OceanXplorer has become an advanced exploration, research, and media vessel.

Serving as OceanX’s new flagship, the vessel builds on the legacy of the company’s first ship, Alucia.

Featuring a series of submersibles, sonar arrays, manned submarines, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), OceanXplorer can explore and map the depths of the oceans.

The vessel can gather live samples and bring them onboard. The samples can then be analysed by researchers in laboratories, which have capabilities to carry out DNA sequencing.

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OceanXplorer’s research facilities are combined with Hollywood quality filming and media studios, developed in partnership with filmmaker James Cameron.

At the exact moment of discovery, the vessel’s findings can be live-streamed to audiences across the world.

Damen acted as the main contractor in the project. For the project, it brought together several disciplines from across Damen Shipyards Group, including offshore and survey newbuild, repair and conversion, and yachting.

As part of the project, Damen had to rebuild the vessel, which was a previous offshore survey ship. It stripped the existing accommodation and added a new and much larger accommodation for the new laboratories, workshops, and submarine hangar.

The company also added a fully integrated helicopter hangar to the superstructure and extensions on both sides of the accommodation decks for new cabins over the increased full beam of the vessel.

Damen worked with OceanX’s specialist teams to meet all requirements. It included the responsibility for the vessel’s exterior and interior.

Damen’s OceanXplorer project director Tjarco Ekkelkamp said: “This has been a challenging project, the result of which we are very proud of. On the one hand, this shows the extensive capabilities of Damen as a group – the powerful synergies within our group, covering both newbuild and repair and conversion capabilities and spanning commercial vessels and superyachts.

“On the other, this is a vessel that represents a force for good in the world – one that will enhance human involvement, understanding, and ultimately, conservation of our oceans. With our strong commitment to maritime sustainability, we are delighted to have played our part in the development of OceanXplorer.”