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Thursday, October 4, 2018 

The appointment of Chiel de Leeuw marks a significant step forward in Damenís expansion into the ropax sector. In the newly-created role of Sales Director, RoPax. Chiel will be responsible for creating new business opportunities in the roro and ropax sectors for vessels over 120m in length.

While Damen already has a track record in designing and building smaller ferries in the 80m to 120m range, the strategy is to design and build larger, one-off vessels in the offshore, cruise and ropax sectors.

The development follows analysis of the market which points to a possible surge in demand for these ship types in the next five to ten years, as owners look to meet new emissions regulations with both retrofit and newbuild solutions.

Damen already has the in-house passenger ferry design capabilities with Danish naval architect Knud E Hansen, acquired by the Dutch shipbuilding group in 2013. The designer has a history in designing passenger vessels up to 200m. The firm also has a track record in cruiseships and custom large offshore vessels, two other areas into which Damen is expanding.

As well as design and engineering capabilities, Damen’s new Ropax division will have all the resources and expertise of Damen’s latest acquisition, Damen Shipyards Mangalia in Romania, to offer the large ferry sector. With docks up to 60m across and one million square metres of operational space, it is now the largest shipyard in the group and has the resources and infrastructure to undertake the largest and most complex vessels.

“It’s very exciting to have started out on this new role,” says Chiel. “It is a highly competitive market place, but with Damen’s exceptional human and physical assets plus a positive outlook for demand in the years ahead, I am very positive that we can bring new ideas and solutions to the sector and generate business.

Damen Shipyards has recently two, 80m Damen 8017 ropax ferries  to the Provincial Government of Newfoundland on Canada’s Atlantic coast. Two 81-metre Damen Ferry 8117 Road Ferries are currently under construction at Damen Shipyards Galati for BC Ferries of British Columbia, Canada, for delivery in 2020.

Two ferries with full electric propulsion, a 68m Road Ferry 6819 and a 98m Road Ferry 9819 are also under construction for operation in the Great Lakes.

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