Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Damen Yichang Shipyard in China hosted a digital ceremony to celebrate the steel cutting for newbuild Damen RoPax Ferry 6716
When completed, the 67m-long, 16m-wide vessel will operate on a route between Timor-Leste’s capital Dili, the Oecusse enclave and the island of Ataúro carrying up to 308 passengers, vehicles and goods. The vessel’s two Yanmar engines will deliver 837 kilowatts of power to a 1.6 m fixed pitch propeller, giving it the power to manoeuvre safely when docking as well as on the open water.
Damen sales manager Gysbert Boersma explained that the ceremony took place digitally owing to the ongoing pandemic and said “our first priority is for peoples’ safety and well-being. We do, however, still like to mark these important milestones so we do so in a safety-conscious manner, with the aid of digital communications.”
Attendees of the online ceremony included representatives of the Government of Timor-Leste and Damen employees in both China and the Netherlands.
The project is co-funded by the governments of Timor-Leste and Germany and is scheduled to begin operations in 2021. The Government of Timor-Leste expects that the ferry service will open up new opportunities for commerce, education and employment in the country.
Damen Yichang Shipyard said it has managed to continue production during the Covid-19 pandemic by taking safety measures for the well-being of personnel. Damen said employees who work on site are subject to temperature testing before entry to the shipyard facilities, where a rigorous cleaning and disinfection programme is in place and there are regulations to enforce safe working distances at all times.