Damen Hosts Digital Steel-Cutting Ceremony

Damen Yichang Shipyard in China recently hosted a different kind of steel cutting ceremony for a RoPax Ferry 6716 being built for the Government of Timor-Leste.

Ordinarily, Damen would invite its clients and guests to attend the celebratory event, but the occasion on April 27 was marked by a digital gathering due to safety measures surrounding the global COVID-19 outbreak.

Damen sales manager Gysbert Boersma said, “During the coronavirus crisis, our first priority is for peoples’ safety and wellbeing. 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. The steel cutting was a great success; we certainly still managed to make it a special event.”

Attendees of the online ceremony included representatives of the Government of Timor-Leste and Damen employees in both China and the Netherlands. The delegates gathered at their individual computers at 2:50 p.m. China Standard time (3:50 p.m. in Timor-Lest and 8:50 a.m. in the Netherlands) to listen to speeches. After this, Damen Yichang Shipyard General Manager Deng Zhiping pushed the button on site and the first steel was cut.

When completed, the 67- by 16-meter vessel will operate a route between Timor-Leste’s capital Dili, the Oecusse enclave and the island of Ataúro. She will carry up to 308 passenger, plus vehicles and goods. 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 has stated that the ferry will open up new opportunities for commerce, education and employment in the country.

During the coronavirus crisis, Damen Yichang Shipyard has been able to continue production with additional health and safety measures.

Tan Hao, Head of Financial Department, Damen Yichang Shipyard, and Daniel Chen , Ship Coordinator, Projects Department, Damen Yichang Shipyard, at the digital steel-cutting ceremony (Photo: Damen) 

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