HNLMS Rotterdam - 15 years and going strong
29 Oct 2014
Launched in 1999, the Rotterdam was the first of the Damen Enforcer class, an amphibious warfare vessel based around a single lane submersible dock that provides a sheltered environment for the deployment of landing craft. Built by Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS), 2014 sees her back at the neighbouring Damen Shiprepair Vlissingen (DSV) for her third regular survey and maintenance visit. These take place every five years and, over the course of three months, she is being repainted, inspected from stem to stern, and a wide range of repairs undertaken throughout the 12,750 tonnes, 166-metre vessel.
Damen Shiprepair Vlissingen is part of the Damen Shiprepair & Conversion group, a global network of 15 repair and conversion yards that operates over 38 dry docks and synchrolifts, including two covered docks, as well as one of the largest dry docks (420 x 80m) in Europe. The Damen Shiprepair & Conversion group offers the full range of ship repair and conversion services for all types of vessel, but also has a long-standing relationship with the Royal Netherlands Navy. Having worked for many years on naval support and war ships of all classes, it has become highly experienced at providing maintenance and repair services to military vessels.
These maintenance stops are critical for a vessel that sees much active duty. Since its launch the Rotterdam has played important roles in humanitarian and peacekeeping operations from Albania and Ethiopia to Liberia and Surinam, and seen action while taking part in anti-piracy duties off the coast of Somalia.
The strength of the Damen Enforcer class design lies in its versatility. The ability to deploy substantial numbers of troops together with their equipment to potential trouble spots is vital for any navy aiming to maintain a global capability. Officially designated as a Landing Platform Dock, the Rotterdam is capable of carrying over 600 troops and their equipment, land them on the shore, and then provide sustained aerial support, command and control functions, medical care and accommodation. An extensive flight deck provides space for two medium sized helicopters while a hangar provides storage space for six more.
Customisation through module options
The experience of building and maintaining the HNLMS Rotterdam and the HNLMS Johan de Witt, a slightly longer sister ship, has allowed Damen to refine the design process and introduce efficiencies. Modular building techniques now give customers the opportunity to easily adapt their vessels to suit their particular operational priorities. The Enforcer series offers pre-designed customised options for the dock, garage, flight deck and hangar areas, as well as for the accommodation and propulsion systems. DSNS is also highly experienced in combining commercial and military standards and specifications to deliver efficiencies without any loss of capability. The overall result is reduced cost and faster delivery times.
November 2014 sees the completion of the works on board and HNLMS Rotterdam heading out of Damen Shiprepair Vlissingen to resume her duties. The three month project will leave her ready to face another five years of international service while taking good care of her crew and any additional personnel.