As part of an agreement between the European Union and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Damen Shipyards Group has delivered two SAR 1906 vessels to the Turkish Coast Guard. The two vessels – the first to be delivered in what is a six-vessel contract – will be mobilised in refugee and migrant rescue operations.
The contract between Damen and the IOM (the UN Migration Agency) for the six vessels was finalised at the end of Augustus 2016, stipulating a delivery time of 12 months for the first vessel. However, in response to the critical refugee situation that is currently occurring, Damen Shipyards Antalya in Turkey has completed construction of the first two vessels less than 10 months after contract signing.
“Considering the importance of the work of the Turkish Coast Guard and the urgency of the situation in the region, the team here at our yard in Turkey are proud to have completed these first two vessels within this short space of time,” commented Damen Sales Manager Middle East Boran Bekbulat. Construction of the remaining four vessels is ongoing, with deliveries scheduled later this year.
Speaking at the handover ceremony in Antalya, Turkey, the Head of the EU Delegation in Turkey, Ambassador Christian Berger said: “The strenuous efforts by the Turkish Coast Guard have been crucial in saving human lives in the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean. The EU is proud to be able to contribute to the efforts of the Turkish Coast Guard through these first two state-of-the-art search and rescue vessels delivered today.”
Damen’s SAR 1906 vessel has been designed in cooperation with the Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution (KNRM), Delft University of Technology, and De Vries Lentsch Naval Architects. The input from these specialist partners has created an award-wining tool for search and rescue activities.
Fabricated with an aluminium hull and a composite wheelhouse, the vessel’s light weight means that it can combine speeds of up to 33 knots with efficient fuel consumption.
A crucial aspect of the 19-metre long vessel is its attention to safety. Most importantly, the SAR 1906 has space to rescue up to 120 survivors. The hull has been adapted from Damen’s Axe Bow technology which provides the seakeeping capabilities to operate in all weathers and sea states. Even a capsize situation does not hinder activities as the vessel can right itself. Moreover, the engines and on-board equipment have been designed to continue operating even after the vessel has capsized.
Also attending the vessel handover, Damen Chief Products Officer Jan-Wim Dekker commented: “In close cooperation with the International Organization for Migration and Turkish Coast Guard, these vessels have been further improved and modified to Turkish Coast Guard requirements. I would like to stress once again our appreciation of the combination of the European Union, the IOM and the Turkish Coast Guard for the trust and opportunity given to us to build these search and rescue vessels.”