Dutch shipbuilding company, Damen Shipyards Group, has banded together with one of the UKâs own expedition consultancy firms, Expedition Voyage Consultants (EVC), in a bid to create a small, specialist passenger cruise ship capable of ferry travellers to remote locations around the world. The new ship will be designed to carry around 100 passengers at a time and is expected to be launched in autumn this year.
The development project comes in response to new growth within the expedition tourism sector and, in particular, travellersâ desire to visit places and seas much more remote than has been traditional. In order to accommodate such requirements, specialist vessels are required; standard cruise liners are both too large and too unwieldy so as to be safe in what can quickly become a hostile environment for sailing.
As well as reducing the size of the vessel, whilst maintaining the strength, power and interior commodities of their larger counterparts, the challenge for Damen Shipyards Group will be to remain compliant with current regulatory standards. As Henk Grunstra, Product Director at Damen Shipyards Group points out, passenger vessels are more strictly regulated than ever before and thus ensuring compliance with health and safety, emission and tonnage regulations is of considerable import. He added that the ship must be designed so as to be both progressive and adaptable to future changes in legislation.
Damen Shipyards Group is no stranger to EVC; the global firm has previously worked with the consultancy firmâs sister company, EYOS expeditions, during which the pair developed the worldâs first Polar Code-compliant yacht, named SeaXplorer.
At the shipâs launch, Ben Lyons, Chief Executive Officer of both Expedition Voyage Consultants and EYOS Expeditions expressed his pride, asserting that the ship would convey passengers further than ever before – in terms of both geography and experience.
This new vessel is hoped to be equally revolutionary and its success will, in large part, rest on the expertise EVC is able to provide. And with an accumulated total of some 100+ years in the expedition cruise industry, the firm is likely to be lucrative asset for Damen Shipyards Group and the partnership may well prove one which the ship-builder is unwilling to let go.