Established in 1977, Damen Technical Cooperation (DTC) is founded on the power of sharing knowledge and skills which enable shipyards to build proven Damen designs from our portfolio all over the world. A fantastic example of this concept, whereby DTC teamed up with Cantiere Navale Vittoria (CNV), has ultimately produced a top-quality flagship - a Damen Stan Patrol 6009 - for the Italian Guardia di Finanza (Customs Police).
Luigi Chinappi, Commercial Director of CNV, outlines the importance of being able to build locally, and why the company decided to join forces with Damen again. “Vittoria Shipyard’s cooperation with Damen actually dates back to more than 10 years ago when we built the first two Offshore Patrol Vessels of the Monti Class by collaborating with DTC. It was a fantastic adventure that brought together dozens of people from several countries with different experiences and skills, but we all had a single common goal: to build and deliver vessels that still represent the flagships of the Guardia di Finanza fleet today. The two Damen Stan Patrol 5509 vessels sail throughout the Mediterranean seas, ensuring security and enforcing the law.”
When the Italian government issued the tender for Guardia di Finanza’s new flagship, CNV saw this as a great opportunity to team up with Damen and DTC again. “We knew we could combine Damen’s great design skills with our knowledge in shipbuilding and the management of the most important Italian public clients such as the Guardia di Finanza, which has extreme and different operational needs,” he emphasises.
Tender issued during pandemic
Notably, the European tender was actually issued right in the middle of the pandemic in February 2020 and construction got underway in September 2020 just as the second COVID-19 wave arrived in Italy. Luigi admits that this was certainly a difficult period, but adds, “thanks to everyone’s commitment and dedication at DTC and CNV we were able to face it”. Antonio Marte, Damen Sales Manager North, West & South EU, agrees, commenting: “We pretty much had to do the whole engineering process during the pandemic. We have a big team of engineers working together and for a few months this had to be done remotely from home. There was a lot of discipline required, but we jointly reinvented a new way of working together. Thanks to these efforts, the project is a success.”
How important does Luigi think it was to build the Damen Stan Patrol 6009 locally, and what role did this play in winning the tender? “Definitely the local construction of the new flagship allows our customer to oversee the works in a domestic and familiar environment, without additional obstacles such as distances, languages, cultures and different approaches, which is a substantial advantage. Overall however, I think this prestigious award of the European tender rewarded the union of Damen’s rigorous and punctual design vision, together with Vittoria Shipyard’s flexibility and ability to understand and meet the needs of the end user. Ultimately, Damen’s Stan Patrol 6009, fitted with its famous Axe Bow hull, is a great product and this is combined with proper Italian workmanship and a good price, despite the pandemic.”
And this second experience of the DTC philosophy was equally rewarding as the first one, he stresses. “We are certainly following the path already traced with the previous two units but with a great improvement in the efficiency of the processes thanks to the mutual positive experiences of the previous build. This latest P04 Osum vessel has been improved and is much better equipped when compared to the previous ones and we have no doubt that she will experience equal, if not greater success, than her predecessors.”
As well as its expertise, DTC provided the design and detailed engineering package and most of the materials, with the exception of the steel. Another benefit is that Damen has delivered many vessels to Italy, ranging from offshore vessels to tug boats, so it is well used to working to the Italian Flag requirements.
Diesel electric propulsion and design
The new Guardia di Finanza flagship is equipped with diesel electric propulsion, making slow steaming (below 9 knots) greener. This makes the whole propulsion very efficient, Antonio says. “It is not necessary to use the main engines for low speed sailing as two PTI can power the propellers, saving fuel and reducing emissions considerably. Additionally, the famous Damen Sea Axe bow facilitates excellent seakeeping behaviour, increasing comfort and operability due to lower vertical accelerations.”
The Damen Stan Patrol 6009 is an extraordinarily manageable boat, Luigi points out. “It is sturdy, with a great ability to handle rough seas.” Additionally, Damen has thought very carefully about the use and distribution of very warm, welcoming interior spaces, which are perfectly designed for prolonged stays at sea improving comfort on board. The smart hybrid propulsion system, with as many as six setting modes, also leads to extremely low fuel consumption, in turn reducing harmful emissions, he emphasises.
And would Luigi and the CNV team be keen to build in this way again in the future? He enthuses: “Yes indeed! Both companies have benefitted enormously from the collaboration and, personally, I am proud to have been able to be part of this joint adventure, always meeting highly professional colleagues, which often leads to establishing sincere friendships too.”
Damen has also very much enjoyed the collaboration with CNV for a second time. “It is very important to be able to offer our customers the chance to build our vessels locally. We provided the shipyard with the design, engineering, and materials package, as well as some technical assistance in this case. And CNV had the opportunity to build a Damen vessel to our quality and performance standards for Guardia di Finanza.”
Officially launched on October 19, the Damen Stan Patrol 6009 is due to be delivered in early 2022.