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DAMEN CUTS RO-PAX STEEL DIGITALLY TO OVERCOME RESTRICTIONS

Friday, May 8, 2020 

Damen Yichang Shipyard in China recently hosted a steel cutting ceremony with a difference; as a result of safety measures surrounding the global COVID-19 outbreak, the first steel cut for a Damen ro-pax Ferry 6716 for the Government of Timor-Leste was marked by a digital gathering.

Damen sales manager Gysbert Boersma said: “During the coronavirus crisis, our first priority is for peoples’ safety and well-being. 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 14.50 China Standard time (15.50 in Timor-Lest and 08.50 in the Netherlands) to listen to speeches. After this, Damen Yichang Shipyard General Manager Mr Deng Zhiping pushed the button and the first steel was cut.

When completed, the 67m x 16m 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 managed to continue production by taking safety measures to ensure the well-being of personnel, their families and the wider community. This has included many employees working from home. For those unable to work from home, there has been temperature testing before entry, a rigorous cleaning and disinfection programme and the observation of safe working distance at all times.

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