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Thursday, March 4, 2021 

The naming ceremony and transfer of the Expeditionary Survey Boat (ESB) 'Hydrograaf' for the Royal Netherlands Navy recently took place at Damen Shipyards Den Helder (DSDH).

Due to coronavirus measures the handover took place via a livestream. The design and construction of the Hydrograaf was realised in close collaboration between the DMO and DSDH.

Peter van den Berg of DSDH said: “Our project manager, together with the Ministry of Defence team, delivered a high-tech performance in the design and construction of this new type of ship.”

After construction, the Hydrograaf was tested with a maximum weight of 24 tons, in connection with the maximum permissible loading weight of the Davits hoisting installation on ships such as HNLMS Johan de Witt. The vessel is designed to reach a speed of at least 20 knots, with very low noise requirements and limited space for recording all hydrographic equipment.

After the naming ceremony, the ESB was symbolically handed over by DSDH to Defensie Materieel Organistatie’s (DMO) Director of Projects. In the coming weeks, the ESB will be prepared for handover to the RNLN.

The ESB will provide up-to-date information about the soil conditions and the situation below the waterline in places where that insight is required. With this information, the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLSN) supports expeditionary maritime operations and provides an environment in which ships can navigate safely. The main tasks of the ESB are:

  • Gathering environmental information to make decisions about the (im)possibilities of an amphibious operation;
  • Performing hydrographic survey operations in support of emergency relief operations;
  • Supporting with civil hydrographic tasks on the national continental shelf (NCP).

The 16m long ESB can be deployed from the so-called big decks, such as Johan de Witt. The ESB can independently perform hydrographic surveys under tactical conditions at a greater distance from the mother ship. She is a fully fledged platform that is comparable to a hydrographic survey vessel (HOV) and meets the highest survey standards.

The name Hydrograaf has been chosen in honour of the National Inspection Vessel Hydrograaf from 1910. It is also a clear reference to the primary task.

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