Damen Shipyards Group
Attendees watched the event at the shipyard from across the world via their individual computers
Damen Yichang shipyard in China has hosted a digital steel cutting ceremony for a new ro-pax ferry, with clients and guests attending via their individual computers due to the restrictions caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Attendees included representatives of the client, the Government of Timor-Leste, and Damen employees in both China and The Netherlands. After several speeches, the general manager of Damen Yichang shipyard, Deng Zhiping, pushed the button to cut the first steel for the vessel.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Damen Yichang shipyard has continued production by implementing several safety measures. Where possible, employees have worked from home. Workers who were unable to do so have had their temperature tested before entering the shipyard and have been required to observe a safe working distance. A cleaning and disinfection programme has been introduced.
“During the coronavirus crisis, our first priority is for peoples’ safety and wellbeing,” said Gysbert Boersma, Damen sales manager. “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.”
Once completed, the vessel will operate a route between Dili, Timor-Leste, the enclave of Oecusse and the island of Ataúro. She will accommodate up to 308 passengers, along with vehicles and goods. The ferry is co-funded by the governments of Timor-Leste and Germany, and is scheduled to begin operations in 2021.
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