Shipyard De Hoop completes world’s first remote sea trials

Shipyard De Hoop completes world’s first remote sea trials
Silversea Cruises
Silver Origin completing her sea trials

Shipyard De Hoop has successfully carried out the world’s first-ever remotely operated ship trials for Silversea Cruises’ Silver Origin, which is set to be delivered in the coming weeks despite challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Dutch shipyard has continued to work on the ship during the Covid-19 pandemic, despite challenges caused by a reduced workforce, a national lockdown in the Netherlands, global travel restrictions preventing contractors from reaching the yard and delays in receiving supplies such as carpets, loose furniture and onboard art. The lockdown in Italy also disrupted the installation of the ship’s windows and galley.

To safeguard its 200 remaining employees, De Hoop followed strict health, sanitation and safety protocols. They included daily temperature checks, a strict 1.5-metre separation rule, a one-way system throughout the ship and enhanced cleaning procedures onboard the ship and in the crew living quarters and mess. In addition, face-to-face meetings were replaced by video calls. Around 100 of the employees are staying in an onsite residential facility named Barge Rossini, where they are also following strict hygiene procedures. To date, no employees have caught the virus.

Silver Origin’s sea trials were held between 27 and 29 April off the coast of Goeree-Overflakkee where, due to travel bans preventing sub-contractors from reaching the ship, the dynamic positioning acceptance test was remotely tuned and calibrated by a third party in St. Petersburg, Russia – over 1,800 kilometres away. To facilitate this, a fast internet connection set up onboard Silver Origin and the operative in St. Petersburg used a camera and a headset to direct manoeuvring tests, while the captain acted as an onboard lookout.

“This was the first time such an operation has been completed remotely during a sea trial,” said Fre Drenth, director of De Hoop Shipyard. “The tuning was successful and took no longer than usual. It demonstrates that it is possible to tune dynamic positioning systems remotely. It could potentially save a lot of travelling time for engineers in the future. I am enormously proud of my team for their work.”

All trials were completed successfully.

“We usually have a large team that participates in the sea trials, but this year was different because of the extraordinary situation,” said Vesa Uuttu, director of newbuilds and site office for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Silversea’s parent company. “Hence, a limited team participated – enough to comply with regulations. It was a proud moment to see the ship perform as she did – for all involved, especially the team at the De Hoop Shipyard who have worked tirelessly to complete the project in these tough circumstances.”

Silver Origin is currently docked in Pernis, Netherlands undergoing the final finishing touches ahead of her delivery in the coming weeks. After delivery, the vessel will head to her new home of the Galapagos Islands to prepare for the reopening of the cruise industry.

“We are so grateful to the professionals at the De Hoop shipyard,” said Roberto Martinoli, Silversea’s president and CEO. “In the face of such adversity, their efforts were extraordinary and represent the resilience of European industry. Silver Origin looks magnificent. Our pioneering new ship represents the dawning of a new age of travel in the Galapagos Islands and we look forward to welcoming guests aboard when the time is right.”

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
20 May 2020

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