Damen has officially delivered a complete 19-vessel order to AAS Amur Assets Shipping Limited, a joint venture set up by Combi Lift GmbH to support its role in the construction of the Amur Gas Processing Plant “Gazprom” 150km from Russia’s border with China. The order comprised four Multi Cat 2608SD workboats, four Pusher Tugs 2612SD, seven Stan Pontoons 8916SD and four Side Floaters 8605SD.

At the official handover ceremony at Damen Shipyards Gorinchem, the Multi Cats and Pusher Tugs were blessed by His Eminence Archbishop Elisey, Ruling Bishop of the Diocese of The Hague and the Netherlands of the Russian Orthodox Church. Mrs Irina Tropina, wife of Sergey Tropin from the Russian operating company STAT, broke a bottle of champagne over the bow of one of the vessels. They were then loaded on to a heavy lift vessel at Rotterdam to make their way to the Russian port of De-Kastri on the Sea of Okhotsk, where they arrived at the beginning of May.

Meanwhile the 89m pontoons and 86m side floaters, which have been built at a Damen facility in China, departed Shanghai later in April, making their much shorter journey to De-Kastri to arrive at the same time as the Dutch consignment.

All the vessels have been customised to enable them to navigate the very shallow inland waters in which they will operate, especially the Zeya River. Reducing the weight where possible and stretching the length and beam has increased buoyancy and reduced draught, while raisable wheelhouses on the tugs will ensure clear views over extra-large cargos.

The Side Floaters 8605SD will also play an important role in delivering lateral ballastable buoyancy to the Stan Pontoons, further minimising their draught when loaded with cargo.

On arrival, the fleet began its mission; playing an important role in moving a significant proportion of the 176,000 tonnes of equipment and material that Combi Lift is responsible for bringing to the site of the new gas processing plant. This includes some sizeable components such as 12 columns weighing 900 tonnes each.