On 1 May 2021 Damen Yichang Shipyard launched a RoPax 6716 vessel to be operated by the Port Authority of Timor-Leste (APORTIL).

She will operate between Timor-Leste’s capital Dili, the Oecusse enclave and the island of Ataúro, carrying up to 308 passengers, vehicles and cargo. The ferry will stimulate increased access to trade, education and employment.

The construction of the vessel took place during some of the most challenging months of the Covid-19 pandemic and it was only by implementing a robust set of safety measure at the yard that Damen was able to keep things on schedule.

Due to the pandemic, the launching event was a virtual celebration. It was well attended by delegates from Damen, APORTIL, class and representatives of the government of Timor-Leste in China.

The vessel launch button was pressed by Mr Abrao dos Santos, Ambassador of Timor-Leste to China, Mr Deng Zhiping, MD of Damen Yichang Shipyard and Mr. Shengtong Wang, Damen sales manager Asia pacific.

Ms Maria Albert Gonclave, third secretary of Timor-Leste in China released the bottle of champagne with which the vessel was named Berlin-Ramelau.

The name, featuring the capital of Germany and the highest mountain in Timor-Leste, is a reference to the co-funding of the vessel by the governments of both countries.

Now that Berlin-Ramelau is in the water, the yard will continue with outfitting. In June the vessel will sail to Shanghai for seatrials, leaving for Dili in July.