On 26 February 2021 the naming ceremony and transfer of the Expeditionary Survey Boat (ESB) Hydrograaf of the Royal Netherlands Navy took place at Damen Shipyards Den Helder (DSDH).

Due to the coronavirus measures currently in force, the naming ceremony and handover took place in an adjusted manner, whereby the majority of the invitees were present via a livestream.

The naming was also carried out remotely, whereby outgoing State Secretary of Defence Barbara Visser shattered the bottle of champagne against the ship in Den Helder with the press of a button.

The ceremony was attended physically and at an appropriate distance by deputy commander of the naval forces rear admiral Nacht Hulsker, captain of the ESB lieutenant at sea 2 (OC) van Amerongen, director of projects DMO commander Kreiter, deputy director of DSDH Peter van den Berg and the responsible project leader of DSDH.

The design and construction of the Hydrograaf was realised in close collaboration between the DMO and DSDH. Peter van den Berg of DSDH: “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, Hydrograaf was to be no more than a maximum of 24 tons in weight, the maximum permissible loading weight of the davits hoisting installation on ships such as HNLMS Johan de Witt.

At the same time, the ship had 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, commander Kreiter, followed by a toast to the vessel and her crew.

In the coming weeks, the ESB will be prepared for handover to the RNLN, which will start operating the vessel after a work-up period of several weeks.