By David Robinson

Two 71m(233ft) highly-complex fast diving support craft built to superyacht quality will be the first superyacht newbuilds from the Nakilat Damen Shipyards Qatar (NDSQ) facility at Ras Laffan in Qatar. Set for delivery in 2017, they are being built for Qatari owners.

NDSQ has developed from nothing to a huge 150,000m2 shipyard complex in just four years as a 70-30% joint venture between Nakilat (the Qatar Gas Transportation Company) and the Dutch Damen Shipyards Group which is the parent of Amels. The company builds naval and commercial craft such as tugs, offshore support vessels and corvettes, alongside superyachts. The two fast diving support vessels are based on the Amels Sea Axe design and these two yachts will have space for 47 people onboard including at least 35 crew and 10 to 12 guests.

During a tour of the facility by journalists visiting the Qatar International Boat Show (QIBS), recently appointed managing director Rino Brugge, told SB: “We are talking with a number of people about building superyachts. With our facilities we can construct yachts up to 170m (558ft). The yard currently has a workforce of 830 people which has grown from nine in 2010. Within that workforce we have dedicated yacht construction teams.”

The NDSQ facility includes an impressive range of facilities with its main construction hall being 270m (886.5ft) x 65m (213ft) x 35m (115ft); a superyacht hall with two outfitting bays of 180 x 37.5 x 45m (591 x 107 x 148ft) and 180 x 32.5 x 45m respectively plus supporting steel, pipework and general workshops. Within the main construction hall, four vessels up to 120m (394ft) can be built simultaneously.

For launching the yard possesses two travel lifts of 1,100 tonnes and 300 tonnes capacity respectively. The former is the world’s largest travel lift. There is also a huge trolley which can move large vessels onto the Al-Ghatrusha, a load out and recovery barge which has a 10,425 tonne lifting capacity. Supporting all this is a 600m (1,970ft) fitting out quay which will be added to next year with a new 120m (394ft) fitting out pier located in front of the main construction hall. Also next year a new breakwater will be built to protect the fitting out basin.

NDSQ has so far built more than 20 vessels including the Al-Ghatrusha, tugs and other commercial craft. It has also been busy with superyacht refit work with around a dozen superyachts having been worked on with the largest being the 80m (263ft) Constellation built by Oceanco. She is due back for more work. The yachts refitted or repaired range in size from 26m (85ft) to 80m.

NDSQ places a very strong emphasis on safety and it has achieved ISO 9001, ISO14001 and OHSAS180001. For the future NDSQ is going to market a series of fast yacht support vessels from 50m upwards.