Silversea Cruises is preparing to take delivery of their newest cruise ship, Silver Origin. Despite of the global lockdown, De Hoop implemented rigid safety procedures, reduced its workforce, and devised ingenious ways to overcome posed challenges, including a world-first during the ship’s sea trial.
While shallow waters on the Waal River delayed Silver Origin’s float out from November to December 30, 2019, the months of January and February brought heavy rain to Western Europe in 2020, leading to unusually high water levels. This prevented Silver Origin and Barge Rossini from passing beneath the 12 bridges that separate De Hoop Shipyard from the sea. Only on March 26 was a safe passage to Rotterdam accessible—more than a month later than originally planned. This left just four weeks between arrival in Rotterdam and the sea trial.
Held from April 27th–29th off the coast of Goeree-Overflakkee, Silver Origin’s sea trials were a great success, offering the Captain the chance to put the ship through its paces and enabling the shipyard to demonstrate proper operation of the machinery systems.
Necessitated by the travel ban, which prevented sub-contractors from reaching the ship, Silver Origin’s sea trials included a historic world-first: during the dynamic positioning acceptance test – which tests the cruise ship’s ability to remain within 10cm of a fixed point without dropping anchor – the ship’s dynamic positioning system was remotely tuned and calibrated by a third party in St. Petersburg, Russia—over 1,800km away.
A fast internet connection was set up on board to enable near-instant communication between both parties and, using a headset and a camera, an operative from St. Petersburg completed maneuvering tests. The ship’s Captain, meanwhile, acted as his lookout from on board.
The finishing touches are now being applied to Silver Origin, ahead of the ship’s delivery in the coming weeks. And the De Hoop team is still finding innovative ways to progress, in spite of the challenging circumstances.
Currently docked in Pernis in the Netherlands, Silver Origin will set sail for the Galapagos Islands after being delivered to Silversea Cruises. 45 members of De Hoop’s workforce remain on Barge Rossini, and the shipyard intends on maintaining their strict new sanitary protocols for the long-term.
Silversea Cruises is using this time of pause, as well as the information that has become available, to improve its already exceptional sanitary standards further still, with the health and safety of guests and crew as the top priority. The cruise line is currently working on enhanced sanitary protocols across its fleet to ensure that all necessary precautions are in place to resume safe and healthy cruising when the time is right.