Damen reported that the conversion of the dredger faced some challenges, keeping in mind that as this was the first dredger conversion using this type of propulsion, setting the parameters for the engine performance had to start with fresh thinking and a clean piece of paper.

Moreover, another barrier was significant revisions to the detailed engineering after a decision was taken to install different engines than had originally been planned. The new engines are considerably larger than those first specified and so Damen team had to build an entirely new engine room in their workshop.

As a result, Damen delivered a turnkey package that included engineering, procurement, installation, commissioning and support.

Key features included changing of the engines to dual-fuel (LNG/Diesel) models, the installation of onboard LNG storage facilities, and maintenance support for eight years.

Meanwhile, the engine configuration needed a considerable renewal and extension of all piping and 25 tonnes of piping were re-engineered, fabricated and installed. This was the first dredger conversion using this type of propulsion, setting the parameters for the engine performance.

Mark Jan van den Akker, Managing Director of DSDu commented

We knew at the outset that this project would be a voyage into uncharted waters. We have however acquired much valuable experience along the way that we can apply to future works of this type.

Concluding, according to Damen's statement the 'Samuel de Champlain' was built in 2002 and is the largest vessel in the GIE Dragages-Ports fleet. The conversion project was made possible by a subsidy from the European Commission’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) via its Connecting Europe Facility programme.