Damen delivers new RoPax to Timor-Leste

Dutch shipbuilding group Damen Shipyards has handed over a new roll-on/roll-off passenger (RoPax) ferry to the Port Authority of Timor-Leste (APORTIL).

Photo: Damen

The delivery ceremony took place in Timor Leste on 20 December 2021.

Built at Damen’s Yichang Shipyard in China, the Berlin-Ramelau arrived on the 9 December at Timor-Leste’s capital city Dili to start an extensive training programme for the new crew.

Timor-Leste has a population of just 1.3 million, making the vessel a significant addition to the country’s infrastructure. It will link Dili with the nearby island of Ataúro and the enclave of Oecusse-Ambeno, a coastal settlement otherwise surrounded by the neighbouring West Timor, an Indonesian province.

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The 67-metre Berlin-Ramelau, named after Germany’s capital city in recognition of that country’s financial assistance with the project, and Timor-Leste’s highest mountain, is projected to bring substantial economic and social benefits.

Built to take up to 308 passengers plus private and commercial vehicles, and cargo, it will improve access to education and employment for those living in the outlying regions, as well as boost internal trade.

“Despite all sorts of challenges arising over the course of the project due to the worldwide pandemic, I am delighted that we managed to deliver the vessel on time. This was only possible due to the joint efforts of Aportil, IMS Nord, the KFW bank and Damen Shipyards,” Gysbert Boersma, Damen Regional Director, commented.

“The timing and construction site resulted in this project finding itself at the centre of a global crisis but, despite all the difficulties, our team was able to complete the project two years later, and with less than three percent deviation from the budget.”

“I consider this a great success,” José Agostinho da Silva, Minister of Transport, said in his speech during the ceremony.

“Maritime connectivity reinforces national unity and is the main source of supply for the populations of Oecusse-Ambeno and Ataúro. The Maritime Transport Policy provides for the extension of maritime links to the east and south coast, and this is the original objective of the Berlin-Ramelau.”