Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) has performed the first steel cut for the Royal Netherlands Navy’s (RNLN) combat support ship ‘Den Helder’.

The construction milestone was carried out at Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania.

The company will perform 16 batches of steel cutting that will total up to 7,500t in 180 sections.

DSNS said that the steel cutting was initially scheduled to take place in February 2021.

However, the date had been preponed to ensure the progress of the project due to the pandemic conditions that is continuing.

According to the company, bringing forward the steel cutting ahead of schedule will allow it to better manage the improved security rules at the shipyard’s working style.

The CSS construction will help restore the navy’s maritime supply capacity and can perform operations across the globe, even under high threats, under the protection of frigates.

It will work together with the Joint Support Ship (JSS) HNLMS Karel Doorman.

Some of the missions that the vessel will conduct include combatting drug trafficking, monitoring refugee flows and providing emergency assistance.

DSNS noted that the project would provide work for more than 100 companies, majorly Dutch firms, since most of the engineering of the CSS is carried out in the Netherlands.

So far, 47 contracts have been signed for the vessel, with 34 of them being Dutch maritime suppliers.

The keel-laying ceremony of the vessel is expected to be held in May next year.

Damen recently signed a new contract with SMST to deliver the helicopter hangar door for the Den Helder.

Last month, DSNS and Thales signed a contract to deliver and integrate the Thales’s Mission and Combat System on four MKS 180 class frigates of the German Navy.