Damen Shipbuilding Group’s newly opened office in Houston got off to a bright start with a four tugboat order from Young Brothers.

Damen’s new office opened on Aug. 1, headed by senior managers Jan van Hogerwou (new construction) and Ruud Haneveer (ship repair & conversion). The Young Brothers order is the first to be handled by the new entity, which will see a quartet of Damen 3711 Stan Tugs built at Conrad Shipyard, Morgan City, La., under a license and materials agreement with Damen. The first vessel is scheduled to be delivered in the first quarter of 2018 and the last twelve months later.

The 37-meter, 6,000-hp tugs will service Young Brothers’ fleet of modern, high-capacity tugs & barges in Hawaii. Young Brothers, a Saltchuk company operated by Foss Maritime, Seattle, is Hawaii’s largest inter-island cargo service provider.

“Opening a permanent Damen presence in North America is a significant milestone for the group,” said van Hogerwou. “With over 200 Damen design vessels built and delivered in the U.S., this has been an important market for our vessels for many years via our flexible licensing agreements, and we have enjoyed excellent cooperation with shipyards across the country. This latest initiative will enable us to strengthen our relationships further with both builders and operators, and serve the North American market with the innovative, cost-effective and dependable vessels that it seeks.”

Damen chose Houston for its office location in an effort to send a message to the North American oil and gas sector that Damen is committed to supporting vessel owners and operators to maximize efficiencies and minimize costs in the face of the current downturn.

The Damen office is located at 788 West Sam Houston Parkway North.