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Sailing with a ship before its maiden voyage.

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The case

Together with naval ship builder Damen, Mammoet developed a completely new way to launch ships. The Multi-Purpose Pontoon named ‘Schelde’ is designed to float ships faster, safer and more efficiently than conventional methods. The groundbreaking MPP removes the need for dry docks and load spreaders altogether, saving clients precious time and money. The launch of Damen’s newest frigate was the perfect occasion to break in the latest innovation by Mammoet Engineering.


The launching of a ship is the culmination of months of hard work. As the essential final step in the process, there are many time consuming logistics and risks to consider. To make the procedure safer and more efficient, Mammoet has developed a revolutionary floating method.

Combining the Schelde MPP with SPMTs, ships can now be moved from their construction site and into the water in a safe and controlled fashion. The Damen frigate’s maiden voyage was also that of the Schelde MPP.

A safer and more efficient way to launch ships.

Schelde Multi-Purpose Pontoon

Using SPMTs, the frigate was moved from the construction building directly to the quay and onto the pontoon. At high tide, the Schelde was moved to deeper water, where it was joined by two other pontoons fitted with winch frames. Using winches instead of the traditional ballast towers is a much better controlled method.

Our team used a tailor made computer system to gradually submerge the pontoon by controlling the winches and the ballasting pumps of the Schelde. The frigate was floated under perfect control, eliminating the need for dry docks in the launching process.

day 1 A frigate on its way to the water

day 2 Heading for deeper water

day 3 The launch under perfect control

day 3 A successfull floating method

With the innovative Schelde MPP, ships no longer have to be built in dry docks. Instead, valuable dock space can be reserved for maintenance and emergency repairs – another major advantage of this pioneering technique that makes the floating of ships faster, cheaper and more flexible.

Since its first assignment, the Schelde has been successfully used to launch many other vessels.

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