The National Association the Zonnebloem has chosen the Merwede Shipyard to build the new holiday ship for the sick and handicapped. The contract was signed on November 4 at the shipyard in Hardinxveld-Giessendam. The plan is to start work at the yard in spring 2005 on building the new holiday ship of the Zonnebloem. The first holiday makers will be able to board the ship in March 2006.
Ton Rietdijk, director of Merwede Shipyard, is enthusiastic about the new commission. "It is an honor to be able to build such a special ship. The specially adapted sailing holidays of the Zonnebloem are extremely important for the serious ill and handicapped. It is a real pleasure to be able to contribute to this." Marijke van Eck, director of the Zonnebloem, has every faith in the chosen shipyard: "Merwede Shipyard has a great deal of experience in building river cruise ships. What is more, the yard has already once built a ship for sick and handicapped passengers. The company therefore knows precisely what is involved." Merwede Shipyard is a wholly-owned subsidiary of IHC Caland
With the new ship the Zonnebloem will be able to continue to organize sailing holidays for the sick and handicapped. The current, almost 20-year-old, Zonnebloem ship no longer meets the organization’s needs.
This considerably larger ship will soon meet all contemporary quality requirements in the area of privacy, comfort, hygiene, sanitary facilities and working conditions and will be fitted with modern features. There will be, for example, single as well as double cabins for guests. The cabins will be larger and for every two persons there will be a bathroom with a shower and toilet. The new ship is also faster, more manoeuvrable and provides the passengers with wonderful views.
The National Association the Zonnebloem is a national volunteer organization that works for people who due to illness, handicap or age are restricted physically. Each year the 37,000 volunteers make more than a million house visits. The Zonnebloem also organizes various events, excursions and holidays such as the popular boat trips. The new holiday ship will soon provide space for 2850 sick and handicapped passengers per year.