SDI Christens Self-Propelled Cutter Suction Dredger

Thursday, October 27, 2005
A vessel reported to be the most powerful self-propelled and ocean-going cutter suction dredger in the world was christened in Dunkirk, France. The 38,000 hp d’Artagnan is named after a character in Alexandre Dumas’ novel “The Three Musketeers.” Together with d’Artagnan, two auxiliary vessels, Aramis and Buckingham were also christened at the same ceremony. The three vessels will sail under French colors and are owned and operated by Société de Dragage International (SDI), the French subsidiary of Belgian Dredging, Environmental and Marine Engineering (DEME) Group.

The importance of the event was revealed in the christeners of the naming ceremony. For d’Artagnan Mrs. Ann De Smedt-Peeters, the spouse of the Flemish Minister for Public Works, Energy, the Environment and Nature, took the honor. The name of Buckingham was given by Mrs. Fabienne Ackermans, a direct descendant of the founders of Ackermans & van Haaren-Group and the spouse of Mr. Luc Bertrand, chairman of the Board of Directors at DEME. Aramis was christened by Mrs. Virginie Mennesson, the spouse of Mr. Renaud Bentégeat, CEO at general contractor Compagne d’Entreprises CFE. Both AvH and CFE are the shareholders of DEME.

Development and construction of the three dredging vessels represent a record investment of € 106 million. The concept of d’Artagnan was developed by DEME’s in-house Newbuilding Division, together with IHC in the Netherlands, where the vessel was built. Aramis and Buckingham were built at Socarenam in Boulogne, France.

The naming ceremony was attended by over 700 guests, including major clients of DEME from Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. Two prominent guests of honor were present: a representative of the mayor of Lupiac in Gascony, France, the village where d’Artagnan was born in 1611 and where the mayor, today lives in the original Chateau de Castelmore of the 17th century hero. Mr. de Montesquiou is the Chairman of the Directoire de Guyenne et Gascogne and is a descendant of d’Artagnan’s mother, Françoise de Montesquiou.

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