Rising to the top

“Dearsan Shipyard was incorporated in the year 1980 with the main object of undertaking newbuilding activity,” begins the yard’s business development manager Emre Caylak. “During the last 30 years we have constructed and delivered 52 vessels including specialised and sophisticated designs like naval combat boats, megayachts, tug boats and chemical tankers for both the Turkish Navy and leading companies internationally.”

Dearsan is one of Turkey’s leading shipyards designing and manufacturing its own vessels, even gaining the accolade of being the first private shipyard to supply the modern Turkish Republic’s Navy with a ship. The Tuzla Class Patrol Boat was ordered by the Navy as a set of 16 sister vessels in 2007, and represents a milestone in not just the company’s history but also the country’s. It is the first naval vessel designed in-house by a native company in the modern Turkish Republic, and also the first boat to be built in a private Turkish yard for the country’s navy.

The 56 metre steel vessels offer an Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), which automates onboard weapons platforms whilst integrating the vessel’s energy and propulsion systems. The fleet was ordered by the Undersecretariat for Defence Industry (SSM) as part of a drive to update the Turkish Navy with the first in the range delivered in 2010. A total of six have been delivered to date, all on time and within budget, with the remaining ten to be delivered every three months until 2015. Of the 140 yards in the country, only seven were chosen by SSM; Dearsan’s inclusion is therefore a testament to the quality and reliability of both its vessels and its service, and elevates it into a select group at the top of the Turkish maritime sector.

The yard also produces a wide range of other boats. “With an intensive project design study with our design partner Robert Allan, and contributions from our previous clients, we have realised an ocean going tug boat with superior configuration in design, equipment and execution,” Emre says. “In addition to the tug market we are building oil / chemical tankers ranging in size between 3500 and 11,000 DWT. Our tankers are fully compliant with the certification rules and regulations of well known oil companies and operate safely all around the world.”

Emre continues, elaborating on Dearsan’s gallery of clients: “We export our vessels to EU countries such as Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands and France. In the middle of the global financial crisis we also had a chance to deliver to the UAE. More recently, however, we are focused on meeting the requirements of the global defence market. Navies around the world have increasingly found themselves involved in military operations outside of warfare such as territorial disputes, non-state political violence, transnational crime, and environmental degradation. Our unique Tuzla Class Patrol Boats represent a cost-effective solution to many such maritime security needs.”

The shipping market has faced low points and major changes during the last few years but this hasn’t prevented Dearsan from maintaining a steady business. Despite the global recession directly affecting order numbers, shifting trade volume patterns, and rapidly changing regulations, the Turkish shipbuilder has been able to secure steady footing for itself by securing the confidence of its investors. It has done this with notable opportunities such as the 16-piece Turkish Navy order and careful in-house plotting of finances. High unit value of ships makes building a risky business; Dearsan’s strong investor confidence has eased concerns in this area.

“Dearsan has a variety of projects underway for the future,” states the business development manager. “We have become an exporter of combat vessels from Turkey. For this, currently under development are variants of the Tuzla Class Patrol Boat designed to have the flexibility for specialised requests and custom requirements from end users other than the Turkish Navy. We also are studying new vessel concepts beginning with a 15-metre fast patrol boat and an 80-metre offshore patrol vessel.”

There is also further collaboration between Dearsan and the Turkish Navy on the MILGEM Project, an initiative by the national government to construct littoral combat ships incorporating stealth-based technologies using local resources and manpower. Proposals have already been submitted by Dearsan to the Defence Industry Executive Committee for the construction of six corvettes.

With plenty of opportunities in the pipeline, Emre concludes with an astute overview on the future of Dearsan: “We need to develop new technologies and new types of vessels, and increase productivity to remain successful over the coming years. This is self-criticism we are taking onboard as improvement. We do not believe Dearsan can continue simply building ships – we must develop ourselves to remain relevant and improve our current status.”

Landmark Turkish Naval contract
Strong export market
Superior design and construction