IDP Shipyard: Belgian ship building

There used to be lots of shipyards on the Flemish coast, but most have had to close their doors. One of the exceptions is IDP Shipyard in Ostend.

IDP Shipyard was founded in 1922 as a cooperative that supported the Ostend fishing fleet. Over the years, it has gradually specialised in the maintenance and repair of professional vessels. This includes ships from the Belgian navy, police boats, pilot vessels and fishing boats.

There is a lot involved in maintaining and repairing vessels. Philippe De Vestele, general manager of IDP Shipyard, explains: "The ship is taken out of the water on a train. This train then enters the shipyard building. Below the ship, you can see a metal frame on wheels."

The shipyard has two sheds and can deal with about 30 vessels a year. In addition to planned maintenance, the company is regularly called in whenever a ship is in trouble. This implies that the company is constantly standing by to provide the necessary assistance.

So shipyards need to be highly flexible, while ensuring a high level of technical knowhow and quality. It is no easy job, but all the more rewarding and fascinating. "Having completed a task gives you great satisfaction. It is sometimes quite rock-'n’-roll," Philippe says. 

IDP Shipyard has not missed the sustainable blue economy boat since it also ensures the maintenance of wind-farm catamarans.  These specially developed ships sail to the Belgian offshore wind farms for the maintenance of the wind turbines. The future of the company therefore looks bright.

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