The 80.1-metre Damen support vessel U-81 has been spotted in the North Sea following a brief yard period at Zwijnenburg shipyard in IJsselwerf, the Netherlands. According to BOATPro, she left the Damen ship repair site in early February, touched into the UK close to Ipswich on the eastern coast, and then headed to Zwijnenburg with a new tender stored on the aft deck.
She has since arrived in the Mediterranean basin, stopping in Gibraltar on 2 June and heading onwards to Cartagena.
U-81 underwent a full-scale conversion to turn her into a support vessel, having started life as an offshore oil and gas platform at one of Damen's commercial sites in Asia. Construction on the semi-complete hull known as Naghi 1000 halted in the mid-2010s, but last year it resurfaced as U-81 following a conversion at a Damen facility in the UAE.
Azure Naval Architects was chosen to oversee the refit and conversion project, maintaining the vessel's utilitarian look, recessed aft deck and high forebody connected to a helipad. Space below the helipad can be used for storing tenders and toys, while the aft deck has further space for a sizeable chase boat with quadruple outboard engines and a hardtop.
With the tenders launched, the space can double as a basketball court and there is a crane on hand for easy launch and recovery.
While she is technically the largest yacht in Damen's yacht support fleet, she is not the largest purpose-built support vessel in the Damen Yachting fleet; this crown belongs to Abeona, the support vessel of the world's largest sailing yacht Koru.
U-81 is frequently seen alongside her mothership, the 89-metre Here Comes the Sun.