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Netherlands leases second ro-ro ship

The Dutch MoD has leased a second ro-ro ship, named MV Southern Rock , which will be operated by the RNLN to secure strategic transport on a more permanent basis. (Dutch MoD)

The Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) has officially put into service a second roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) ship, which it has leased from a private company as part of efforts to secure strategic transport on a permanent basis.

The ship, named MV Southern Rock , arrived in Dakar, Senegal, on 15 May with its first load of equipment for US Africa Command's (AFRICOM's) joint multinational Exercise ‘African Lion 2024', the MoD announced the same day.

The lease contract for Southern Rock will initially run for a year, with the option to extend on an annual basis up to three times for a maximum of four years' operation.

Southern Rock is owned by Dutch shipping company Hartman Seatrade, which started operating the new ro-ro vessel in 2023. It was built by a partnership between Dutch shipbuilders Neptune Marine and Hartman Marine Shipbuilding, and Poland's Partner Shipyard, where the hull was completed.

It has an overall length of 114 m, a beam of 10 m, a gross tonnage of 3,636, and a deadweight tonnage of 4,540. The propulsion system delivers a cruising speed of 12.5 kt.

Key features include 1,606 m 2 of cargo space and a reinforced deck for heavy vehicles. Vehicle freight is loaded and unloaded via a 7 tonne stern ramp that can accommodate a 10 tonne wheel load. The stern also has two wings to create additional deck space, enabling more cargo to be transported without increasing fuel consumption.

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