New North Sea Port sounding boat sails on both sides of the border

Published on Mon 19 Mar 2018
On Monday, 19 March, a new ship belonging to North Sea Port was baptized. ‘Harmonie’ is the name of the new sounding boat that will sound the port bottoms and carry out inspections on both sides of the border between the Netherlands and Belgium in the entire port area.

The sounding boat Harmonie was baptized by Carla Schönknecht, member of the executive of the province of Zeeland. The christening took place at the Calamiteitensteiger at Flusing-East where the boat has her fixed berth. This sounding boat is a concrete example of the cross-border cooperation after the merger of the Dutch Zeeland Seaports and the Flemish/Belgian Ghent Port Company. At the end of 2017, both port authorities merged into the cross-border North Sea Port. 

Named after the first ship on the Ghent-Terneuzen Canal

Harmonie owes her name to the first seagoing vessel that sailed on 3 December 1827 through the newly constructed Ghent-Terneuzen Canal. According to the newspaper ‘Gazette van Gend’ this was the Harmonie from Hamburg. The ship was then handled in the Ghent port area by the Stukwerkers company, a Ghent stevedore that has been active already since 1338. 

Jack-of-all-trades in the entire port area

The Harmonie is a real jack-of-all-trades. Her main task is to sound the depth of all of North Sea Port’s docks/harbours and the Wielingen fairway off the Zeeland Flemish coast in the direction of Flushing. In the tidal harbours/docks, that silt up more rapidly, this is done six times a year and in the other harbours/docks twice a year. Also soundings of dredging works in case of maintenance and during new construction works are in the programme, just like all kinds of inspections and traffic guidance activities during big operations. Harmonie can also be deployed for commercial tours and in case of calamities. 

Merger leads to cross-border cooperation

The sounding boat Harmonie is a first concrete example of cooperation after the merger. Because now, this kind of investment only has to be made once. As a matter of fact, the sounding boat is active in the entire port area of North Sea Port, on both sides of the Dutch-Belgian border and in a harmonious cooperation. Consequently, Harmonie is a suitable name and not only for historical reasons. 

Built at Lauwersoog

The new sounding boat was built by the ‘Next Generation Shipyards’ at Lauwersoog, in the vicinity of Groningen in the north of the Netherlands. Harmonie is 15.09 metres long, has a beam of 4.74 metres, reaches 20 knots and is fitted with modern devices and comfort. Her cost price amounts to 925,000 euros.