Damen Shipyards is the leading shipbuilder in the Netherlands with shipyards in 34 countries, revenues of €2 billion in 2017 and it employs 10,000 people. It is a very Dutch success story, owned by the Damen family, who have close links to the Dutch royal family. Despite its reputation at home, Damen now faces allegations of corruption in a number of countries.
Lighthouse Reports started a collaboration with NRC, a leading Dutch newspaper, to deeply investigate the activities of Damen. We spoke to dozens of current and former employees, diplomats and experts. We have filed FOI requests and traveled to West Africa to investigate Damen's business there.
It all started with a Worldbank investigation in Sierra Leone. Here’s the short documentary showing how that resulted in a failed project fighting illegal fishing and a series of follow-up investigations:
The project is published as a series.
Story 1: On the sales-culture of Damen Shipyards and an issue in Sierra Leone that set a series of investigations in motion.
Story 2: On the allegation of corruption and the identity of the agent in Indonesia.
Story 3: On the selling of a eight vessel to Libya without a proper license. And one of these vessels now is being used against migrants by a coast guard with a sinister reputation.
Story 4: On Somalia, yet to be published