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A remarkable shipbuilder born on 4 September 1900. He set up his first company Scheepsinstallatiebedrijf Nederland N.V. in 1946, and subsequently took over two shipyards in Alblasserdam in 1950 and Heusden in 1953. The demand for ever larger ships led Cornelis Verolme to decide to start operating in this segment too. But that called for a new yard, preferably in deep water, close to the sea. The municipal council agreed in 1955 for the release of the 58 hectares of land Verolme needed. In 1956 Cornelis Verolme started the construction of the yard on the New Waterway. Cornelis Verolme decided to place all his businesses under a single umbrella organisation by the name of Verolme Verenigde Scheepswerven (VVS)/Verolme United Shipyards (VUS).
Exactly one year after the first pile was driven, on 27 June 1957, the Verolme Dok- en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij Verolme Dok (VDSM) yard was officially opened by the Queen’s Commissioner in South Holland, Mr J. Klaasesz. On that same day, the keel was laid down for a 33,000 dwt tanker, construction number 605. This tanker, christened Reza Shah the Great, would be the first new-built vessel to leave the new slipway, on 15 July 1958.
Verolme succeeded in winning the order for the renovation and modernisation of the Minas Gerais in July 1957. This mega order, worth 27 million US dollars, would provide several years’ worth of work for the yard.
The first technical sea trial took place in 1960. Everything, it emerged, worked perfectly, and on 13 January 1961, the Minas Gerais was handed over to the Brazilian navy, as good as new. With this project, Verolme had proven its ability to implement a very complex project, completely on schedule.
In around 1960, it became clear that the oil company Esso was on the market for the fabrication of a number of new tankers. These ships weighed in at between 80,000 and 90,000 dwt. For the VDSM yard, this led to the fabrication of three tankers that at the time were amongst the largest of their kind anywhere in the world.
The first two, the Esso Hampshire and the Esso Libya, were fabricated for the Esso group in the United States, whilst the third, the Esso Den Haag was built for Esso Nederland. The three tankers were built one after the other in the Koningin Wilhelmina Dock (Dock 1).