Royal IHC congratulates the King in a special way

News published on
26 April 2015

Royal IHC is very honored to be part of the program on the King's Birthday. Among other activities, the King and his family will be viewing a 'Grande Maritime Parade' in Dordrecht. The last ship in this spectacular show is the offshore vessel SEVEN SUN which was built by Royal IHC for offshore contractor Subsea7. Especially for this day the crew carries an exceptional load: a message in a bottle for the King.

The SEVEN SUN brings a Royal salute to the Royal couple. This means that the vessel will turn in front of the grandstand in Dordrecht and salutes the Royal family by using the ship's horn. This moment will also be used to launch two congratulatory wishes to the King by the traditional message in a bottle.

Message in a bottle 

Royal IHC is an innovative organization but also values old traditions. For instance, it is custom to throw a bottle with a message overboard during the maiden voyage of a vessel. This custom dates back to the past when sailors and also passengers on a ship made their wish or heart cry known to a lucky finder by throwing a bottle with a letter overboard. The honor of writing such a congratulatory wish has now been given to Levi (6) and Femke (12). These are children of two Royal IHC employees and their birthday happens to be on the same day as His Majesty's. Find out what Levi and Femke have written in their letter to the King and follow the route of the bottle until it will be presented to the King today. (Video: Message in a bottle)


The SEVEN SUN is a brand new vessel, commissioned by Subsea7, that was built in 2.5 years by Royal IHC in Kinderdijk. The vessel is a floating factory; its dimensions are 146 metres long and 30 metres wide. The SEVEN SUN is a flexible pipelayer. This means that the vessel can install flexible pipelines in oceans all over the world to a depth of no less than 3000 metres. These pipelines are mostly used to transport oil.

Life on board 

A maximum of 120 people can sleep on board of the SEVEN SUN: 60 - 80 crew members are active laying pipes and 40 crew members run the ship. The management of the vessel consists of 7 persons: the captain and his officers. All crew members work on board for 4 - 5 weeks. Then a new crew arrives and the former crew gets 4 - 5 weeks off to spend with their families. The change often takes place by helicopter so that the vessel can continue laying pipes and doesn't necessarily have to return to shore. 

Honorary title

Royal IHC is an international company that has a number of branch offices worldwide and has its head office in Sliedrecht. The company exists for over 350 years and is an expert in water management. The company started as a dredging expert but has developed into designer as well as builder of technologically highly advanced and reliable vessels and equipment for offshore and wet mining. In 2014 His Majesty awarded IHC with the honorary title Royal. A this is a great honor, the company changed its name last year from IHC Merwede into Royal IHC.