Federal and port authorities in Germany are upgrading their emergency response and oil pollution control capabilities with new vessels
Germany’s Federal Waterway and Shipping Administration (WSA) has ordered two emergency response vessels to assist ships and respond to fires in the North and Baltic seas.
German shipyard Abeking & Rasmussen is building two vessels with emergency towing capabilities of 145 tonnes of bollard pull for WSA to replace their predecessors Scharhörn and Mellum in 2023 and 2024.
The 95-m vessels will be equipped to tackle marine fires, contain and recover oil and pollutants and tow distressed vessels away from danger. They will have chemical tanks, an explosion-proof safety and container cargo hold, oil skimmers, oil-holding tanks and a separation room.
Full gas protection will enable crew to create an air-tight citadel into which clean air is pumped. Gas-fuelled Bergen B36:45L6AG main engines will be installed, each delivering 3,600 kW and providing a full speed of 15 knots.
By the end of 2020, WSA will decide if a third, identical vessel should be built.
Meanwhile, Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) has ordered two more fire-fighting vessels with advanced propulsion technology to replace ageing response boats.
Its subsidiary Flotte Hamburg will operate these two fire-fighting vessels after completion by Damen Shipyards by the end of this year.
The vessels will primarily be used to fight ship fires in the Port of Hamburg and to supply fire-fighting water to industrial plants located at the port. From Q1 2021, these vessels will also be used for HPA fleet management tasks, such as bridge inspections and material transports.
They will have a water cannon capacity of 30,000 l/min over 110 m distance and have accommodation for 16 fire-fighters.
Schottel is providing two rudderpropellers type SRP 150 L fixed pitch (FP) thrusters, rated at 380 kW each with a propeller diameter of 1.10 m and a transverse thruster type STT 60 FP for each vessel, each rated at 100 kW and driven by an electric motor.
This thruster configuration provides the fireboats with free running speeds of 12 knots.
Rudderpropeller SRP 150 are equipped with Schottel’s new highly efficient SDC40 nozzle.
Emergency response and salvage unaffected by coronavirus crisis
Oil spillage response and salvage groups will remain ready to prevent pollution and shipwrecks despite global restrictions from the Covid-19 outbreak.
Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL) says its ability to mobilise people and equipment to tackle pollution will continue despite government restrictions. It has developed constantly evolving and country-specific plans for potential response activities.
In Singapore where it has a main base, the government has instituted additional restrictions on movements forcing OSRL personnel to work from home and hold a skeleton on-site crew for essential equipment maintenance.
However, OSRL is considered an essential service by the Singapore Government, enabling restrictions to be circumvented for critical activities.
Members of the International Salvage Union (ISU) are maintaining full service despite the coronavirus pandemic. Their services are affected by travel restrictions and vessel mobilisation. However, ISU president Richard Janssen expects salvors to work co-operatively to ensure emergency response cover.
“Salvors are nothing if not problem solvers and we have a track record of responding to incidents whatever the circumstances,” he says. “We will jointly work towards a situation whereby service can be maintained to our shipowner clients during the current difficult times.”
Separately, ISU’s salvage sub-committee and executive committee are considering using quantitative risk assessment (QRA) in wreck removal tendering. ISU will engage with the International Group of P&I Clubs to introduce this assessment and review the code of conduct for wreck removal.