After the accident involving the general cargo ship Pallas in autumn 1998, the German government developed a national emergency towing policy. The aim is to ensure that tugboats can reach ships involved in accidents as quickly as possible by strategically positioning them along the German North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts. This emergency towing policy, which came into force in 2001, is based on tugs owned by the German government as well as privately operated tugs which are chartered to the government.
To ensure that the German coast is best protected in the event of accidents at sea, our two tug shipping companies BUGSIER and FAIRPLAY TOWAGE 2001 joined forces in the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Küstenschutz coastal protection group. For safety reasons, the German government requires that if an emergency tugboat is not available (e.g. due to maintenance) an equivalent replacement must be provided as quickly as possible. For this, cooperation between the fleets was indispensable. Together we won the German government’s tender for private providers for the provision of emergency tugs and boarding teams for the North Sea and Baltic Sea. Since then we have chartered our tugs to the German government.
After the takeover of the BUGSIER shipping company by FAIRPLAY, since November 2017 all of the tugs previously operated by Arbeitsgemeinschaft Küstenschutz coastal protection group have been operated under the umbrella of the FAIRPLAY TOWAGE GROUP. Together we employ more than 750 people. As an affiliated group with shareholdings, we have a total of around 100 tugs – 10 of which are specially equipped fire-fighting tugs with 2,000 to over 20,000 hp and bollard pulls of between 25 and 200 tonnes. In addition to the fleet of sea-going tugs, we also operate special ships such as oil spill control vessels.
The most important thing besides powerful tugs are experienced crews, especially during emergency towing operations. Our crews therefore include dockers, salvage divers, salvage inspectors as well as oil and fire fighters in addition to technically competent crews. The technical know-how of our employees is thus very diversified.
Currently, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Küstenschutz coastal protection group is providing the German government with the emergency tug Nordic in the North Sea (201 tonnes bollard pull, stationed off Norderney) and the emergency tugs Baltic in the Baltic Sea (127 tonnes bollard pull, stationed at Warnemünde), the Fairplay-25 (65 tonnes bollard pull, stationed at Sassnitz) as well as the oil recovery vessel Kiel (located in Kiel).
This special tug was built in 2009 at the former Peene dockyard in Wolgast. It has been chartered out to the German Federal Ministry of Transport for an initial period of 10 years for emergency towing work off the German North Sea coast. The German government’s own emergency towing capacities have thus been decisively strengthened. With over 200 tons of bollard pull and a speed of more than 19.5 knots, the Nordic belongs to the top class of these special ships. It is the first emergency tug in the world to be approved for use in hazardous atmospheres, operating independently of outside air. This can also help damaged ships in which toxic or explosive substances escape.
The crew of 16 includes a four-strong boarding team. In addition, up to 10 ship’s mechanic trainees with a training officer can be taken on board. The Nordic’s home port is Cuxhaven. Every three weeks the two regular crews take turns there and take provisions, fuel etc. on board for the next three-weeks of readiness at sea.
The Baltic was built at the Spanish Astilleros Armon dockyard in Vigo and was chartered out to the German government in 2010 for an initial period of 10 years. With well over 120 tonnes of bollard pull and a speed of more than 16.5 knots she is the strongest emergency tugboat stationed in the German Baltic Sea.
The crew of 8 consists of a captain, 1 nautical officer, 2 technical officers, 2 ship’s mechanics and 2 sailors. The Baltic’s home harbour is Warnemünde. The crew is changed every 14 days. Provisions and fuel are taken on board as required.
The keel for this salvage tug was laid in 1999 at the Spanish shipyard of Astilleros Zamakona S.A. In 2001 it was taken over by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Küstenschutz coastal protection group. The FAIRPLAY-25 is equipped with various special equipment as specified by the client. These include, for example, daylight radar, DGPS (differential global positioning system), electronic nautical charts, VHF radio direction finders, VHF radiotelephones, InMarSat telephones, etc.
The crew of 6 consists of a captain, 1 nautical officer, 2 technical officers and 2 ship’s mechanics. The FAIRPLAY-25’s home harbour is Sassnitz. The crew is changed every 14 days. Provisions and fuel are taken on board as required.