Coastal protection policy

In case of an emergency to be on the spot within the shortest time

The task of an emergency tugboat is to help a damaged ship that has lost its manoeuvrability. It has to establish a towing connection and tow it so far or keep it in controlled drift against the wind and swell so that it does not run aground on shallows or strand. In this way, commercial salvage companies can then safely take over the damaged ship. Emergency tugs do not have the task of carrying out commercial ship salvage operations. Rather, emergency towing is the first action of the coastal state to ward off immediate dangers.

The German government’s emergency towing policy for the German coast ensures intervention times of less than 2 hours. An emergency tugboat will thus arrive within a short time at the scene of an accident in both the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. In order to achieve these intervention times, the German Federal Ministry of Transport has chartered private tugboats as a supplement to the federal multi-purpose vessels.

Stand-by positions in the North Sea

  • 12 sm north of Norderney
  • 5 sm southwest of Helgoland
  • 5 sm southwest of Süderoogsand
  • Kieler Förde berth
  • North of Hohwachter Bucht


Stand-by positions in the Baltic Sea

  • 5 sm north of Heilgendamm
  • Stationed at Warnemünde
  • Stationed at Stralsund
  • Stationed at Sassnitz


The positions are taken by the following vessels

  • The tugboat Nordic
  • The multi-purpose ship Mellum
  • The multi-purpose ship Neuwerk
  • The tugboat Bülk
  • The spillage incident vessel Scharhörn
  • The tugboat Baltic
  • The spillage incident vessel Arkona
  • The tugboat Fairpay-25