German yards continue to build small ships

New ‘Wirbeley’ is multi-purpose New ‘Wirbeley’ is multi-purpose

Just a few months after taking 'Uthlande' into service, German owner Wyker Dampfschiffs-Reederei (WDR) has taken advantage of an improved economic climate and interest rates to bring forward an order for a second double-ended ferry newbuilding, writes Tom Todd.

This time however Meyer Werft subsidiary Neptun Shipyard in Warnemünde will do the building and not the Sietas Werft in Hamburg. The reason for that, said WDR MD Axel Meynköhn, was because Neptun had offered the “best overall package”.

No details were revealed but unofficial reports said the new ship, to be named Schleswig-Holstein and for delivery in December 2011 will cost about €16 million. She will be almost identical to Uthlande, delivered in June, at 75.88m and she will boast four Voith-Schneider units of total 2,160kW providing 12 knots.

However, at 15.8m, Schleswig-Holstein will be a little narrower than the 16.4m wide Uthlande and also lighter than her 385 dwt sister at 370 dwt. The ships carry 75 cars and up to 1200 passengers, which is considerably more than WDR’s older ships, two more of which will now be replaced.

Meynköhn said a second ferry newbuild had always been on the cards. “Current lively competition in German shipbuilding and favourable interest rates prompted a decision to realise the project earlier than originally planned”, he said.

He added that Neptun, which has concentrated on luxury inland cruise ships in recent years, had a lot of experience with building passenger ferries and, like Sietas, also had a good reputation.

“We are pleased that we have been able to interest two such respected German shipyards in our projects. As with the first ferry, we decided on what was the best overall package for us”, he said adding “It makes sense for WDR to have its ships built in a German shipyard”.

Rhine pushboat/icebreaker

German shipping authorities on the Rhine have named and taken into service a new €1.7 million tug/push boat, which is designed not only for service in fast moving water but also as an ice-breaker in winter.

The 24.2m Wirbeley is 6.74m wide, draws 1.3m and is driven by 2 Iveco C13ENTM50 engines each of 279kW operating two fixed, five-blade propellers from Thies and providing a top trials speed of 22.4

knots. Bollard pull is 6kN and she displaces a maximum 890,000m3.

The newbuilding was built for the water and shipping authority (WSA) in Bingen by the Barthel Werft in Derben on the Elbe, some 250 miles across country in east Germany. Her trials were on the Elbe during her transfer journey from Elbe to Rhine.

Shipyard head Hermann Barthel told The Motorship that although built mainly for river barge push and tug service Wirbeley had been designed as an icebreaker and boasted strengthened outer hull plates and coatings. He said the boat’s shaft, gearings and engines had also been chosen with ice breaking in mind. She is classed GL +100 A5 IN(0.6) Ice +MC

Asked why such a distant yard had got the Wirbeley job, Bingen WSA office chief Martin Mauermann told The Motorship: “quite simply because it made the most economic offer in response to the invitation to tender”.

The yard does however already have a history of building boats for German shipping and waterway authorities including the WSA in Bingen.

It earlier built the smaller 15-16m long Spatz (Sparrow) class of workboats designed more for calmer river waters. In 2009 Barthel delivered the 20m pushboat St Goar to the WSA Bingen and was building three more of the same class of boats for other German water and shipping bodies as well as a dredger for the Weser as The Motorship went to press.

Sietas specialist ships

The Sietas Shipyard in Hamburg, now concentrating on special tonnage, was delivering two unusual ships this autumn – one a 54.48m ro-ro supply ship and the other a 118.47m hopper dredger.

The supply ship newbuilding Frisia V111 was for AG Reederei Norden-Frisia to meet increased demand for transport, notably of project loads, among Germany’s East Frisian islands. The 11m wide newbuilding draws 1.6m and is of 330dwt. She is driven by two Volvo Penta diesels each of 368kW at 1800 rpm and also has two 70kW diesel gensets.

Norden-Frisia MD Carl-Ulfert Stegmann said Sietas “made us a good offer whilst guaranteeing high standards of quality and a fixed delivery date”. However price was not revealed and an originally stipulated “summer” delivery date was also clearly not entirely adhered to, possibly because of full order books at a much-rejuvenated Sietas. It was also not clear why the ship was initially described as 68m long and 10.8m wide.

Frisia V111 is the owner’s response to a steadily growing need for transport capacity as well as “the rising demand for project cargo in the area of the East Frisian coast”. Stegmann added “looking ahead to the next few years, we believe freight volume will continue to rise”.

Stegmann said Frisia V111 was “a virtually identical newbuilding” to predecessor Frisia V11 with a bow door and hydraulically adjustable stern door in order to “flexibly accommodate heavy road vehicles and other rolling loads”. She also has anchor piles fore and aft so that she can be positioned independently of land fixtures.

The new Type 180a trailing suction hopper dredger Walter Möbius was undergoing tests as The Motorship went to press prior to delivery to the Hamburg hydraulic and port engineering company Möbius Bau. A second of the same type is for delivery in early 2012.

The dredger is 21m wide, draws 6.8m (dredging) and 5.7m (load line) for 9,800/6,100dwt. Dredging is to 22-30m and the vessel has a hopper capacity of max 8,000m3. She is driven by four unidentified diesel engines of about 1,630 kW (all MGO) and also has two electric motors each of 1,700 kW for propulsion. She reached a trial speed of 13 knots.

CEO Ruediger Fuchs said Sietas was “undergoing the transformation from a traditional shipbuilding operation into an industrial shipyard dedicated to the manufacture of special-purpose ships”.

That refers to changes at Sietas in 2009 when Fuchs and Ruediger Wolf were brought in to steer the troubled old family yard away from closure, successfully so far, by shedding jobs and concentrating on special tonnage.


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