The syndicate ARGE Küstenschutz wins three tenders by the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration for the North Sea, Baltic Sea and the Elbe

08 Apr 2022 13:06 Economy

For the first time, the section between Brunsbüttel and Hamburg’s federal state border of the highly frequented river Elbe will be secured by means of a permanently present tugboat

ARGE Küstenschutz, which is part of the Fairplay Towage Group, is overjoyed to have won a total of three tenders by the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration (Wasserstraßen- und Schifffahrtsverwaltung des Bundes, WSV) in March. The emergency tugboats “Nordic” for the German Bight and “Baltic” for the Baltic Sea that are operated under the German flag, allow for the organisation’s successful operations to be continued seamlessly from July 2022. The syndicate also won the first-time tender for a permanently present tugboat for the Elbe.

It may be connected to the huge container vessel “Ever Given” running aground in the Suez Canal in strong wind almost exactly a year ago and the ever bigger container vessels of the megamax class operating on the federal waterway Elbe that the Elbe-North Sea Waterways and Shipping Office (WSA Elbe-Nordsee) drafted an invitation to tender for a permanently present tugboat in late 2021. The tender called for a permanently present tugboat to harbour in Stade-Bützfleth that must be available 24/7, and able to take off on a mission within 15 minutes. “From our fleet of more than 100 tugboats, the FAIRPLAY-35 was the perfect choice to match the required profile,” says Philip-Alexander Harmstorf, one of the Managing Directors of the Fairplay Towage Group. “We are very proud that based on winning this third tender by the WSV, we will be providing the FAIRPLAY-35 as a permanently present tugboat on the Elbe from 1 April 2022.” The Brunsbüttel-Elbe traffic control centre will hold mission command and the right of instruction for the FAIRPLAY-35 on behalf of the WSV Elbe-North Sea.

The chartered emergency tugboats “Nordic” and “Baltic” operate based on the emergency tow vessel concept that was put into effect by the federal government in 2001. To ensure that a damaged ship can be reached within no more than two hours, multi-purpose vessels operated by the federal government itself, are stationed in strategically selected locations along the German coasts of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea (Mellum, Neuwerk, Scharhörn and Arkona), in addition to the emergency tugboats Nordic and Baltic that are operated by Arge Küstenschutz and chartered by the federal government. An additional land-based towing assistance team* of four is available for the Nordic in the German Bight and the Baltic near Kühlungsborn, and can be winched down aboard a damaged vessel from a helicopter in case of an emergency, to ensure a safe towing connection.

Awarding of the assignment by the shipping authority means that the Nordic will continue its service on the North Sea from 1 January 2023 and the Baltic on the Baltic Sea from 1 July 2022 for at least another six years each, with an option to extend the contracts by another two years. This is also great news with regard to training under the German flag. In addition to its regular crew, up to ten ship mechanic apprentices and a training officer were aboard the Nordic on a regular basis in the past. The Fairplay Towage Group is the second biggest training provider in German maritime shipping and has received an award from the professional training association “Berufsbildungsstelle Seeschifffahrt e.V.” for its excellent training programme. “This is a concept for success that we are going to continue seamlessly, to keep setting industry standards with Fairplay’s training quality in the future,” says Holger Schwesig, who is also a Managing Director of the Fairplay Towage Group. He continues: “It is not uncommon in our fleet that staff members start as ship mechanics and move on to become captains.”

The permanently present tugboat for the Elbe was commissioned by the WSV for an initial term of one year, with an option to extend the term by another six months.

*A towing assistance team usually comprises four seafarers that are specially trained for work on vessels that are unable to manoeuvre or deserted.

Photo: free of charge, Source: Fairplay Towage

Caption: All three emergency tugboats sail under the German flag

Profile of the Nordic:

Length: 78.00m

Width: 16.40m

Draught: 6.00m

Bollard pull: 201t

Speed: 19.9kn

Profile of the Baltic:

Length: 61.36m

Width: 15.00m

Draught: 6.00m

Bollard pull: 127.2t

Speed: 17kn

Profile of the FAIRPLAY-35:

Length: 37.00m

Width: 14.00m

Draught min./max.: 5.20/6.70m

Bollard pull: 103t

Speed: 13kn

The shipping company FAIRPLAY TOWAGE is among Europe’s leading tugboat operators. We manage our activities from Hamburg and our branch offices in Rotterdam, Antwerp, Bremerhaven, Rostock, Szczecin, Świnoujście and Gdynia. Our experience is based on far more than 100 years of company history. I addition to port towage services, we are active around the world in the area of towage as well as in offshore and salvage operations.

FAIRPLAY is a globally active long-distance towage operator with many years of experience in the oil and gas industry in West Africa, Europe and off the Angolan coast. Our syndicate ARGE Küstenschutz is a reliable partner of the federal government in the context of the national emergency tow vessel concept and pollution control off the German coasts. We are reliable partners for moving oil rigs and jack-up rigs as well as for FPSO support (Floating Production Storage and Offloading Units).

Online: or the page that has not been updated yet

Online content by WSV about emergency tugboats and prevention of sea damage:;jsessionid=A3785E708C813AE85DB5C74C4E05624C.live11291

Online content by WSV about the Elbe:

ARGE Küstenschutz gewinnt mit Nordsee, Ostsee und Elbe drei Ausschreibungen der Wasserstraßen- und Schifffahrts-verwaltung des Bundes

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