Svitzer’s IEVOLI AMARANTH is on long-term contract with the Dutch Coast Guard, so when Dutch and German forces held a joint exercise, you might say we played a part.

Joining the IEVOLI AMARANTH on 21 July 2014 in a joint emergency towage exercise were the German Coast Guard ETV’s (Emergency Towing Vessels) MELLUM, NORDIC and NEUWERK. The Dutch and German Coast Guard work closely together in defending the North Sea coastlines. For this exercise, the German Coast Guard chartered the Swedish car carrier OTELLO from Wallenius to play a central role in the exercise. 

The scenario of the exercise was as follows: the MV OTELLO is coming from the port of Bremerhaven and heading to its next port of destination. Following a crankcase explosion, the vessel is immobilised and suffers a blackout. The fire is fought successfully by the crew deploying the CO2 fire extinguishing system. Due to a heavy storm with inshore wind, the ship drifts towards the coast without engine and power supply. The anchors cannot be deployed, as gas pipelines cross the sea area. Towing is necessary to prevent the ship from stranding. Sufficient commercial tug assistance is not available within the given time, and harbor tugs cannot operate safely in the open sea due to the harsh weather.

Action began to unfold when the master of MV OTELLO called the German Bight VTS (Vessel Traffic Service) for tug-assistance. The MELLUM arrived at position 53°55´N 006°20´E. Next, a boarding team with equipment was transferred by helicopter in order to assist the crew in preparing a heavy towing connection to MELLUM. Due to the close position to the Dutch border, the Dutch ETV IEVOLI AMARANTH also proceeded towards the location to render assistance. Although it was raining, wind and sea conditions were favourable, and the IEVOLI AMARANTH was able to make a towing connection to the MV OTTELO within 20 minutes. The results of the exercise were very well received by all parties involved, and it is expected that similar exercises will be held in the future. Quite possibly, the IEVOLI AMARANTH may again play a part. While the Dutch Coast Guard contract is not related to our normal towage business, the IEVOLI AMARANTH and other Svitzer tugs are well suited for this kind of emergency towage, and other  similar government contracts around the world are being pursued.

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