German yard plans to boost repair capacity

Elsflether Werft is expanding downstream Elsflether Werft is expanding downstream

The creation of a new North German ship repair and conversion hub with up to two floating docks is planned in Brake on the Weser after the leasing there of an old shipyard site, writes Tom Todd.

Reports said the small Elsflether Werft was planning the hub to expand capacity after taking out a 15 year lease on the four hectare Brake site and securing a pre-emptive option to buy. The site used to be occupied by the Lühring Shipyard.

Brake is about 11 kms downstream and on deeper water than the restricted existing shipbuilding and repair location at Elsflether Werft. A second hub in Brake would mean the Elsfleth yard could handle ships that are currently too big for it.

The Elsfleth yard has three slips of up to105m length for a maximum ship weight of 2,150 tons as well as a 420m pier and craneage. But because it has no docks of its own it leases dock space elsewhere, frequently at  the BREDO Shipyard in Bremerhaven. It is currently carrying out extensive repairs there on the veteran German Navy sail training ship Gorch Fock. The work is expected to last into 2019.

The Elsflether Werft specialises in the repair, maintenance and conversion of special ships and workboats, big yachts and naval and passenger vessels. Board Member Klaus Wiechmann is on record as telling Brake officials the new site had “great potential” with space for one or even two floating repair docks and a ship lift which some reports have suggested could be a 100m long synchro lifting facility. Wiechmann is reported to have said that ship section building or pre-fabrication was also a possibility in Brake in future..

It was reported earlier this year that life was already starting to return to the derelict Brake site following the Elsfleth lease, with several maritime-related concerns settling and about 30 people in work. Wiechmann was quoted as telling local media that if plans for the new repair hub work out, then a further 40-80 jobs could be available within a relatively short time.

The Elsflether Werft  points to its longstanding reputation as a one-stop shipyard bundling all the skills needed for repair and conversion from steel construction, pipe laying and engineering to carpentry and electrical expertise.

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