Ship deliveries detour the pirates

The split hopper dredger 'Dravo Costa Blanca' is seen under naval escort as it sails from Spain to Fujairah.

The piracy threat around the Gulf of Aden has been in the news for quite some time, and continues to make headlines with every next incident that occurs. There are many cases where ship owners and maritime service providers, or their officers and crew, do all they can to prevent hijackings.

Preventive measures include alternative routes thousands of miles longer, just to stay clear of pirate activity, or careful planning and consultation to ensure escorts and other safety precautions. For ship delivery specialists Redwise of the Netherlands, staying safe has become a daily concern.

Going the extra mile, literally, is quite frequently the only option for Redwise. This is a particularly serious challenge, when the delivery involves small craft only built for harbour or coastal services. In recent delivery contracts, as many as five newly built tugs had to go the thousands of extra miles along alternative routes. The 32m harbour tug RT Rob had to cross two oceans on its 14,000 mile delivery voyage from Niigata in Japan via Honolulu and the Panama Canal to Bremerhaven in Germany.

Under the circumstances, Redwise, in close consultation with the owners to guarantee the safety of craft and crew, also opted for long alternative routes around Cape of Good Hope with a 24m tug from Haiphong in Vietnam and three 33m tugs from China, all destined for Europe.

For the delivery of the split hopper dredger ‘Dravo Costa Blanca’ from Huelva in Spain to Fujairah in the UAE, Redwise chose a different option. The voyage was carefully planned and prepared to obtain an escort through the Gulf of Aden by Dutch navy frigate ‘HMS De Zeven Provinciën’, which was participating in the NATO operation Allied Protector. A dredger, being relatively slow and with a low freeboard, is extremely vulnerable to pirate attacks. Thanks to Redwise' preparations, this split hopper dredger was safely delivered to the Emirates.

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