Oil spill workhorse back in service

Specialist Vilm gets class extension Specialist Vilm gets class extension

The multi-purpose oil-recovery ship 'Vilm' has been given a clean bill of health after class renewal at Hamburg’s Norderwerft, writes Tom Todd.

The 48.5m x 10.20m Vilm, now 20 years old, left Norderwerft  late June after what Dirk Baake, a specialist with Germany’s Havariekommando in Cuxhaven, told Maritime Journal was a routine visit for five-year class renewal. He said ship, engines and equipment were checked for operational safety, and added corrosion protection work as well as routine repairs were also carried out during drydocking.

The Havariekommando is responsible for oil combat and recovery operations along Germany’s 2,389 kms long North Sea and Baltic coastline running from The Netherlands to Poland, and for the deployment of vessels on behalf of the German Government and its states.

Vilm is one of 25 vessels of various types listed by the  Havariekommando as available for service – nine for Baltic and 16 for North Sea operation. Some of the ships belong to the federal states while others are government-owned. Vilm is one of the listed Baltic service ships and has been managed out of Rostock in eastern Germany by Bitunamel Feldmann since it was built 1999.

The Rostock region boasts several front-running ship repair facilities of its own but the 590gt, 12 knot Vilm sailed several hundred kms from Rostock through the Baltic and Kiel Canal to dock in Hamburg for its latest class renewal. Asked about that choice of yard, Dirk Baake said contracts were usually decided for economic reasons and often also had to do with available yard capacity.

Vilm is a multi-purpose work horse drawing maximum 2.8m and suitable as a diving base and for research and wreck-raising operations as well as for oil recovery. It is propelled by two Cummins KTA 19-M3 main engines each of 447kW. Manoeuvrability is described as excellent because of its two Kamewa Aquamaster rudder propellers and Schottel SPJ 57 T Pumpjet bow thruster. Also on board are a Cummins 4 BT 50kW diesel generator and extensive pumping gear. Deck equipment includes two Palfinger hydraulic cranes with 8.1m outreach and the ship has 50 m2 of free deck space and room for five 20ft containers making it also suitable as a bunker vessel.

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