Plans for another two German survey, wreck location and research ships are expected to be completed soon with tender invitations tipped for next year.

Karin Kammann-Klippstein, President of Germany’s Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) said her agency was keen to press ahead with modernisation of its fleet of currently five specialized ships. She was talking to maritime industry guests at a reception aboard the BSH survey, wreck and research flagship Atair in Hamburg.

Confirming the remarks, a spokeswoman said the BSH President had revealed it was now hoped to complete preliminary planning for the replacement of two further BSH survey, wreck and research ships Deneb and Wega by the end of the year. Kammann-Klippstein had also said the BSH was determined to follow that up with tender invitations for the two newbuilds during 2022, the spokeswoman told Maritime Journal.

Deneb and Wega, in service since 1990 and 1994, are both 52.05m x 11.40m. Their replacement has long been discussed and Berlin funding earmarked. However no technical details or propulsion and fuelling system preferences have been announced.

LNG must rank high since Atair, the largest ship in the current BSH fleet is billed as the world’s first LNG DF fuelled governmental research vessel. The 75m x 16.8m Atair entered service just last year.

Built by Fassmer, it is propelled by Wärtsilä 20DF and 6L20 engines.

In 2023 however Atair wilI be joined by the first of three 95m x19.5m multi-purpose newbuilds for Germany’s governmental Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV).

Those ships will be fuelled exclusively by LNG. They are being built at Abeking & Rasmussen in Lemwerder – the yard that pioneered German SWATH technology.

The first A&R newbuild is being followed by a second in 2024. They will replace emergency response ships in the North Sea and Baltic - the 56.1m Scharhörn and the 80.4m Mellum, built in 1974 and 1984.

Both are being delivered complete with LNG plant and will, like Atair, boast bow helicopter pads.

The third identical A&R newbuild, an option converted only last year, will be delivered in 2025, the WSV said. It will replace the currently 23 year old 78.9x18m multi-purpose pollution control ship Neuwerk and have specialised equipment which WSV said would greatly improve ship recovery capability.