Emergency tugboat for protection of Borssele offshore wind farm

The Netherlands Coast Guard has a new emergency tug at its disposal since 1 January 2021. The Alp Ace managed by Multraship is located near the Borssele offshore wind farm in order to assist shipping in the event of an emergency.

Borssele is located off the coast of Zeeland and is now the largest Dutch wind farm at sea. In the event that a ship loses propulsion and drifts off towards a wind turbine, it is necessary that assistance is on site as soon as possible to prevent damage to the ship and the wind farm.

On behalf of the ministries concerned, the Coast Guard has been given a new ship. The tugboat is available 24 hours a day to prevent calamities and is strategically positioned near the Borssele wind farm. This is a stretch of the North Sea where there is a lot of shipping, partly because of the nearby ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam. In addition to its main task, the tugboat will also be able to carry out other Coast Guard tasks, such as search and rescue.

Alp Ace

The Alp Ace tugboat will temporarily be carrying out these tasks. Thereafter, an emergency tugboat will take on the task for a period of ten years. The Alp Ace will be temporarily managed by Multraship. The contract management will be done by the Rijksrederij.

Monitoring and research programme

To investigate the relationship between wind farms at sea and shipping safety, Rijkswaterstaat (the executive agency of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management) will carry out a monitoring and research programme over the next ten years. Among other things, this research programme will look at the effect of the safety measures taken, such as extra supervision and enforcement by the Coast Guard and the deployment of an emergency tugboat. It will also examine whether the current measures are adequate.

A shipping corridor has been included in the Borssele wind energy area. Vessels with a length of up to 45 metres may pass through this corridor under certain conditions.

Also read: Aeolus installs last turbine at Borssele III & IV offshore wind farm

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.