The Danish shipping company DFDS and Volkswerft Stralsund held a ceremony for newbuild no. 500: On the fitting-out quay at the shipyard the special-purpose Ro/Ro vessel was named Ark Germania by Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, German Federal Minister of Education and Research, in the presence of 150 invited guests.
In the weeks following the naming ceremony Volkswerft will continue the work on the “Roll on - Roll off Cargo” special-purpose vessel. It is scheduled to be delivered to DFDS, one of the biggest shipping companies in Northern Europe, in the fourth quarter of 2013. The shipbuilding work on the hull and the superstructure of the sister ship (new-build no. 501), which is in the assembly hall at the Volkswerft, is largely finished.
Peder Gellert Pedersen, Executive Vice President DFDS, said in the course of the naming ceremony, “I would like to thank everyone who believed in this project. The Ark Germania is the result of several years of close collaboration between the German and Danish military, and of the military with DFDS. This ship is a good example of the close connections between our two countries. At the same time it is also an example of what it means when good connections on an operational level in the respective armed forces are supported and developed on a political level. There is much talk about economic collaboration between the public sector and private companies. This ship is a good example of how such collaboration can succeed. And we hope to be able to develop this cooperative venture to the advantage of all the partners involved.”
The day of the naming ceremony took place during the closing stages of the construction of the Ro/Ro vessel. The interior furnishing is currently being carried out, then the nautical and engineering systems and equipment will be checked and tested. This will be followed by the overall commissioning, which will include a final sea trial.
At the beginning of 2013 Berthold Brinkmann (Brinkmann & Partner), Administrator at P+S Werften, again signed the contract with DFDS for the two structurally identical special-purpose transporters. During the naming ceremony he said, "I would especially like to thank the shipping company DFDS for the confidence they have shown in Volkswerft Stralsund with this order. The team worked intensively from January to August on this first ship, which is already well under way, and in doing so we have cooperated closely with the DFDS construction supervisors. The collaboration was characterized by an open exchange with DFDS regarding all challenges during the construction phase, and hence also by further development on the part of the shipyard. The construction of the second vessel, which is scheduled for handover to DFDS in the first quarter of 2014, is already running in parallel."
Berthold Brinkmann also thanked the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and the Federal Government, which provided funding in November 2012 to ensure vessels can be built at Volkswerft throughout this year too.
Following the welcoming speech, German Federal Minister Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka sent a bottle of champagne crashing against the ship and officially christened it with the name Ark Germania. Then the German and Danish national anthems were played. In well established tradition, the “godmother” handed the champagne bottle neck to Henrik Hessellund, captain of the Ark Germania.
The “Roll on – Roll off Cargo” special purpose transporter has a length of 195 meters, a container capacity of 342 TEUs, and a load capacity of 3,000 lane meters, on which up to 185 HGVs can be transported. The special-purpose ship is scheduled to be deployed on the international freight route service. In addition to its actual usage as a Ro/Ro ship, the new vessel will also be made available to the Danish armed forces and German army as and when required, for so-called "secured commercial strategic marine transportation" purposes. Germany and Denmark have been cooperating in the domain of strategic military transportation at sea since 2006.
DFDS was founded in 1866 and is today one of the leading shipping companies in Northern Europe with a network of 25 routes and with 55 vessels in the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel.