H i s t o r y

After the disaster with the tanker "BREAR" in 1993 on the Shetland islands, with an oil spill of 85.000 m3 of crude oil, the discussion started again about the permanent stationing of a salvage tug near the Dutch coast. In May 1994 following the report 'Safer Ships, Cleaner Seas' which included recommendations about stationing salvage vessels on strategic positions, a year later, in 1995 the Dutch Ministry of Transport decided to put a salvage tug, also called an Emergency Towing Vessel (ETV) on a permanent salvage station along the Dutch coast. The (main) purpose for deploying an ETV is to protect the marine environment, which included the vulnerable Wadden area.  This is reached by a quick and adequate response to (threatening) emergencies like e.g. a collision between a drifting vessel and an oil rig.

The Ministry of Transport invited the three big Dutch salvage company’s to investigate the possibilities An essential requirement of the Dutch ministry of Transport was that any tug concerned must have the capability of controlling a V.L.C.C. during a severe storm. In addition any company that is offering a tug must have a Salvage infrastructure available. The three Salvage companies SMIT, Wijsmuller and ITC set up a joint venture called SWI and reached a agreement with the government. They chartered the "SOLO" from Greenpeace and renamed her the “WAKER”. On the 12th of July 1995 both parties signed an agreement and on 15th of July 1995 the "WAKER" was on operation.

After inspection and repairs in dry-dock and the replacing of the Nylon-winch behind the accommodation, "WAKER" was ready for her new task. In her new Coastguard colors she was stationed in Den Helder for a period of 2˝ years. Den Helder was chosen because of the missing tug availability in the Northern part of the Netherlands Coast. Also in this part of the North Sea the Traffic Separation Schemes and Oil- and Gas platforms are close to each other.

At the end of 1997, after the "WAKER" had proven herself, the contract was renewed for a period of  5 years. ITC stepped out of the joint venture and SMIT and Wijsmuller formed SmitWijs Waker B.V. SMIT takes care of the operational management and Wijsmuller (later changed into SvitzerWijmuller) is taking care of the crew.

November 2006 SMIT decided to sell there 50% interest in SmitWijs to Svitzer-Wijsmuller. From now on SmitWijs was named Svitzer Ocean Towage, a 100% daughter of Svitzer-Wijsmuller . February 2007 the name SmitWijs Waker B.V. was changed in Waker B.V. under management of Svitzer Salvage.

On Monday evening September 7th, 2009, around 18:05hr the WAKER encountered an engine room fire while she was on patrol 5 kilometer North-West of Vlieland. For precautions the quests and a part of the crew was taken off the vessel while a small crew was left behind. Together with units from the Coast Guard, Navy, salvage companies and the Dutch lifeboat organisation the fire was suppressed. In the early morning of September 8th, the fire was extinguished and the vessel was towed to Den Helder.

A broken fuel line has been appointed as being the originator of the fire, also it became clear that outside the engine room the fire made a lot of damage which resulted in a "Total loss" of the vessel. On October 30th, the WAKER left Den Helder to be recycled at 's-Gravendeel.

The contract for an operational ETV will end on Januari 2014. Svitzer had to find a replacement for the WAKER. This was found in the IEVOLI BLACK, the vessel was recently delivered from the shipyard in her new Netherlands Coastguard livery end started her new job on the 25th of June 2010.

In the meantime a good replacement for the old WAKER had to be found, some of the original tasks could not be executed by the IEVOLI BLACK due to a lack of space and equipment. The owner of IEVOLI BLACK was building a new tug and during the building process additional space and equipment was added. The IEVOLI AMARANTH was newly delivered from the shipyard December 2012 and started her new career on the March 8th, 2013. The contract was extended till January 15th, 2016.

After a new round of tendering for a new long term contract, Multraship Ocean Towage B.V. won the contract. The contract has been signed for a period of 10 years starting on January 16th, 2016. Multraship will take over IEVOLI AMARANTH into bareboat charter and will rename her into GUARDIAN.

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© 2004, W.G. van der Veen.