The vessels of the DGzRS (German Lifeboat Association) put to sea to safeguard human life the instant that danger threatens. Three new 28-meter search-and-rescue craft are now planned to assist in this vital work. These are the successors to the 27.5-meter Berlin Class vessels which have been in service for almost 30 years. The new boats are powered by two MTU 16V 2000 M72 engines producing a combined output of 2,880 kW and capable of taking them up to a top speed of 24 knots (around 45 kph). The new DGzRS search-and-rescue vessels will be responsible for helping to ensure the safety of shipping in the German areas of the North Sea and the Baltic.
One of the outstanding features of the MTU 16V 2000 M72 engine is its ability to carry on operating even when the vessel is listing badly. This vital capability is made possible by the Rough Kit facility which incorporates an extra-deep oil pan with special-purpose bulkheads, a modified crankcase breather system and specially adapted engine control. Rough Kit is already in operation on MTU 8V 2000 units in service with KNRM, the Dutch Lifeboat Institute. The new DGzRS search-and-rescue vessels will also be equipped with MTU’s Blue Vision New Generation automation system which reliably monitors vessel propulsion systems in heavy seas and at extreme angles of list. MTU automation systems are well-known in marine applications and are already in service on operational search-and-rescue vessels such as the 36.5-meter Harro Köbke which is equipped with MTU’s Callosum system.
Search-and-rescue boats are constructed to cope with extreme conditions and are designed to be self-righting; if they capsize, they can right themselves automatically. The new 6-meter wide boat has a 2-meter draught and is designed for a crew of four. Typically for search-and-rescue vessels, it has space in its stern compartment for an 8-meter auxiliary craft. “MTU engines which can continue to run, even when the vessel is listing heavily, are particularly well-suited for marine search-and-rescue operations. They are frequently called on to put to sea in bad weather and in conditions which have other vessels running for port“, said Alfred Schinck from the MTU Hamburg Sales section.
The first 28-meter search-and-rescue vessel is scheduled for handover and official christening in summer 2015, marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of the DGzRS. The boat will be based at the Amrum lifeboat station in the very busy German Bight area off the Danish/German/Dutch coasts. The DGzRS currently operates 20 search-and-rescue vessels, 16 of which are powered by a total of 27 MTU Series 396 and Series 4000 engines.