In 2019, the German coast guard received three new customs vessels into its fleet. All three are fitted with twin MTU 8V 2000 M72 diesel engines from Rolls-Royce, which are renowned for their high power density, low power-to-weight ratio, ease of operation and maintenance, compact design and long maintenance intervals. Able to accelerate up to 22 knots – roughly equivalent to 41 km per hour – the vessels are ideal for high-speed pursuit of smugglers and other criminals. The customs administration had submitted an EU-wide invitation to tender for the three vessels and commissioned the Baltic Workboats shipyard to build them.
Luise Hoppe from communications management at the authority explained that by choosing MTU-brand engines, the customs agency has decided to stay with technology that it knows and trusts – the engine's optimal power-to-weight ratio in particular having a positive effect on other parameters such as speed and stability. In fact, numerous customs vessels are powered by similar MTU units: “We've already accumulated considerable experience of MTU-brand 2000 M72 engines, which power vessels such as the Usedom and Glückstadt, and were also retrofitted to our 28-m Priwall and Jade customs boats.”
In fact, a total of 16 MTU 2000 M72 units are in service in the customs authority's fleet. As Luise Hoppe explained: “Having this large number enables us to achieve a more cost-effective spare parts inventory. It also means consistent standards, so swapping around personnel, in particular technical personnel, is not really a problem.”
The three new coast guard customs vessels are 24 m long and 6.5 m wide, each weighing in at 57 tons and costing around 4 million euros to build over a period of eighteenth months. On the high seas, they will be maneuvered by 6-man crews.
The Bremen, the first vessel, was commissioned by the customs authority in March 2019 and is in service in the Outer Weser estuary and on the stretch of North Sea between Bremen und Wangerooge. In April, its sister vessel, the Gelting, was stationed in Flensburg, and patrols the Baltic from the Flensburg Firth down to the waters off the Kiel Firth, taking in the Bay of Gelting, after which the boat is named. By August 2019, the third vessel, the Darss, had rounded off the trio. The Darss takes over from the Usedom, now stationed in Rostock, patrolling the strip of coastal water between Bukspitze and Darsser Ort.