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Premiere at the Hitzler shipyard

Caption: The Wallaby boat has been launched at the Hitzler shipyard

A wallaby boat was launched at the Hitzler shipyard in Lauenburg. It was the first time that a vessel of this size had been handed over to its owner.

The 18-metre-long newbuild is a crew transfer vessel, and a special one at that, as it glides through the water on skids. The principle was developed and patented by the Australian company Nauti Craft. This is the first time that a German shipyard has installed this system on a ship. It is also the first time that a ship of this size has been equipped with the Nauti Craft system[ds_preview].

The order to build the first German Wallaby boat was placed with the shipyard by Offcon from Kappeln. As Managing Director Harald Hübner reported on the occasion of the launch, the road between today’s launch and the initial idea had been a long one.

In 2015, Hübner had planned to build a high-performance offshore subsidiary. This was to be able to access offshore facilities even in heavy seas. To this end, he travelled to Australia and drove a demonstrator of a wallaby boat whilst there. As mentioned, the special feature of this type of boat is its hydraulic suspension system. This patented technology from the Australian company enables offshore wind farm employees to safely step onto a wind turbine even in high waves.

Stapelhub auf der Hitzler Werft
The Wallaby boat has been launched at the Hitzler shipyard

Skid concept introduced from Australia

After Harald Hübner saw and learned about this concept, he wanted to build such a vessel under license in Germany. It took four years before he was able to sign a license agreement with the Australians.

Once it was signed, the planning could begin. It turned out that there would not be enough space for the technology that was to be housed on the originally planned 14 m length. The ship was, therefore, planned to be four meters longer and converted from a Daughter Craft (DC) to a Crew Transfer Vessel (CTV). Once the design for the ship, which was financially supported by the WTSH, was finalised, construction could begin in 2020. But first Harald Hübner had to find a shipyard, which turned out to be difficult as no one wanted to take on the risk of such a project. Until Hitzler Werft was found and agreed.

Hitzler Werft is “on fire”

As Eike Höper, Managing Director of Wallaby Boat GmbH, said at the launch, the Managing Directors of Hitzler Werft, Marek and Kai Klimenko, were “on fire when they were asked”. Höper expressly thanked the two shipyard bosses, “without them we wouldn’t be standing here today”, he said. He also expressly thanked all the companies involved in the construction of this ship, such as Hydac, which supplied the hydraulics for the suspension system. His thanks also went to EnBW. The energy company chartered the ship. If EnBW had not had the courage to take on such a project, the stack lift would not have been possible, said Höper.

Today’s stacking lift marks a major milestone in the construction of the innovative crew transfer vessel. And the next one is coming soon. The christening ceremony will take place on April 22 in Kappeln, the headquarters of Offcon and Wallaby GmbH. The EnBW newbuild will then be christened “Impulse” before it can begin its first deployment in an offshore wind farm of the Baden-Württemberg energy group.

Hitzler Werft
Harald Hübner (front right) thanked all those involved in the project

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