-   The FAIRPLAY tugboats

The economic liberalzation in the European Union brought dutch habour tugs to Hamburg in the beginning of 1996. The following "Hamburg tug war" was triggered by the low prices made possible among other things by the 40 per cent wage subsidies payed by the dutch government. The "tug war" ended in 2002 when the European Commission ruled that the subsidies were illegal and had to be repaid. The "Fairplay Schleppdampfschiffs-Reederei Richard Borchard GmbH" in Hamburg soon had seen the liberalization not only as threat but also as opportunity. They founded the "Fairplay Towage BV" in Rotterdam in 1997 and ordered four tugs with an option for two more in Spain for use in Rotterdam in 1996:


-   Construction period

The four tugs were built at the shipyard Construcciones Navales Santodomingo in Vigo to a design of Aarts Marine BV in Amsterdam. The delivery of the first tug was planned for June 1997 but was delayed because of financial difficulties of the shipyard until February 1998. Afterwards the shipyard went bankrupt and FAIRPLAY 25 and 26 were buit at Astilleros Zamakona. Altogether Fairplay invested about 19 Mio. for the six new tugs. Before this order for new tugs all Fairplay Schottel-Rudderpropeller tugs were tractor tugs with the propulsion units beneath the bow. The new tugs were built as Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) tugs as they are not only meant for habour work but also for deep sea towage, escorting, terminal handling, and offshore work. Each of the four tugs has two Deutz-MWM SBA 8M 628 main diesel engines with 2,250bhp (1,646kW) at 1,000rpm each. The motors are coupled to Schottel rudderpropellers type SRP 1212 with fixed pitch propellers of 2.30 m diameter in Kort nozzles. The tugs have bulbous bows and Schottel STT bow thrusters with a thrust of 2.8tonnes (t). The tugs have a maximum speed of 13.5kts and a bollard pull of 52t. The bunker capacity of 220m3 gives the tugs a range of approx. 18 days. The tugs are prepared for installation of fire fighting equipment to FiFi1 standard at a later date. FAIRPLAY 25 und 26 were delivered in 2000. They differ from their predecessors mainly by having approx. 1,000bhp more engine output leading to a 15t higher bollard pull. They are equipped to FiFi1 standards.

-   Description
Main deck aft:

This is the working/towing deck. It is fitted with offshore-type cargo rails, providing a relatively safe area between rails and bulwarks. The hydraulic towing winch is a Brattvaag SL50-1T type. The winch has a split drum carrying 1,400m x 46mm steel wire on the deep sea drum and 110m x 46mm steel wire + 20m x 96mm fibre rope as stretcher + 20m x 46mm steel wire as pendant on the habour drum. The winch is fitted with tension control and has a pull of 50t at 16,5m/min and a brake force of 128t. To starbord a rope reel with a spare towing wire 1,400m x 46mm is located. A triple-pole towing bitt is fitted in front of the winch. The middle pole can be moved horizontally, to guide either the habour or deep sea wire. A Seebeck towing hook with 55t safe working load (swl.) is fitted for emergency use only. Two towing pins are fitted in the aft bulwark.

Main deck, foreward:

Here part of the accommodation is located: three double-berth cabins, accompanying sanitary space, galley, mess room, and storage rooms.

Forecastle deck:

It is located directly above the main deck. A hydraulic combined Brattvaag anchor and towing winch is fitted at the bow. This winch is used only in habour work so it has only a habour drum with the same specification as the winch on the towing deck. The deck house houses the two single-berth cabins of the master and chief. There is a third cabin which is described as hospital on the general arrangement drawing. The man-over-board (m.o.b.) boat and its Palfinger Marine launching crane are located at the aft end at the port side.

Bridge deck:

It is located approx. 1 m above the deck house roof. This additional space is used as battery and ventilation rooms. Two life rafts are fitted next to these rooms, one to starboard and one to port side. A U-shaped control desk is located at the foreward bulkhead of the wheelhouse. It houses a complete set of controls. A second control desk is fitted starboard aft in the wheelhouse with an unobstructed view of the towing deck. Motors, rudderpropellers, bow thruster and aft winch can be controlled from here. The communications desk is located on the port side aft. The safety equipment is according to the GMDSS A2 (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System Area 2)and contains Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) mobile phone, Inmersat-C phone and fax. Part of the eletronics are two Racal-Decca radar systems, autopilot, echosounder, electronic chart system, satellite navigation, and gyro compass.

Top deck:

The deck is divided in two parts. Part 1 is the roof of the wheelhouse with searchlights and the magnetic compass. Part 2 is a bridge between the two funnels. It carries the mast and one radar system. Two fire monitors may be installed here when necessary.


In habour work the tugs have a crew of three, in offshore work a crew of six people. Accommodation is provided for eight people.

-   Operations

The four tugs were used in Rotterdam from the beginning. FAIRPLAY 21 und 24 were handed to Smit Harbour Towage in long-term bare-boat charter soon after their arrival in Rotterdam. They are used in ship assistance in Europoort. FAIRPLAY 22 und 23 are stationed in Europoort too but are often used in offshore work and deep sea towage additionally. When Fairplay chartered-in FAIRPLAY 27 for use in Rotterdam, FAIRPLAY 22 was transfered to Hamburg in April 2006.

-   Particulars

Classification Germanischer Lloyd: + 100 A5 E1 M Tug + MC E1 Aut
Length o.a.: 34,75 m
Length between perpendiculars: 32,50 m
Breadth, moulded: 10,80 m
Draught (min/max): 04,60 m/5,00 m
Depth: 05,70 m
Volume: 496 gross tons
Load capacity: 310 tdw
Displacement: 650 t
Performance: 2 x 1.646 kW (2 x 2.250 PSe)
Speed: 13,5 kn
Bollard pull: 52 t

Reed's Tug World Review 1997/1998,
Website von Fairplay,
Lekko International 110

For photos in higher resolution please click the thumbnails!
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Fairplay 23 Fairplay 23
Fairplay 23: in Cuxhaven Fairplay 23: in action
Fairplay 24 Fairplay 24
Fairplay 24: ..berthing Fairplay 24: ..back from the job
Fairplay 24 Fairplay 24
Fairplay 24: bow view Fairplay 24: stern view
Fairplay 21 und 24 Fairplay 24
Fairplay 21 und 24: stern view in the Scheurhaven Fairplay 24: bow
Fairplay 24 Fairplay 24
Fairplay 24: port view superstructure Fairplay 24: port view bridge
Fairplay 21 und 24 Fairplay 21
Fairplay 21 und 24: bridges Fairplay 21: bow view bridge
Fairplay 24 Fairplay 24
Fairplay 24: bow view bridge Fairplay 24: stairs to the bridge with life raft
Fairplay 23 Fairplay 23
Fairplay 23: stern view superstructure with winch Fairplay 23: stern view bridge and mast
Fairplay 23 Fairplay 24
Fairplay 23: stern view bridge and mast Fairplay 24: bow view mast
Fairplay 23 Fairplay 24
Fairplay 23: stern view bridge Fairplay 24: work boat with davit
Fairplay 23 Fairplay 23
Fairplay 23: aft deck with pins Fairplay 23: aft deck with winches
Fairplay 23 Fairplay 24
Fairplay 23: towing winch with towing staple Fairplay 24: storage winch
Fairplay 24 Fairplay 21 und 24
Fairplay 24: bow winch Fairplay 21 und 24: ..in the Scheurhaven
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