Emergency towing of container ships to Rotterdam

19 December 2023

FFS Arion came to the rescue, when the container ship Longdawn was left adrift between Iceland and the Faroe Islands.


The container ship Longdawn suffered an engine failure between Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

Text: Sveinung W. Jensen, Tellus Kommunikasjon

- The boat had had its engine stopped. It was very far from shore, so under the prevailing conditions there was never any imminent danger to the boat or crew. But the shipping company that owns it asked for towing assistance via a British broker, says John W. Nilsen, general manager of FFS.

Longdawn is 129 meters long and was completed in 2013. The cargo ship, which sails under the Antigua & Barbuda flag, was on its way from Iceland to the Netherlands when it suffered engine failure in the North Atlantic.

- WHEN SUCH incidents occur, inquiries are often sent to several towboat companies, which operate seagoing towboats. After negotiations throughout the evening, we got the order, says Nilsen.

FFS Arion was located in Farsund, when the assignment was agreed. The crew quickly cast off and headed northwest.

- Our boats are always prepared for new assignments. From the time we get the green light until we sail, it should take a maximum of one hour, says Nilsen.

A PREPARATION This means, among other things, that the diesel tanks on board have been filled up.

- Geographically, we were probably the closest to the casualties. Nevertheless, the trip took three days. So there are large distances, says Nilsen.

When FFS Arion arrived at the container ship, it took a couple of hours to connect. Then the journey towards Rotterdam began. The weather was fair enough considering the area and the time of year, with wave heights of 3-5 meters below the link.

– THE TOW HIMSELF followed the messages fine. The weather was somewhat changeable en route, but on arrival in Rotterdam there was thick fog. As a result, there had to be a one-day waiting period before the container ship could be towed into the harbour, says Nilsen.

FFS Arion started from Farsund on 29 November and handed over the container ship on 10 December.

- We are always ready to help with emergency towing and salvage throughout Europe. In recent years, we have invested large sums in salvage equipment, so we are in every way well equipped for this type of operation, Nilsen points out.


Tugboat / 1993