German police targets small offshore wind vessels

Irregularities found on four workboats

Small vessels deployed in connection with offshore wind in the German North Sea were checked by police on 23 and 24 April, Emden's marine police has reported. The vessels were working in the coastal tidal flats of the Wadden area of the North Sea, off the mainland side of the island of Borkum.

Larger vessels are systematically checked at port. Now small craft under 500 gross registered tonnes, such as vessels used for crew and materials transfer, are also on the radar.

Irregularities were found on four small vessels flying non-German flags, one of them a floating work platform. They were working on seabed munition search and clearance in advance of electricity cabling being laid in the Osterems area for the Borkum Riffgat offshore wind station. Queries on a fifth vessel were lodged with the Hamburg company responsible for the work and subcontracting.

The police checked the vessels for compliance with safety rules, for the number and type of crew members and others on board, and for compliance with the Immigration Act. The report said none of the vessels could produce internationally recognised shipping safety certificates. Irregularities were found in the waste record books and 12 crew members were found to have illegally entered German coastal waters to work while holding tourist visas for the Netherlands.

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