New wave

For more than 80 years Schiffswerft Diedrich has built and repaired ships in the Ems-Mündung region of north-western Germany. Established in the 1920s by Julius Diedrich the company grew from a small team of shipbuilders to more than 100 employees by the 1980s, under the direction of Julius’ son, Günter Diedrich. During this time the company built passenger vessels with a maximum length of 50 metres for use in the shallow waters between the coast and islands of Ostfriesland, as well as small coasters up to a maximum length of 80 metres.

Although Schiffswerft Diedrich enjoyed substantial success during this time, the introduction of new yards in East Germany and Eastern Europe meant that the company faced increased competition in the market. As a result the business fell into insolvency towards the end of the 1990s. However, today the company is in a much stronger position, which in part may be due to its close proximity to Ostfriesland, as this has enabled it to retain a prominent presence in the repair and rebuild market of ferries and cargo ships in this region. As a result, Schiffswerft Diedrich has in-house expertise in enabling these ferries to meet market demands profitably, as well as remaining up to date with the stricter European Union safety regulations for this market.

The company also offers new build services for small passenger vessels up to a maximum length of 50 metres, small freighters for shallow water up to 70 metres in length, and crew boats for offshore service reaching lengths of 30 metres. Schiffswerft Diedrich designs all of these vessels in-house, with the exception of the crew boats, which are designed by Gavin Mair at Global Marine Design. Prior to and during the design process Schiffswerft Diedrich works closely with its clients to establish their specific requirements for the vessel.

Having made a name for itself with the ferry companies operating in the difficult intertidal waterways off the Ostfriesland coast, many of Schiffswerft Diedrich’s key clients today are passenger vessel companies such as AG Reederei Norden Frisia, Schifffahrt Langeoog, and Baltrum-Linie. After a period of inactivity in this area, Jens Schädler, managing director of Schiffswerft Diedrich, elaborates upon the company’s most recent new build project – ‘WIND FORCE I’: “Discussions for this project began in 2007, when we were approached by AG Reederei Norden Frisia for a new crew boat. In 2009 the building work began, in line with the hull design and material package developed by Gavin Mair at Global Marine Design. This was our first new build project in 14 years, and so it was a good foundation for the business to design, construct, and complete a ship down to the last certificate. Up to now ‘WIND FORCE I’ is the one and only completely certified crew boat under the German flag for international traffic, which is a real boost for the business.”

Whilst Schiffswerft Diedrich’s return to the new build market is a welcome development for the business, the company has built a strong reputation in the rebuild and repair sector. One example of Schiffswerft Diedrich’s capabilities in this area is the Ditzum passenger and car ferry, which commutes between the Ostfriesish towns of Ditzum and Petkum, and was recently rebuilt by the company to a very high standard. In delivering any of these services, the company’s machine shop forms the backbone of the shipyard. As a result, Schiffswerft Diedrich has invested in modern equipment and machinery, such as the replacement of the company’s entire slipway in 2003, with a new structure capable of taking ships of up to 70 metres in length, 14 metres in breadth, and with draughts of up to 2.5 metres.

Being a smaller shipyard, Schiffswerft Diedrich is able to be flexible in accommodating changes at short notice, as well as ensuring that vessels are delivered on schedule to clients. The company also has an expert knowledge of the complex European Union safety regulations, and vitally, how to comply with these specifications without losing sight of budget. With a well qualified and experience machine shop team behind it, Schiffswerft Diedrich can assure its customers of the highest quality rebuild and repair works.

Although Schiffswerft Diedrich has faced some challenges in the past, the successful completion of the ‘WIND FORCE I’ project puts the company in a stronger position going forwards. Describing his thoughts on the future of the business, Jens concludes: “As a repair yard Schiffswerft Diedrich stands in a good position for 2011, and this ties in with the success of ‘WIND FORCE I’. However, unfortunately at present the activities of the shipyard are limited by the fact that there are no rules for the offshore service on the part of the flag administration in Germany. Despite this, over the next five years we are looking to gain further orders for new crew boats after clearing the latest German new build regulations. We also believe that now is an ideal time to build some new passenger vessels for the next generation of shallow water services. In addition to this, the existing passenger vessel fleets will be updated and maintained by our expert staff.”

More than 80 years experience in vessel construction and repair

Highly experienced expert workforce

Delivered new build vessel ‘WIND FORCE I’