Werra: a ship with special capabilities

April 27, 2020 (Google Translation) – Since the end of January the “Werra” tender has been the new flagship of the Aegean NATO support mission. The main task of the tender is the development of the situation and the exchange of information between the Greek and Turkish coast guards in order to prevent smuggling activities. The “Werra” serves as the command platform and operations center of the embarked multinational staff of the 18th contingent under the command of the association leader Captain Thomas Hacken.

With part of its permanent task force 2, NATO ensures the support mission in the Aegean Sea. This has the task of contributing to a complete picture of the situation in the Aegean. The ships are not mandated to take action against refugees, smugglers or smugglers. Rather, they use educational tools to create transparency about the actions of people smugglers. Bringing migrants to an EU country is also not one of the tasks of the association.

The association is used in the Aegean Sea, which is the sea area between the Turkish and Greek mainland. The ships used come from Greece, Turkey and Germany. According to the decision of the NATO Council on February 25, 2016 – as well as on the basis of close coordination between the participating states – the ships have also been navigating the Greek and Turkish territorial waters in the designated areas of operation since March 7, 2016. Turkish and Greek naval forces are not deployed in the territorial waters of the other country.

Up to six NATO ships are currently participating in the association, although the composition of the ships can change on a daily basis. Sea captain Thomas Hacken, the commander of the task force in the Aegean Sea, uses the tender “Werra” as his lead ship and is also the contingent leader of the German contingent.

Werra alongside in Souda Bay.

The “Werra” is one of six supply ships of the same type for the German Navy. The main task of a tender is the maritime logistical support of boats whose sea endurance is limited due to their size. The tender can also be used as a leadership and training platform. Furthermore, depending on the personnel and material equipment of the tender, medical service at sea is also possible.

The tender is characterized above all by its long sea endurance and its shallow draft. This enables it to remain in the field for a long time and also to operate in shallow coastal waters. The specialty of a tender is that it can be specially prepared and equipped for different tasks. For this purpose, the required sea containers are set up on board in a modular design – telecommunication and medical containers or those that are especially suitable for staff work on board. In this way, a boat can also ensure the management and support tasks for a NATO unit and also supply the unit. According to the German definition, the tender is actually a boat – one only speaks of a ship if there are two disciplinary levels on board.

The logistical support at sea, also called replenishment at sea , serves to extend the sea endurance of a unit or an entire association. The tender supplies other units with fuel, ammunition, spare parts, groceries and water – all of this at sea while the boat is in motion. Another variant of the supply at sea is the Coastal Supply Point. During this maneuver, the tender is at anchor and is controlled by the units to be supplied. The tender thus serves as a kind of “hardware store at sea”. Due to the relatively large flight deck, even larger helicopters can land on the tender. You can also get the material off board from the air.

In addition, like every naval unit, the tender has a commercially available navigation radar, which is used for safe nautical navigation and the development of the situation at sea. Mainly for self-defense, the tender is armed with two naval light guns caliber 27 millimeters. All in all, the “Werra” is well equipped to take on the role of lead ship for the Aegean NATO support mission for the next few months – before returning to her home country in Germany.

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