Unmanned lightship

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unmanned lightship named FS1

Under the name of unmanned lightship (UFS), three lightships are active in German waters. They are named FS1 , FS3 and FS4 , are operated by the Waterways and Shipping Authority Weser-Jade-Nordsee and deployed in shifts on two different lake positions.


In 1983 the unmanned lightships (UFS) were introduced. They are formally floating navigation signs that serve as a navigation aid for shipping by marking their own position .

In order to reduce the costs of operation and maintenance, the last manned lightships were replaced by automated and radio-controlled, unmanned lightships in the mid-1980s . In addition to a beacon , these ships also have measuring systems from the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency .

The first German, unmanned lightship named FS1 was built by the C. Lühring shipyard in Brake and put into service on August 8, 1983. Since the ship demonstrated good properties even in rough seas, three more unmanned lightships with the names FS2 (1986), FS3 (1986) and FS4 (1988) were built. All four lightships were identical in construction to allow interchangeability on the lightship stations. Each of the four ships cost between 3.5 and 4 million DM.

The lay-in period in the German Bight is one year each, followed by several months lay-in for overhaul in Wilhelmshaven , as mussel growth and ice drift require regular overhaul of the hull.

After the accident of the FS2 in the hurricane night on December 4, 1999 at the position " Elbe ", this lightship was not repaired and scrapped in 2005; since January 2000 the position has been marked by a light barrel instead . The original three positions in the German Bight have since been reduced to two positions:

  1. At 54 ° 10 ′ 48 ″  N , 7 ° 27 ′ 36 ″  E the position "Deutsche Bucht" (" German Bight ", abbreviation " GB ").
  2. At 54 ° 10 ′ 0 ″  N , 6 ° 20 ′ 48 ″  E the position “Tiefwasserweg Ems” (“ German Bight Western Approach ”, abbreviation “ GW-EMS ”).

Technical Equipment

UFS FS4 without
indication of the sea ​​position in Wilhelmshaven

The 26.00 m long ships have a draft of 2.70 m and a water displacement of 172 t. They are moored with a mushroom anchor of 1.8 tons. Two Faryman four-stroke diesel engines , each with an output of 11 kW, each operate a three-phase generator . The fuel supply is 18 tons and is sufficient for at least 10,000 operating hours (= 417 days). The lightships do not have their own propulsion system, but have to be towed when changing positions.

The fire carrier is designed as a tube at the top and an oval at the bottom. Platforms are attached to the fire carrier 10 m and 12.15 m above the base. A sound transmitter and test equipment from the Maritime Weather Office are installed on the lower platform . The sea ​​weather service in Hamburg uses the UFS to automatically measure wind direction and strength , air temperature and humidity , duration of sunshine and amount of precipitation . The measured values ​​are transmitted via the telecontrol system available on board for navigation purposes.

On the upper platform there is a double lantern with a mounted radar beacon and a lantern protection cage with an attached ring antenna for radio beacons or radio feed transmitters , with emergency lamps and some of the meteorological measuring devices. Shipwrecked people who have rescued themselves to a UFS find an accommodation room and a sea emergency call system. The deckhouse carries a rappelling platform for helicopters for rescuing castaways.


UFS FS3 at sea position GB

In addition to a main fire, the ships have a reserve fire.

  • Identifier generator: rotating screen
  • Light source: metal halide lamp
  • Luminaire: belt lens , 30 cm ø; 40.8 cm high (light source and lamp doubled)
  • Effective operating light intensity: 33782 candela
  • Fire height above water: 14.00 m
  • Range: 17 nm (31.5 km)
  • Identifier and return :
    • "GW / EMS" station: common mode, 8 s
    • Station "GB" (German Bight): common mode, 8 s

Web links

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