Minister’s visit

“A true success story”: Pistorius visits Warnowwerft shipyard

“A true success story”: Pistorius visits Warnowwerft shipyard

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On the morning of 21 September, Federal Minister of Defense Boris Pistorius visited the Warnowwerft shipyard in Rostock, one of the Naval Arsenal’s three garrisons. A good opportunity to look back to when the shipyard was taken over by the Federal Government over a year ago and also to take a look into the future.

A group of people walking by in front of a large crane.

Pistorius got a personal impression of the Warnowwerft shipyard during a tour

Bundeswehr/Dirk Bannert

The Naval Arsenal belongs to the area of responsibility of the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBwBundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr). Its mission is to ensure the operational readiness of the Navy. This includes not only conducting scheduled and unscheduled repair works but also planning and implementing product modifications to all Navy systems.

The right decision

The Warnowwerft shipyard came into operation in August 2022 and was officially inaugurated on 11 January 2023. Initially, the Federal Government’s decision to take over the shipyard was viewed rather critically by the public and the media. Today, the acquisition can already be regarded as a success. “It’s a true success story,” the Minister summed up the shipyard’s development since its acquisition in his press statement on site. Thanks to its geographic position and the capability buildup, this garrison of the Naval Arsenal makes a decisive contribution to the materiel readiness of the German Navy – also in view of the changed security situation. The shipyard is the only garrison of this kind at the Baltic Sea.

During his visit, Pistorius confirmed once again that it had been the right decision to buy the shipyard because so far hardly anyone had talked about building up the armed forces' own capabilities. According to Pistorius, it is crucial that “we as the Bundeswehr are self-sufficient” and “that we no longer depend on when a shipyard can execute our order.”

A dry dock for the Bundeswehr

Since the acquisition of the shipyard, the Bundeswehr has also got its own dry dock. As this results, for example, in shorter shipyard periods, naval vessels can be made combat-ready more quickly.

During the tour of the shipyard, the Naval Arsenal’s responsible personnel explained to the guest from Berlin the processes in the dry dock. This is where the “ex-Köln” is currently docked. Plans for this vessel include repair works to renew the vessel’s hull shell in certain areas as well as the protective bulkheads and the inside floors.

A group of people in a dock hall walking past a ship with scaffolding.

During the tour, the Minister could take a closer look at the work on the “ex-Köln”

Bundeswehr/Dirk Bannert

In the past year, a number of successful results were achieved. The team on site is specialized in the repair of German Navy vessels and, moreover, has already supported international allies. Two vessels of the British Royal Navy have already been repaired in the dry dock.

More than just a new garrison

After the shipyard was taken over, many of the former employees were willing to stay and to take on a new task. The majority of the employees come from the region, which makes the Bundeswehr an important local employer. In a personal address on site, Pistorius told the staff that 90 percent of the close to 500 posts were filled – an excellent outcome.

A number of people standing together, talking

With great interest Pistorius is following the discussion with the shipyard employees

Bundeswehr/Dirk Bannert

During the following discussion with the Warnowwerft team in the dock hall, the Minister had the chance to see for himself the employees' enthusiasm for the shipyard. Pistorius spent a lot of time talking to the employees – this was also to express his personal appreciation for their work: “This is why I will keep a kind and watchful eye on this garrison. It is especially important to me – and so are you.” He underlined that good and reliable work always required employees who really care.

The future of the southern section

In his press statement, Boris Pistorius also raised the topic of the presently unused southern section of the garrison: Its future use by potential investors has already been discussed, among others, with the Land of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and potential investors. A lease of 15 years is being considered. According to Pistorius, the basic agreement has already been developed and the contract negotiations are now underway. Leasing the southern section would also create new jobs, he said. That day, he claimed, was therefore a good day for the Bundeswehr, the Warnowwerft shipyard, for Germany’s energy policy and for the Land of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Owning a shipyard pays off

During his visit, the Minister did not only get to know the shipyard’s broad capability spectrum and the motivated team but, above all, a garrison that has established itself in the Bundeswehr – and far beyond. All in all, he was very satisfied with the results of his visit. The future plans, too, including the creation of Bundeswehr-own workshops, show the enormous potential of the Warnowwerft shipyard.

by Heike Westhöfer

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