German Navy Completes Acquisition of MV Werften Rostock Shipyard
The German federal government completed the acquisition of the former MV Werften shipyard in Rostock, proceeding with the plans to develop a naval arsenal at the site. The shipyard, which was the largest of the three yards in the failed MV Werften group, will largely be used by the German navy as part of the effort to modernize the German military, but portions of the yard might be leased for commercial work.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the German government announced plans to invest at least $100 billion into upgrading all parts of the military. At least $40 billion is earmarked specifically for the navy, with the new base at Rostock being one of the first elements of the plan. The new facility will be in addition to a base in Wilhelmshaven in western Germany on the North Sea. Rostock is located in the east on the Baltic. The Department of Defense said the new location would increase its operational flexibility and strength in the region.
Confirming that the contracts had been signed on July 7, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said, “Today is a historic day. With the purchase of the shipyard, the federal government is entering new territory. We are aware of the challenges that this undertaking entails. But I also see great potential, both for the Bundeswehr and for the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.”
Lambrecht highlighted the government’s views on the “poor material operational readiness of the Bundeswehr. Especially in the navy.” She said the addition of the new base at Rostock would address the lack of capacity and long idle times that had been prevalent in the navy. “With the acquisition, I see a great opportunity to significantly increase operational readiness for the marine sector.”
The government joined the bidding for the Rostock shipyard in June. While they declined to say how much the government was paying for the facility, the German media outlet NDR set the price at around €87 million ($88.5 million). Genting Hong Kong acquired the yard in April 2016, making significant investments at the site including $80 million for a new building hall and an advanced laser-hybrid welding line.
Christoph Morgen, the insolvency administrator for MV Werften, said that he understood the navy would immediately hire 40 people from the transfer company that had been established after the financial collapse of the company in January 2022. He said that there was immediate work to clean up at the yard to prepare it for its role as a maintenance and repair facility. They ultimately expect the yard to employ 500 civilian shipyard workers.
He told reporters that there are more than 17,000 tons of steel on the site, likely left from the efforts to begin assembly of the second Global Dream cruise ship. Work on the second cruise ship had started in late 2019, but Morgen recently said the steel and component parts such as engines that were already at the yard would be sold with the few blocks that had been completed for the cruise ship offered at scrap value.
The shipyard, which had been in business for more than 70 years, had built general cargo, bulker, container, and Arctic ships, including the Stena Don service and survey drilling rig as well as three offshore converter platforms, before MV Werften focused on cruise ships. The building dock is over 1,000 feet long with 260 feet covered. Ships with a deadweight tonnage of up to 200,000 dwt can be handled at the shipyard.
While the navy does not plan to undertake construction at the yard, government officials said they were discussing making parts of the 170-acre yard available for commercial activity. Discussions are ongoing with the offshore industry to use a portion of the space.