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The Logistics Of Launching Anthem Of The Seas

As we all wait patiently for the arrival of Royal Caribbean’s latest Quantum class vessel, Anthem of the Seas, there’s time to reflect on the logistics behind launching such a mammoth ship. When the operator chose the Meyer Werft shipyard as the place where Anthem was to be built, they would have been well aware of the planning needed once the ship was completed. However, knowing about it doesn’t make it any less of an almighty task.

The Meyer Werft shipping yard is uniquely situated in that it is found 20 miles inland, on the outskirts of the German town of Papenburg. This is so that it is protected from conditions on the North Sea coast, but means that every ship built here needs to be transported along the river Ems before it can sail off into the sea. Here is everything that had to be considered during a process known as conveyance, which was carried out on the 10th March.

Precise Preparation

Anthem of the Seas

It is difficult enough when dealing with a standard-sized vessel, but when manoeuvring all 168,000 tons of Anthem the stakes are raised even higher. There is no room for error during the exercise, as the clearance between obstacles along the way is very, very little. For example, when the ship exited the shipyard and attempted to navigate the Papenburg Lock, there was absolutely no clearance as the vessel brushed past specially designed rollers to prevent it from scraping the sides.

Planning for the conveyance of Anthem started much before the ship was on the move though, as there are a number of conditions that had to be in place before the green light was given. The organisers had to choose a day on which there was either a full or new moon so that the tides were at the right level. They also had to ensure that the wind speed wasn’t over 20 knots as this could affect the ship’s course as it travelled down the river.

The Ship In Transit

Weener Bridge

After being brought forward a day, so that the above conditions were in place, the conveyance got under way at 11am on the 10th of March. To maximise control, the ship travelled backwards along the river Ems, with four pilots, three GPS systems and two tugboats all in place to ensure she stayed as central as possible.

Thousands of people lined the banks of the river as Anthem made her way towards the North Sea at a top speed of around three knots. That’s about as fast as the normal walking pace of the average forty year old man. Further downriver, the path was cleared but this still only left the smallest amount of room for error. Electricity cables where turned off so that they would cool and become taut, whilst bridges were raised or even removed altogether to enable safe passage.

Finally, after 17 hours of careful guidance, Anthem of the Seas reached the mouth of the river Ems. A successful conveyance being down to the excellent execution of a precise plan.

If you would like to sail on the mighty Anthem of the Seas, check out our Royal Caribbean cruises for details of dates and prices. You can call us for more information of fill in an enquiry form online.