Special Ships


The bow is far away. Very far. From his control stand, the captain can hardly see the front end of his tow.

Consisting of 42 fully loaded, unpowered barges pushed by a towboat, it has a length of more than a quarter of a mile. Everyday business for the skipper while on the straight and at the same time a real challenge as soon as the river bends. To ensure safe maneuvering, the captain has an assistance boat at the front of the tow.

Whenever precise maneuvering is of the essence, the Voith Schneider Propeller (VSP) displays its advantages over conventional vessel propulsion systems. Be it in ports, on rivers or out at sea. And even more so in difficult operating conditions caused by heavy winds, high waves or strong currents.

This makes the VSP the optimum propulsion system for many types of special ships, especially given that the propellers can be operated such that the roll stability increases. This means that the vessel retains a relatively stable position even in rough seas. The system is therefore ideally suited for applications such as:

  • buoy tenders which must accurately position the buoys marking out shipping channels
  • floating cranes used for maritime rescuing or engineering work
  • drilling vessels which must be positioned precisely
  • passenger vessels such as ferries, with frequent docking and undocking operations
  • assistance boats equipped with VSPs to generate steering forces for precise maneuvering at various points of a tow consisting of several unpowered barges

Voith Schneider Propellers thus are the perfect propulsion system for all kinds of special ships. As a result of the faster maneuvering, the VSPs save time and thus permit a more efficient operation.

Thanks to the Voith Schneider Propellers, this Bow Steering Module pulls the tow through the bend: powerful and safe.

Buoy Tenders


Anchoring buoys in exactly the right position requires the utmost precision when maneuvering the buoy tender. No matter how strong  the wind, how heavy the waves or how variable the currents: The vessel must be able to keep its exact position out at sea until the work is done.

A task for which Voith Schneider Propellers (VSP) are ideally suited. Many buoy tenders therefore use two VSPs at the stern or one at the bow and one at the stern. In each case, the propulsion system arrangement is tailored to the specific tasks and dimensions of the vessel.

Using Voith Schneider Propellers for buoy tender propulsion facilitates the installation of marker buoys for many reasons:

  • The excellent vessel maneuverability ensures precise positioning of the buoys.
  • The VSPs allow the vessel to keep its exact position for as long as necessary.
  • All necessary maneuvers such as turning on the spot or traversing can be carried out.
  • An additional bow steering device is not required.
  • All sites where work must be carried out can be reached promptly.

Even ships must stay in their proper lane.

Close to shore in particular, captains use shipping lanes for orientation. The boundaries of these lanes are marked by buoys anchored to the ground and visible from afar. Such visible warnings also indicate shallows or straits.

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Bow Steering Module

Bow Steering Modul

Unpowered barges are frequently combined to form so-called tows and are used to transport cargo such as coal or iron ore. One vessel pushes all of the barges that make up a tow. These tows are unwieldy, sluggish and difficult to maneuver through river bends. This is where the Bow Steering Module (BSM) comes in. The BSM is an assistance boat. Driven by two Voith Schneider Propellers, its large steering forces can provide valuable maneuvering help at various points of the tow. BSMs are generally positioned at the front of a tow. Some of them are even remote-controlled and unstaffed.

With the help of a BSM, tows can maneuver faster, safer and more accurately. The use of a BSM on a tow can result in time savings of up to 30%.

The Bow Steering Module was named "Ship of the Year 2001" at the Work Boat Show in the USA.

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Floating Cranes


While doing so, most of them are on firm ground with their position unchangeable. Floating cranes however do the same work but operate on water. Their positioning can thus change.

Floating cranes have many areas of use: General salvage work, installation and maintenance of wind turbines, loading and unloading heavy goods or repair work are but examples of their various fields of application. The platforms are located in ports or out at sea. In both cases precise maneuvering to its destination is essential for the floating crane. Once there, it must keep its position without lashing ropes or tugs being required.

Cranes lift loads weighing many tons and move them from one place to another.

Mersey Schiffskran

With one VSP at the stern and another VSP with a slight diagonal offset at the bow of these pontoon-shaped vessels, these maritime workhorses are perfectly equipped to maneuver precisely and safely. Not to mention their ability to keep their position unaided. This allows work to be carried out faster and saves time.

It is due to these specific requirements that floating cranes are an ideal area of application for Voith Schneider Propellers (VSP).

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Voith Turbo Schneider Propulsion GmbH & Co. KG
Alexanderstraße 18
89522 Heidenheim, Germany

Postfach 2011
89510 Heidenheim, Germany

Tel. +49 7321 37-4099
Fax +49 7321 37-7580


ITS 100 Bow Steering Module with VSP

ITS 100 Bow Steering Module with VSP

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