Germany pulls tanker from NATO group after engine failure

German Navy tanker ‘Spessart’ had to be towed home from UK waters after experiencing problems with its engine during the Joint Warrior drill off Scotland.

The 40-year-old ship broke down on March 27 and the extent of damage is yet to be determined, German Kieler Nachrichten reported.

Spessart withdrew not only from the international exercise off Scotland, but also from NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1), to which the ship was deployed since January this year. The tanker was not supposed to return home before May, 2017.

According to Kieler Nachrichten, Germany is unable to send a replacement ship to the NATO group due to a lack of deployable ships.

Germany’s only other tanker, the Rhön, is not fit to deploy following a technical issue from March this year, when the ship was forced to return to port shortly after setting sail for maneuvers with the South African Navy.

To make matters worse, Germany’s Berlin-class combat support ships are tied to the port. EGV Berlin is in dry-dock for an 18-month refit while sister ship Bonn is preparing to start her refit in the second half of 2017. Some two weeks ago, the third ship in the class, EGV Frankfurt am Main, damaged its stern while entering the Wilhelmshaven navy base.