22 February 2024






1 min

One of the German Government Ships is the 1982 built German research icebreaker POLARSTERN (meaning Pole Star) of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven, Germany.

She was built by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) in Kiel and Nobiskrug in Rendsburg as yard 707 with keel laid down on 22nd September 1981, launched on 6th January, 1982 and completed on 8th December 1982 and she is mainly used for research in the Arctic and Antarctica.

She’s 117.91 metres long (loa) with 25 m beam and maximum draft of 10.7m. She’s a double-hulled icebreaker and operational at temperatures as low as −50 °C (−58 °F) of which can break through ice 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) thick at a speed of 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph). Thicker ice of up to 3 m (9.8 ft) can be broken by ramming

The German government in 2015 issued a request for bids on the construction of a replacement for POLARSTERN but did not award a contract and eventually withdrew the request in early 2020 as it no longer covered current technological demands for a long-term, efficient and economic vessel.

This was the first time that she called to Australia, seen here berthed  at the Selfs Point Terminal upon completion of uplifting bunkers last 1st February, 2024 before she headed her way down to Macquarie Wharf in Hobart, Tasmania.

Currently she’s underway to Walvis Bay at Namibia, arriving during April, 2024

All images by our correspondent Mr. Glenn Towler

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