6 November 2019






3 mins

The GORCH FOCK is a tall ship of the German Navy (Deutsche Marine). She is the second ship of that name and a sister ship of the Gorch Fock built in 1933. Both ships are named in honour of the German writer Johann Kinau who wrote under the pseudonym “Gorch Fock” and died in the battle of Jutland/Skagerrak in 1916. She is sometimes referred to (unofficially) as the Gorch Fock II to distinguish her from her older sister ship. The GORCH FOCK  is under the command of the Naval Academy in Flensburg-Mürwik.

She was built by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg, launched on 23 August 1958, and commissioned on 17 December of that year. Her home port is Kiel. The GORCH FOCK is a three masted barque with a steel hull of 81.2 m long (without the bowsprit) and 12 m wide. She has a draught of some 5.2 m and a displacement at full load of 1,760 tons. Originally, she carried 1952 m² of canvas sails; later, she received slightly larger sails made of synthetic materials. The tops of her fore and main masts can be lowered so that she can navigate the Kiel Canal, otherwise she would be too tall for some of the bridges spanning the canal. Officially she is a Type 441 class naval ship with the NATO pennant number A60 with her international radio call sign is DRAX.

Over the years, various modernizations have been applied to the ship. During 1991 she was fitted with air conditioning, the asbestos used originally was removed and also received a new auxiliary engine, a six cylinder diesel engine producing 1,220 kW (1660 hp), giving the ship a top speed of 13.7 knots under power. The interior has also been modified multiple times; technological advances made it possible to reduce the size of the galley and enlarge the crew quarters.

In November 2015 the ship was brought to the German shipyard Elsflether Werft at Bremerhaven because of hull problems with a first cost estimate of 9.6 million euro; with the discovery of more problems the estimate was step wise raised to 64.5 million euro within a year – .  Despite concerns about the rising costs the Ministry of Defence approved a continuation of the repairs ––15216

In 2017 it was determined that the amount of work required was much greater; this included the almost complete replacement of the hull plating, renewal of decks and refurbishment of the engine with a cost estimated at 135 million euro. In January 2018 repairs were stopped while a review was carried out by the Ministry of Defence, including consideration of replacing FGS GORCH FOCK with a new vessel. In March 2018 it was announced that the project would continue, noting that a new vessel could not be delivered until 2025, and that the existing vessel would re-enter service in 2019 –

However, in January 2019 the ship was reported to be in a completely dismantled state and a review by the Bundesrechnungshof (Federal Audit Office) was sharply critical of the procurement process by the Ministry of Defence.

Images are back to May 2005 while the ones with Sails during 60/70’s.

Watermarked Photos by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. Do not use these images without my permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos –

Published – Wednesday 6th November 2019

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© All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos –