Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven Takes On 70th Drydocking of Polarstern

The German polar research ship Polarstern is undergoing her 70th drydock at Lloyd Werft Bremerhaven.

The ship is operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research (AWI).

“No other ship has docked and been overhauled by us more often than the Polarstern,” said Lloyd Werft Managing Director Rüdiger Pallentin. “She first drydocked at the yard on Dec. 22, 1982,” he added.

The 118 meter long and 25 meter wide research ship, which has a draft of 11.5 meters, will stay in the yard until August 10. During that time she will be up on the blocks for bottom work in the yard’s Kaiserdock II. Only a very few dock facilities are capable of handling the ship because of her draft, Lloyd Werft said in a prepared statement.

The work will include the dismantling and overhaul of fin stabilizers. Required maintenance work will also be carried out on the propeller, rudder, stern tube seals and bow thruster while the superstructures will get a new coat of paint. In addition, steel work will take place in the deck area of the ship’s funnel, while the bow crane will be serviced, a new tank heating system installed and a new storage platform for spare parts set up in the helicopter hangar. Inside, 20 cabin bathrooms will freshened up.

According to Lloyd Werft, various “protective measures” are also being undertaken to prepare the ship for the forthcoming MOSAiC Project, described as one of the most spectacular expeditions ever to the Arctic, spending the winter in the ice.

The Polarstern entered service in 1982 and is said to be one of the most capable Polar research ships in the world, able to operate in pack ice and cut through ice up to 1.5 meters thick with her double steel hull. Her engine power is rated at 14,120 kW, and she is designed to operate in temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees Centigrade.

Lloyd Werft also said that it has been involved in the planning of a successor to the 37-year old ship and that a decision is expected by the end of the year.


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