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Title: Polarstern  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Winch, Hangar, Nobiskrug
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Name: Polarstern
Namesake: Pole star
Operator: Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI)
Port of registry: Germany Bremerhaven, Germany
Route: Arctic and Antarctica
Builder: Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft at Kiel and the Nobiskrug at Rendsburg
Laid down: 22 February 1981
Completed: 1 December 1982
Identification: IMO number: 8013132
Call sign: DBLK
Status: In service
General characteristics
Type: Icebreaker, research vessel
Displacement: 17,300 tonnes
Length: 117.91 m (386 ft 10 in)
Beam: 25.07 m (82 ft 3 in)
Draught: 11.21 m (36 ft 9 in)
Installed power: Four diesel engines, 14,000 kW (19,000 hp)
Speed: 15.5 knots (28.7 km/h; 17.8 mph)
Capacity: 44 maximum

European Research Icebreaker Aurora Borealis is not going to be built in its original form.

Polarstern was built by the Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft at Kiel and the Nobiskrug at Rendsburg. The ship has a length of 118 metres (387 feet) and is a double-hulled icebreaker. It is operational at temperatures as low as -50°C. (-58°F) Polarstern can break through ice 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) thick at a speed of 5 knots. Thicker ice up to 3 m can be broken by ramming.


On September 7, 1991, Polarstern, assisted by the Swedish arctic icebreaker Oden reached the North Pole as the first conventional powered vessels.[2] Both scientific parties and crew took oceanographic and geological samples and had a common tug of war and a football game on an ice floe. Polarstern again reached the pole exactly 10 years later[3] together with the USCGC Healy. It returned for a third time on August 22, 2011 at exactly 9.42 a.m. This time it reported the most frequently recurring ice thickness at 0.9m compared with 2m in 2001, which corresponds to the long-term average.[4]

On March 2, 2008, one of the vessel's helicopters crashed on a routine flight to the Antarctic Neumayer II base. The German pilot and a Dutch researcher were killed, three other passengers injured.[5][6]

On October 17, 2008, Polarstern, as the first research ship ever traveled through both the Northeast Passage and the Northwest Passage in one cruise and thus circumnavigated the North Pole.[7]


Current listings of all cruises on board of Polarstern as well as associated content (e.g., tracklines, weekly reports, cruise reports, publications and data) is presented in AWI's research platform portal.

In popular culture

Polarstern is also the name of the first track of Eisbrecher's (German for Icebreaker) first album, Eisbrecher. Throughout the track, narrations are given specifying the dimensions and specifications of an enormous ship, blowing the measurements of the real icebreaker out of proportion (e.g.: length of 236 metres). The ship holds the central part in German musician Schiller's 2010 album Atemlos. A track is titled after the ship. It is also featured in the DVD of the same title, showing the musician's expedition on the vessel.


External links

  • Secrets of the seas: Jurassic shrimp, hairy crabs and giant microbes, news article featuring The Polarstern
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