Bremerhaven Photos, Part II: Ships

Somewhat delayed by the recent WorldCon, Hugo and “what is SF” discussions, here is the second part of my post featuring photos taken during a recent trip to Bremerhaven. Part I with some information about the city in general is here BTW.

This post will focus on photos of ships. Since Bremerhaven is the fourth busiest port in Europe, there are rather a lot of them. Most of the historical ships seen in these photos are courtesy of the German Maritime Museum and the extensive exhibits in the so-called museum harbour.

Side trawler Gera

The “Gera”, built in 1959 in East Germany, is the last surviving side trawler and apparently the only fishing vessel museum worldwide. Nowadays, she is moored in the touristy part of Bremerhaven’s fishing harbour.

Bremerhaven "Grönland" polar research vessel

The “Grönland”, a polar research vessel built in 1867, with the old lighthouse in the background.

Bremerhaven museum harbour

The tugboat “Stier” in front of the glass dome of the Mediterraneo mall and the Sail City Hotel.

Bremerhaven Stier

A closer look at the tugboat “Stier”, built in 1954. The name means “bull” BTW, because the “Stier” was a particularly powerful tugboat.

Voith-Schneider propeller

A close-up look of the reason the “Stier” was so powerful, its unique arrangement of Voith-Schneider propellers.

Bremerhaven Seefalke

The “Seefalke” (Sea Hawk), a high sea salvage tugboat built in 1924, which even survived being sunk during WWII.

Bremerhaven museum harbour

The “Rau IX”, originally built as a whaler in 1939, but then used to hunt submarines in WWII. Behind the “Rau IX” you can see the “Seefalke”. The highrise in the background is the Columbus Center mall and apartment complex.

Bremerhaven Paul Kossel

Two uses for concrete: In the background you can see the Columbus Center, in front you can see the rare concrete tugboat “Paul Kossel”, built in 1920. There is a very big anchor as well.

Bremerhaven Paul Kossel

A close-up look at the concrete hull of the “Paul Kossel”. And yes, amazingly, vessels with concrete hulls do swim.

Bremerhaven Hydrofoil

The “WSS10”, an experimental hydrofoil vessel built in 1954.

Bremerhaven hydrofoil

Another view of the hydrofoil “WSS10”. Doesn’t it look like something out of a James Bond film?

Smokestack Otto Hahn

The smokestack of the nuclear powered research vessel “Otto Hahn”, built in 1968, when nuclear powered vessels were all the rage. Note the atomic symbol.

Bremerhaven Elbe 3

The lightship “Elbe 3”, a mobile lighthouse built in 1908 and in active service as a lightship in the estuary of the river Elbe, the approach to the busy harbours of Hamburg and Cuxhaven, until 1966

Bremerhaven lightship lantern

The lantern of another lightship, the “Fehmarnbelt”, originally built in 1905 and used until 1967. The names of lightships designate their location, i.e. the “Elbe 3” is the third lightsignal in the Elbe estuary, while the “Fehmarnbelt” was stationed in the strait (belt) near the island of Fehmarn in the Baltic Sea.

Bremerhaven Seute Deern

The bark “Seute Deern” (Lower German for Sweet Maiden) is the most famous exhibit of the German Maritime Museum next to the wreck of a 14th century cog. The “Seute Deern” was built in Gulfport, MS, in 1919 and has been in Bremerhaven since 1966. Nowadays, she’s not just an exhibit, but can also be rented for events and used for weddings.

Figurehead "Seute Deern"

And here is the Sweet Maiden herself, the figurehead of the “Seute Deern”. I remember that when I first saw the ship as a young child, I exclaimed “But she looks like an old woman, not like a pretty girl”. When my parents asked me why I thought that, I answered, “Well, she wears a headscarf and only grandmas wear headscarves.”

Bremerhaven museum harbour

A look across the museum harbour with the “Seute Deern”, “Elbe 3”, “Seefalke” as well as the Mediterraneo mall, climate house museum and Sail City hotel in the background.

Bremerhaven Semi-gentry crane

This semi-gantry crane was originally built in 1925, refurbished in 1951 and has been in active service in the port of Bremerhaven until 1978. Nowadays, it looms above the museum harbourand the whaler “Rau IX”.

Bremerhaven Wilhelm Bauer

The submarine “Wilhelm Bauer”, built as U2540 in 1944. It was sunk by its own crew in 1945, spent the next twelve years on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, was raised in 1957, refurbished and then served as a submarine of the German Navy until 1982. In the background you can see the “Seute Deern”, the “Elbe 3”, the rear of the “Seefalke” and the radar tower.

Bremerhaven "Wilhelm Bauer"

The submarine “Wilhelm Bauer” seen head on with the “Seute Deern” and the radar tower in the background. The “Wilhelm Bauer” is the only surviving Nazi era submarine in the world.

I have something of an adverse relationship with the “Wilhelm Bauer”, because every visitor to Bremerhaven, whether it’s a family friend or a businessperson I’m paid to show around, inevitably wants to visit the “Wilhelm Bauer”. They may or may not want to visit the other vessels (they’re all open to the public, at least in summer), but everybody wants to see the “Wilhelm Bauer”. As a result, I have been aboard several times. And the bloody submarine is not just cramped, it also seems to shrink every time I go aboard. I also really hate bumping into bulkheads aboard the “Wilhelm Bauer”, because during WWII, human hair was used as a sealing and insulation material aboard German submarines (it’s kind of obvious where the human hair came from, given that the submarine was built by the Nazis). Which is just plain icky. Nowadays, I usually foist touring the “Wilhelm Bauer” onto someone else, whenever possible.

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8 Responses to Bremerhaven Photos, Part II: Ships

  1. Sherwood Smith says:

    I love your photo sequences! Thank you.

  2. Absolutely fascinating vessel museum, Cora. Thanks for sharing.

    • Cora says:

      Glad you like the photos. The museum proper (the photos just show the exterior exhibits) is fascinating as well. Among other things, they have the preserved wreck of a 14th century cog, which was discovered during dredging work in the river Weser.

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  4. Dr. Phil says:

    Last Nazi submarine implies there are no others. But the U-505 is on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

    Dr. Phil

    • Cora says:

      Thanks for the correction. I guess the good folks of the German Maritime Museum were a bit premature about the uniqueness of their exhibit then. Though the “Wilhelm Bauer” is definitely the last floating Nazi era submarine, though it can no longer dive.

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