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It was a temporary farewell in the museum harbor, which worked out in the second attempt: The ship with the longest laytime in the harbor of the German Maritime Museum (DSM) / Leibniz Institute of Maritime History, the ELBE 3, was towed into the dock today (May 26, 2023). The elaborate haul was already planned for Wednesday.
Around 4 a.m. in the morning, the lines fell and the 44-meter lightship ELBE 3 was towed by two tugboats through the museum harbor to the New Harbor and from there into the Outer Weser to the fishing port in the Bredo shipyard. Coordinated by bremenports, the ship will be thoroughly refurbished and renovated there by Rupertus-Strako GmbH during a stay of around three months at the shipyard. The tow was actually scheduled to take place on Wednesday, but had to be canceled due to bad weather.
"This is an important day for the DSM. We have waited a long time for the start of the renovation and have prepared the Verholung intensively with our partners. Now we very much hope to be able to welcome the DSM's lightship back to the museum harbor after three months and then make the ELBE 3 walkable and experienceable for the public at special events," says Prof. Dr. Ruth Schilling, Executive Director of the DSM.
The renovation is possible thanks to a grant from the Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media as a result of a budget decision by the German Bundestag. Additional funding is provided by the State of Bremen and the City of Bremerhaven.
The ELBE 3 is 114 years old and has been moored in the Old Port since 1967. This makes her both the oldest ship in the museum harbor and the one with the longest berthing time on site. The historic lightship, once manned by a crew of 16, has had an eventful history: built between 1908 and 1909 by the "Königliche Wasserbau-Inspektion" as the station ship EIDER for the Eider estuary, it served as a lightship at the minefields of the North Sea during the First World War. Under the name of BÜRGERMEISTER ABENDROTH, it belonged to the Cuxhaven Water and Shipping Authority and was berthed in the Baltic Sea during the Second World War. Afterwards it was used as a beacon and pilot station until 1966 at the position ELBE 3 in the German Bight, the sea area with the highest traffic density in the world. The steel sailer could be maneuvered with a storm sail in case of emergency. Initially, the beacon consisted of kerosene lamps, but later a diesel-powered generator and accumulators were installed for more powerful electric lighting. The foghorns, which had been operated by hand until then, could then be replaced by a large foghorn.
Statements on the decommissioning of the ELBE 3
"As one of the floating lighthouses of historic shipping, the lightship ELBE 3 is an important testimony to our maritime cultural heritage. In the more than hundred-year history of the ELBE 3, the fundamental refurbishment is a further milestone. This means that the German Maritime Museum once again has an important exhibit of cultural mediation at its disposal, which will also be able to tell future generations its eventful history of safeguarding maritime shipping."
Claudia Roth, Minister of State for Culture and Media
"The ELBE 3 is part of the maritime heritage of the country and is one of the most important attractions of the museum harbor. That is why it is good that the long-planned and urgently needed refurbishment work is now beginning. What makes me additionally happy as a Bremerhaven resident is that with the Bredo shipyard, a local partner is taking care of giving the ELBE 3 a new shine."
Dr. Claudia Schilling, Senator for Science and Ports of the State of Bremen and Chairwoman of the DSM Foundation Board.
"I am glad that the ELBE 3 is now finally being overhauled and will thus be preserved for the city as a maritime heritage. Like the museum harbor, the lightship is an integral part of the German Maritime Museum. As a city, we will now also press ahead with the refurbishment of the other ships. After all, in addition to the scientific significance, it is also important to us to preserve the museum fleet as a tourist attraction in the museum harbor that creates a sense of identity. Moving the ELBE 3 into the dock is the starting signal for these efforts." Melf Grantz, Lord Mayor of the City of Bremerhaven
"Our historic ships are our castles. They tell in a unique way of Bremerhaven's constant connection to seafaring and are bearers of historical knowledge. It is our task to secure them permanently for posterity as silent witnesses to the times. The 1.1 million euros that the federal government is contributing to the restoration costs of the lightship ELBE 3 are an investment well spent on preserving the maritime heritage of the maritime city. It's good that the ELBE 3 is finally making its way into dock."
Uwe Schmidt, Member of the Bundestag for Bremen II-Bremerhaven
"The refurbishment of the ELBE 3 is a first milestone for the museum exhibition in the Old Port. I am pleased that bremenports can support the German Maritime Museum in this project with advice and action."
Robert Howe, Managing Director bremenports
The ELBE 3 is being prepared for the haul-out. Photo: DSM / Annica Müllenberg
At 4:33 a.m., the ELBE 3 leaves its position in the museum harbor. Pushed and pulled by one tug each. Credit: DSM / Annica Müllenberg
The ELBE 3 in the New Harbor is prepared for the lock at sunrise. Credit: DSM / Annica Müllenberg
The ELBE 3 is moving on the Weser towards the double lock. Credit: DSM / Annica Müllenberg
The ELBE 3 arrives at the Bredo shipyard at 8:20 a.m., right on schedule. Credit: DSM / Annica Müllenberg
The historic Elbe 3 enters the museum harbor in 1967.
Cog hall: Monday closed, TUE - SUN from 10 am to 6 pm