Germany: Gorch Fock training ship returns to service | News | DW
The Gorch Fock, a three-masted sailing ship of the German Navy for training cadets, will be handed over to naval officials in the northern city of Wilhelmshaven on Thursday after almost six years of repairs.
The ship’s retrofit sparked some controversy after the cost rose from an original EUR 10 million ($ 11.6 million) to EUR 135 million.
Delays and financial irregularities at the first shipyard contracted to carry out the repairs fueled the turmoil, putting the Department of Defense under considerable fire.
The first shipyard commissioned with the conversion work, Elsflether in Bremerhaven, went bankrupt in February 2019. The work was completed in the past two years by the Lürssen shipyard in the northern port city of Bremen.
The repairs included the almost complete replacement of the hull plating, the renewal of the decks and the overhaul of the engine.
The ship’s Albatros figurehead was designed by a former World War II submarine commander
60 years of service with Gorch Fock
The Gorch Fock, which was put into service as a training ship in 1959, is named after the German writer Johann Kinau, who wrote under the name “Gorch Fock”. Kinau was killed in the Battle of Jutland / Skagerrak in World War I in 1916.
The ship has been the focus of other controversies in the past, particularly in 2010 when a 25-year-old officer candidate fell to his death from the rigging in the Brazilian port of Salvador da Bahia. This incident sparked a rebellion among the trainees that eventually led to the ship’s captain being fired.
At least five other sailors were killed in accidents on the ship.
The restart of the ship will be officially celebrated on Monday in its home port of Kiel. After that, the main crew of the ship will train in the Baltic Sea in October before the first cadets will be hired again in the Canary Islands in January.
tj / rt (AFP, dpa)