Tuesday, June 25, 2019


25 June 2019: Generally speaking, when a wooden ship and a steel one collide, the wooden one will come out second best. If it's a wooden sailing ship colliding with a steel merchant ship, it gets even worse (for the wooden sailing ship). This occurred about a week ago in Germany. (Gcaptain for pictures, CNN for article.)

The 121-foot Elbe No. 5 collided with the 466-foot Astrosprinter, a Cyprus-flagged cargo ship, on the Elbe river near Hamburg, Germany on Saturday afternoon, according to Wilfried Sprekels, a fire department official.

Built in 1883, the Elbe No. 5 is Hamburg’s oldest wooden ship still in operation, according to Hamburg Maritime Foundation, which has owned the ship since 2002. The Elbe No. 5 originally operated as a pilot vessel for more than 30 years, but later used as a private yacht, credited with making 13 transatlantic crossings, according to Hamburg Maritime Foundation’s website.

To make matters worse, the schooner had only recently completed a major renovation, returning to its home port on May 29th.
Hamburg Maritime Foundation released a statement reading, in part:
“With great sadness we regret the collision and feel very much with the passengers and members of the ship’s crew who have come to harm. We hope the injuries can be cured quickly.”

As of Monday [10 June] the Elbe No. 5 was awaiting salvage. The Astrosprinter was moored near its destination of the Immingham, England.
The cause of the collision is under investigation.
Eight passengers on board the Elbe No. 5 were injured in the collision at Stadersand, Sprekels told CNN. They were rescued from the boat and taken to different local hospitals.
The Elbe No. 5 is the oldest fully wooden ship in Hamburg.

Emergency services secured the ship because of fears of oil leaks and a rescue company will investigate the possibility of recovering the wreck, he added.

There were 43 people on board at the time, including 14 crew members, according to a statement from Hamburg police.

The cause of the crash is not yet known, but an investigation continues, police said.

After decades as a pilot boat used to guide larger ships into Hamburg's port, the Elbe No. 5 was sold to American journalist Warwick Tompkins, who used it as a houseboat.
In 2002, it was bought by the Hamburg Maritime Foundation and brought home to be used as a pleasure boat for tourists.

The renovation project was announced in September 2018 and on May 29 the Elbe No. 5 returned to its home port, according to a tweet from the maritime foundation.

Just over a week later, the collision wrecked the historic vessel.
Wolfgang Bentz, who was involved in the restoration, told German radio station NDR that he had watched over the wreck after the accident.
"I couldn't sleep all night," he said.

However, Bentz believes the Elbe No. 5 could sail again.
"It's made of wood and had some damage before," he told NDR. "Let's see what further damage is added in the rescue effort."

Ugly business, for certain! 

Until next time, 
                                          Fair Winds,
                                                 Old Salt


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