Ultra-modern Sonne is ready to go

18 Nov 2014
Sonne ready for service. From Left:Meyer head Bernard Meyer, Berlin Research Minister Johanna Wanka, Lower Saxony First Minister Stephan Weil and Sonne Captain Oliver Meyer

Sonne ready for service. From left: Meyer head Bernard Meyer, Berlin Research Minister Johanna Wanka, Lower Saxony First Minister Stephan Weil and Sonne Captain Oliver Meyer

What is said to be the world’s most advanced deep-sea research ship, the €124.4 million Sonne, was handed over to the German Government Monday in Wilhelmshaven by Meyer Werft, reports Tom Todd.

The 116m long and 20.6m wide newbuilding was handed over by shipyard head Bernard Meyer to her new owner, Germany’s Ministry of Research headed by Johanna Wanka, and to Sonne’s future captain Oliver Meyer from operator Reederei Briese.

The 8,600gt Sonne, which took 20 months to build at Meyer in Papenburg and subsidiary Neptun Werft in Warnemuende, replaces a 1968 predecessor of the same name and is due to enter service in the Indian and Pacific Oceans in January.

She was launched and named in July by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Neptun. Since then she has undergone exhaustive final sea trials and tests including visits to at least two more local shipyards Motorenwerke Bremerhaven (MWB) - for final engine work - and Blohm + Voss in Hamburg - for final delivery docking and completion of outstanding works.

Drawing 6.4m and with a top speed of 12 knots, Sonne has an installed 6480kW from 4 x Wärtsilä 9L20CR main engines each of 1,620kW at 1,000rpm. Her four generators of nominal 1,555kW are from Anhaltische Elektromotorenwerke Dessau and her single emergency engine is a Caterpillar C32ACERT of 874kW. Two 2,350kW drive motors from VEM Sachsenwerk Dresden operate two fixed propellers of 3.25m diameter.

Manoeuvering assistance is provided by a Schottel 860kW forward retractable rudder and a Schottel 2,990kW Schottel Pumpjet, both located forward and another Schottel 860 rudder propeller astern.

Sonne carries a crew of up to 35 and offers accommodation for 40 scientific researchers. She was paid for by the German Government and the country’s four coastal federal states.

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