Ferry Boat “Wappen von Hamburg”
When Wappen von Hamburg was launched on the 16th of February in 1965 she was the third ferry boat within ten years with this name. Just in time for the start of the season she was transferred to HADAG for the Helgoland service. In fact she was the biggest ship on the route Hamburg-Cuxhaven-Helgoland. And as she also was the fastest ship of the Helgoland fleet she was honoured with blue ribbon of the fleet.
The initial design of Wappen von Hamburg included cabins an other facilities that were meant to be used in servicing as a cruise ship. The main idea at HADAG was to offer this ship for charter when the season was over. In her first winter in 1965/66 she went to the Caribbean as Lucaya. Unfortunately the level of luxury this ship could offer was not what American customers were expecting. Thus this was her only trip to the Caribbean.
She was back in Northern Germany in time for the start of the 1966 season and served as a ferry boat to Helgoland again. From back then to 1983 she went daily from Hamburg to Cuxhaven and then Helgoland and back. After 1983 during the week she left from Cuxhaven and only on the weekend she would still start her trip in Hamburg.
But it was still necessary to find another job for this beautiful ferry boat during winter. HADAG therefore decided to make berth at the St. Pauli Landungsbrücken in Hamburg during the cold season and offer a service as hotel and restaurant ship. And this seemed to be a good idea as HADAG kept doing this till 1982 every winter.
But due to increasing financial problems at HADAG it was finally necessary to take Wappen von Hamburg out of service to save money. The last journey under the flag of HADAG took place on the 3rd of October in 1982.
The company Förde Reederei Seetouristik in Flensburg took over the Helgoland service from HADAG and also bought Wappen von Hamburg. The famous ferry boat kept her name and once again served on the route to Helgoland.
One of the absolute highlights of a trip to Helgoland surely is disembarking at Helgoland. The passengers have to get into 10 meter long wooden boats which each can carry about 40 guests and are then brought to the island. The transfer from the ferry boat into the little barges happens through doors close to the water line of the ship and compared to embarking at a pier this definitely is a unique experience that often includes getting a little bit wet.
Due to the decreasing number of passengers since the nineties FRS had to make the decision to finally decommission Wappen von Hamburg after the 2006 season. For a while the ferry boat Atlantis took over this service and since 2016 a new ship named Helgoland that is fuelled by liquefied natural gas replaced the former ferry boats.
After her decommissioning Wappen von Hamburg was sold to the Mercator Shipping Corporation and renamed in Mercator II. She went to Bremerhaven and the plan was to convert her into a luxury cruise ship. But due to financial problems of the Mercator Shipping Corporation the conversion of this ship couldn’t be finished. For almost two years the hull without superstructure was moored in Bremerhaven. In 2010 the former Wappen von Hamburg finally was towed to Esbjerg in Denmark to be scrapped.
• shipyard: Howaldtswerke Hamburg
• launch: 1965
• owner: HADAG Seetouristik und Fährdienst AG, Förde Reederei Seetouristik GmbH & Co KG
• length: 109.60 m
• width: 15.00 m
• draught: 4.17 m
• displacement: 4438 BRT
• top speed: 22 kn
• engines: 2x MAN diesel engines
• popwer: 10,160 PSi (7,473 kW)
• passengers: 1,800 max.