LITTORINA - Local marine research

LITTORINA is a research cutter owned by the University of Kiel and operated by GEOMAR. Construction costs were financed by the German Science Foundation (DFG) in order to avoid high charter costs on third-party ships. LITTORINA (named after a small sea snail) is mainly used for short expeditions in the Baltic Sea, North Sea and the Elbe-Weser estuaries - at definitely more than snail’s pace: she reaches maximum speeds of 10 knots (18 km/h).

The research cutter can be used for all disciplines of marine research, specifically oceanography, biology, geophysics, geology and fisheries biology. LITTORINA has room for 6 scientists on overnight trips and 12 scientists on daytime trips. The technical equipment on board permits water and sediment samples down to 500 m. There is a diving room on board with diving equipment and space for up to 12 people. LITTORINA is thus frequently used for diving courses and research at the University of Kiel. Last but not least, scientists can utilize the modern shallow-water multibeam sounder.

The ship is managed by RF Shipping, located in Bremerhaven, Germany. LITTORINA can remain at sea for 14 days. She was overhauled and modernized at the beginning of 2012.


    • Owner: University of Kiel, Home port: Kiel
    • Operator: GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
    • Year built: 1975
    • Draft: 3.0 m
    • Dimensions: Length: 29.8 m, Width: 7.4 m
    • Speed: 10 knots
    • Operating range: 2,500 nautical miles
    • Capacity: Crew: 5, Scientists: 6 (12 for day trips)
    • Facilities for scientific operations: 2 labs, 6-12 sqm; vertical shaft, 1 wet lab (10-foot container), various cranes, winches and cables, different sounders (fish sounder, multibeam depth sounder), ADCP