The POSEIDON off the island El Hierro. Photo: Maike Nicolai/GEOMAR

Image of the month: November 2017

The God of the Sea serves science

Our image of the Month shows RV POSEIDON. She is the smallest ocean-going research vessel in the German research fleet. Even though she is more than 40 years old, the POSEIDON still has a reputation as a very reliable workhorse of German and international marine sciences.  Whether the investigation of cold-water corals, the search for underwater volcanoes or collecting of sediment cores, the POSEIDON has helped to gain important scientific knowledge to better understand the interaction between the ocean and the life on our planet Earth. The image above shows her during expedition POS494 off the Canary-island of El Hierro, where the development of an underwater volcano and the associated dangers for the population of the Canary Islands were investigated.

The POSEIDON had originally been built for service  in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. At the beginning of the 1980s, she was re-equipped for research in the Atlantic. Besides many cranes and winches, as well as four lab rooms, she has a modern  echo sounder system to examine the seabed. Therefore, the research vessel is a versatile working platform for all marine research disciplines.

 On 10 September 1974 the construction of the POSEIDON was ordered at the Schichau Unterweser AG in Bremerhaven. Since her completion she has been on more than 500 expeditions, from the warm waves of the Mediterranean Sea up to the icy regions of the North Polar seas. With nearly 700,000 sailed kilometers she has  circumnavigated the Earth approximately 17 times. During the last years, the POSEIDON was mainly used in the North Atlantic, in the Mediterranean Sea and in the Black Sea.

In 2016 the “Old Lady” celebrated her 40th birthday and may start her well-earned pension soon. Many  sea voyages leave a lasting mark even on an experienced and reliable vessel like the POSEIDON. To guarantee the use of the most modern technology, higher investments are necessary. A new building of a research vessel was confirmed by the federal research ministry to happen before 2020, and is already in planning. The new ship with the port of Kiel as its home port, becomes the successor of the POSEIDON and the METEOR in the service of international marine research.

More informationen:

http://www.geomar.de/en/centre/central-facilities/wasser/f-s-poseidon/

cruise POS494

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A Gravity Corer on the POSEIDON: Photo: N. Schattel/GEOMAR

A Gravity Corer on the POSEIDON: Photo: N. Schattel/GEOMAR

The POSEIDON at Kiel's Habour. Foto: Jan Steffen/GEOMAR

The POSEIDON at Kiel's Habour. Foto: Jan Steffen/GEOMAR

A box corere is being used from the deck of the POSEIDON. Photo: Christina Bonanati/GEOMAR

A box corere is being used from the deck of the POSEIDON. Photo: Christina Bonanati/GEOMAR