Old-timer freighter from Antarctic visits Bremen


Nostalgia in Neustädter Hafen: the 33-year-old reefer ship “La Manche”, owned by Aker BioMarine, moored at Shed 21 on the weekend and will continue to discharge animal feed in big bags there until midday today.

The special thing about the traditionally built vessel is that it carries out its work just like in the 1960s, using its own on-board gear to discharge cargo. Moreover, the “La Manche” has no port of loading – it comes from the waters of the Antarctic. There it normally sails back and forth between two trawlers that catch krill and process them into krill meal and then transports the latter to Latin America. This time, however, the reefer took its 4,170-ton cargo directly to Europe, i.e. to Neustädter Hafen, before renewing its classification, the regular ship inspection, in Riga. 

“Such ships are a genuine rarity nowadays,” says Sven Riekers, Managing Director of BLG Cargo Logistics. “I hope the elegant ‘La Manche’ will remain in service for many years to come – and perhaps set course for Bremen again one day.”

“La Manche is a great ship to operate, it has gathered experience during many years in service in some of the toughest environments on the planet. With a strong focus on maintenance, we are making sure ‘the old lady’ continues to handle the rough waters of Antarctica for many years to come. An experienced ship and an experienced crew is key in successful operations in this environment,” says Tore Hetland, Director of Logistics and Supply Chain, Aker BioMarine. 

Aker BioMarine’s “La Manche” is last of its kind that can service a fleet of vessels in remote areas, such as the Antarctic with fuel, supplies and bunker, as well as bring products to shore. The newer vessels are not equipped with such capabilities, which further explains the necessity for proper maintenance to keep the freighter going strong.

The 33-year-old reefer ship “La Manche”, owned by Aker BioMarine, moored at Shed 21 in the Neustädter Hafen. (Photo © Christian Costa)