Germany will return 60-year-old sail training ship to sea despite €135M repair bill

The German Navy’s sail training ship Gorch Fock will be returning to sea despite its overhaul ordeal and a price tag which started at 10 million euros in January 2016 and reached an estimated 135 million euros as it currently stands.

The German defense ministry on March 20 announced it has decided to accept the latest price tag for the refit of the 60-year-old ship.

Once the ship returns to service in the second half of 2019, it will remain in service beyond 2040, the defense ministry noted.

Back in January 2106, Gorch Fock was expected to stay at the Elsfleth shipyard for 17 weeks but previously undetected damages caused both delays and cost overruns which twice prompted the defense ministry to decide whether to continue with the restoration.

The overhaul will see the sail training ship receive new masts, totally reconstructed mid and upper decks and a new teak deck. Around 8o percent of the ship’s exterior will be replaced in the process.

“The decision to keep Gorch Fock is a great relief for my crew and me,” Captain at Sea Nils Brandt, Gorch Fock’s commanding officer said, adding that the the sail training ship has a major role in the education of future German Navy officers.

Gorch Fock was built in 1958 at the Hamburg shipyard Blohm & Voss as the sixth ship in her class and the second one to bear the name Gorch Fock. The Kiel-homeported ship cost 8.5 million DM (Deutsche Mark) in 1958.