Sailing Ship veteran's three-year restoration

Peking heads for permanent Hamburg berth Peking heads for permanent Hamburg berth
Industry Database

The 106 year old four-masted barque 'Peking' is coming home to Germany from New York in July for restoration and renovation expected to last some three years and cost about €26 million.

The 115.5m long and 14.3m wide veteran is one of the legendary Flying-P cargo sailing ships built over a century ago for the F.Laiesz shipping company. Peking was completed in 1911 at Hamburg’s Blohm + Voss Shipyard and has been in New York since 1975 as a tourist attraction. Now it is coming back to Hamburg for good.

Acquired by the German foundation Stiftung Hamburg Maritim, its topmasts and rigging were removed last year in preparation for transport back to Hamburg. It was leaving New York in early July in the hold of the 169.4m long project load carrier Combi Dock 111.

“It’s a very special contract”, Bremen-based shipping company Combi Lift was quoted as saying. Stowage and lashing down alone was taking four days. The Atlantic crossing to Brunsbüttel near Hamburg was expected to take twelve days. After unloading the ship was being towed some 20km upstream to Peters Werft. After completion of the restoration at that shipyard, Peking will become the centrepiece of a new maritime museum in the port of Hamburg.

The ship’s transport and restoration, costing about €26 million, is being paid for out of a €120 million German Government grant. The remaining €94 million will pay for the creation of the new museum.

Peking will never sail again but will be restored for the Deutsche Hafen Museum in Hamburg where she will become a permanent exhibit”, explained Arne von Maydell. He is a spokesman for the Stiftung Hamburg Maritim, which says the restoration will be an “ambitious” project.

Peters Werft won the contract over bids from three other German yards. Unusually, they were named by the Stiftung Hamburg Maritim as Blohm + Voss, the Emder Werft und Dock and a consortium grouping Elsflether Werft and Bremerhaven’s BREDO. All are well versed in sailing ship restoration.

Peters Werft MD Peter Sierk said the Peking work, being described as “technically challenging”, will cover steel hull restoration, rigging reconstruction and a bundle of other projects including adaptation for exhibition visits. The work will last into 2020.

Peking is the second Flying-P sailing ship to find a permanent berth in Germany after sister Passat, moored in Luebeck as a museum ship. Another sister Pommern is a museum ship in Finland. One Flying-P ship, Padua, is still in active service as the Russian sail training ship Kruzenshtern.

The most tragic ship in the series was Pamir, lost in an Atlantic storm  in 1957. Of 86 people on board, many of them young trainees, only six survived.

By Tom Todd

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