Deep Sea Research with the "Sonne"

In August 2011, the Federal Research Minister at that time, Annette Schavan, together with Johanna Wanka, the Minister of Science of Lower Saxony, have signed the contract for the construction and ship management of the new deep sea research vessel SONNE. With this contract, the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) continued the renewal of the fleet of German research vessels.

Whereas the ship was commissioned from NEPTUN WERFT, it has been built at MEYER WERFT in Papenburg. The construction of the research vessel SONNE began in December 2012 with the steel-cutting of the first steel plate in MEYER WERFT’s laser centre. It was finally assigned to science in autumn 2014.

The research vessel is extremely energy efficient and thus especially eco-friendly. The ship is 116 meters long, 20.6 wide and can accommodate up to 40 scientists in addition to the 35-member strong crew. Furthermore, the ship provides space for up to 25 twenty-foot containers with material.

The Indian Ocean and the Pacific are the research vessel’s main areas of application. Both oceans have a big influence one the world climate, which is why their exploration becomes more and more important. The SONNE is also contribute to answer other scientifically and socially relevant questions, especially in respect to the supply with marine raw materials and the human impact on earth’s ecosystems. The home port of the SONNE is Wilhelmshaven.

Main characteristics of the deep sea research vessel SONNE:

Overall Length: 116 m
Width: 20.60 m
Capacity: 6,480 kW
Speed: 12 kts
Draught: 6.40 m
Tonnage: 8,600 gt