A navigation sign from the past
„Wal" - Steam Ice-Breaker
Full power ahead!
Its belly-shaped hulk guarantees security, the steeply raising stem is a symbol of strength and assertiveness. And for 50 years now the steam ice-breaker „Wal“ has proven exactly this along the Kiel Canal. Up until 1990 the steam ship, which was built in1938 in Stettin, was always in service on the canal when impending ice blocked one of the important water ways of the world.
When the Federal Ministry of Transportation took its last steamship out of service, it was clear, that this example of an era believed forgotten must be kept for generations to come.
Seafaring friends from Bremerhaven took over the ice-breaker with its triple-expansion steam engine, which is a technical specialty in the North Sea and Baltic Sea waters. In painstaking work the volunteer crew restored the ship and carefully refurbished the interior for its new task.
The result is a ship, which keeps the special flair of steam shipping alive in many ways. The hissing of the steam engine, the quiet rumbling of valves and shafts – for friends of classical propulsion systems this is music to the ears. The coziness, which is always asserted to steamers is evident in the lounge and cabins of the „Wal“.
That is why it is not hard to believe in the popularity of sea trips and coffee trips at sea. The „Wal“ does not offer a luxurious ambiance, however the modern ships cannot compete with the unique atmosphere on board.
Owner: Schiffahrts-Compagnie Bremerhaven e.V.
Port of call: Bremerhaven
Year of construction: 1938, Oder-Werke Stettin
Total length: 49,96 m
Width: 12,34 m
Draft: 5,25 m
Propulsion: triple-expansion steam engine