Museum Trawler "Gera"
After the first German steam trawler SAGITTA took to sea from Geestemünde, the side-fishing trawler was one of the most frequent ship types calling at both ports on the Weser estuary. The main gear of the side-fishing trawlers consisted of the net which was hauled in over the bulkhead. This was a hard and often dangerous job.
But the side-fishing trawler remained dominant for decades. Not until 1957 did Rickmers shipyard deliver the first two stern trawlers HEINRICH MEINS and CARL KÄMPF to Bremerhaven customers. Now the net could be let out via a slipway in the stern, aided by a special gantry. But even in 1961, there were only 11 stern trawlers out of 114 trawlers in all in the Bremerhaven-based fishing fleet.
Unfortunately, the chance was missed to preserve at least one of the once vast Bremerhaven side-fishing trawler fleet. In 1961, the DÜSSELDORF had been delivered as the last one of its kind and the last existing side trawler, the KATFISCH was scrapped in 1980.
The peaceful revolution in East Germany in late 1989 created new opportunities. The state fishing enterprise in Rostock offered the side motor trawler GERA, which was actually destined for the scrap yard. She arrived at Bremerhaven on June 15th 1990 and sailed under her own steam to her final berth on July 31st 1991.
The GERA (pennant number ROS 223) was launched at the Peene Shipyard in Wolgast on the Baltic Sea on October 13th 1959 and was put into service in October 1961. She mainly fished off Greenland and Newfoundland. From 1980 until decommissioning, she performed mostly logistical functions for the large East German fishery fleet.
Since June 27th 1993, GERA has served as an open-air exhibit of the Historical Museum Bremerhaven, it now being a floating museum run by its own preservation society. Within the framework of the European “Seaport” project to promote tourism in some selected North Sea ports, the presentation of Bremerhaven's fish industry is also being considered. GERA will play an important part within this concept.
Link to Historical Museum Bremerhaven: www.historisches-museum-bremerhaven.de
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