RV Sonne

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RV Sonne
Sonne as ARA Austral
Name: RV Sonne
Operator: RF Forschungsschiffahrt GmbH
Port of registry: Germany Bremen, Germany
Route: Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean
Builder: Rickmers Werft, Bremerhaven, Germany
Laid down: August 1968
Out of service: August 2014
Renamed: 25 June 2015, to ARA Austral
Fate: Sold to Argentina
Name: Austral
Operator: Argentine Navy
Cost: $54,192,935 ARS, €5,150,000
Acquired: 12 December 2014
In service: 7 November 2015
Status: Active as of 2018
General characteristics
Class and type: Research vessel
Displacement: 4,952 Tonnes
Length: 97.61 m (320 ft 3 in)
Beam: 14.20 m (46 ft 7 in)
Draught: 6.80 m (22 ft 4 in)
Installed power:
  • 2 × 1,150 kW electrical engines
  • 3 × 1,600 kW diesel-generator
Propulsion: Diesel-electrical system
Speed: 12.0 knots (22.2 km/h)
Crew: 25 + 25 scientists

The RV Sonne (German for 'Sun') was a former German fishing trawler converted into a research vessel by Schichau Unterweser AG, doing mostly geoscience-related work for a variety of commercial and scientific clients. She was registered in Bremen.[1] In 2015 she was sold to the Argentine institute CONICET and was renamed ARA Austral (Q-21).[2][3] A new geoscientific research ship, also called RV Sonne, replaced her role in Germany that same year.[4]


Rickmers Werft built Sonne in 1969 as a stern trawler and delivered her to Hochseefischerei Nordstern. From her homeport of Bremerhaven she operated mainly in the waters around Iceland, Greenland and Labrador.

Sonne was converted for use in a scientific exploration role by Schichau Unterweser AG in 1977 and by Rickmers Werft in 1978. In 1991 Schichau-Seebeck-Werft lengthened and modernized her.[1]

RV Sonne in Auckland, 2007

An order worth 124.4 million for a new geoscientific research ship was placed by the German federal ministry for education and research (90%) together with the coastal states Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Bremen and Hamburg (10%) in May 2011. The new ship, also called Sonne, was built in Meyer Werft in Papenburg, and replaced the old Sonne in 2015.[4] Its launch took place on 5 April 2014.[5]

The last German cruise of RV Sonne took place in August 2014, after which she was retired from German scientific use.[citation needed]

Argentine service[edit]

She was sold to the Argentinian institute CONICET for € 5.150.000 and she arrived in the Argentine Navy naval base at Mar del Plata in February 2015. In June she was renamed ARA Austral (Q-21). Austral is operated by a naval crew, on behalf of the civilian agency CONICET.[2][3]

In popular culture[edit]

Sonne appears in Frank Schätzing's novel The Swarm in connection with methane measurements off the Norwegian coast.[6]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b "RV Sonne - datasheet in English language" (PDF, 1.6 MB). www.rf-bremen.com. RF Forschungsschiffahrt GmbH. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  2. ^ a b Periodico Tribuna - El Gobierno compró buque nuevo (y miles de litros de alcohol para celebrar)
  3. ^ a b Telam - La Presidenta encabezó la presentación del buque de investigación ARA Austral
  4. ^ a b Nestler, Ralf (31 May 2011). "Sonnenaufgang für die Meeresforscher" [Sunrise for marine researchers]. www.tagesspiegel.de (in German). Der Tagesspiegel. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  5. ^ "Das neue Forschungsschiff "Sonne" verlässt das Baudock I der MEYER WERFT". Retrieved 2014-04-06.
  6. ^ Frank Schätzing. The Swarm. p. Chapter "April 22nd".


External links[edit]