Scharhörn

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For other uses, see Scharhorn (disambiguation).
Scharhörn
11-09-04-fotoflug-nordsee-by-RalfR-018.jpg
Aerial photograph of Scharhörn
Geography
Location North Sea, Wadden Sea, Elbe mouth
Coordinates 53°57′42″N 8°26′29″E / 53.96167°N 8.44139°E / 53.96167; 8.44139
Area 20 ha (49 acres)
Administration
Germany
State Hamburg
Borough Hamburg-Mitte
Quarter Hamburg-Neuwerk
Demographics
Population 0 (uninhabited)
Pop. density 0 /km2 (0 /sq mi)

Scharhörn is an uninhabited island in the North Sea belonging to the city of Hamburg, Germany.

Geography[edit]

Scharhörn lies by the mouth of the Elbe, approximately 15 km northwest from Cuxhaven and 6 km northwest from the nearby island of Neuwerk. It is a part of Zone 1 of the Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park. Aside from a bird warden, the island has no permanent residents.

Together with the artificial island of Nigehörn the island lies on a large sandbank. Historically the whole area including the reef was called Scharhörn and the sandbank Scharhörnplate. After the human supported formation of the island in the 1920s and finally with the creation of Nigehörn on the same sandbank, the name Scharhörn was only used for the island. Though Scharhörn is generally flood-safe, the 6 m high banks of the island are not protected, so the island faces permanent loss of land on the western side as storm floods gradually shift the sandbank eastward.

The sandbank on which Scharhörn and Nigehörn lie is a European Union Natura 2000-designated bird sanctuary, tended to by the environmental group Verein Jordsand. The area, known as Scharhörnplate, is around 2.75 km long and 1.5 km wide with an area of approximately 500 ha. Public access to the island is forbidden, except on official tours or by prior arrangement with the warden.

History[edit]

In 1937, the island became part of the Prussian Province of Hanover as a result of the Greater Hamburg Act. The island changed hands again in 1947, when it became part of the newly-drawn state of Lower Saxony, and again in 1969, when it was returned under a treaty to the control of Hamburg for the purpose of constructing a proposed deepwater port on Scharhörn and nearby Neuwerk. The plans foresaw the construction of a 6000 ha mound of land built from dredged sand, which was to be safe from the storm floods of the North Sea and connected to the mainland via a causeway from Scharhörn to Neuwerk to Cuxhaven.[1] The plan was never realised, plagued by protests, high costs, and low levels of public support, but nevertheless remains included in the land use plan of Hamburg.[2]

Shipwrecks[edit]

Das Watt bei Scharhörn, Ferdinand Lindner, 1880
Shipwrecks near Scharhörn (see also near Neuwerk)
Date Vessel and description
23 November 1815 Lisbon was wrecked on the Scharhörn Sand. Her crew were rescued.
27 September 1815 Borsenhalle was driven ashore and later refloated.
1 December 1821[3] Carthagena, Catherine, or Catharina was driven ashore and wrecked on Scharhörn with the loss of all hands.
1829 Romulus was wrecked
12 December 1829 Lowe was driven ashore and abandoned on 28 December.
24 August 1830 Unternehmung was lost
1831 Vrow Angelina was driven ashore before 22 November. She was refloated but was subsequently wrecked on the Whitt Sand with the loss of all but one of her crew.
5 April 1833 Palm was driven ashore and damageded. Her crew were rescued. Palm was refloated on 10 April and taken in to Cuxhaven.
1834 Wharf was driven ashore
21 October 1931 Peder Most ran aground and was refloated on 24 October.
29 March 1939 Adele Ohlrogge ran aground at Scharhörn and refloated the next day.
29 December 1940 PLM-23 ran aground and was wrecked.
4 January 1954 Leros and Traunstein ran aground. Traunstein was refloated on the same day but Leros was almost lost in many damaging attempts to save the coast from a huge oil spill. She was pulled off the reef and towed into Cuxhaven on early morning Saturday January 10.[4][5]
17 January 1955 Gerda Maersk ran aground

References[edit]