Floating laboratory heading for WVB

A German research vessel and a navy ship will be two of the more than 30 vessels scheduled to visit the Port of Walvis Bay this month.

10 September 2019 | Infrastructure

The provisional port log released by the Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) shows that more than 30 vessels will call at the Port of Walvis Bay for September.

This total could increase over time, with the confirmed visits including six fishing vessels, 13 container vessels, four RoRos, four multipurpose vessels, one bulk carrier, a general cargo vessel, the seismic 2D/source vessel Discoverer 2, the research vessel Meteor and one navy vessel.

Details of the navy vessel scheduled to call on 15 September has not been released yet.

The Meteor will arrive on 18 September. This floating laboratory called for the first of seven scheduled visits to the port this year on 3 January as part of a ten-stage expedition, with the South Atlantic as the region of research.

The Meteor has been on a research cruise doing ground-breaking maritime research, including along the Angolan-­Namibian coastline, since 2013.

This work helps to understand the composition and reactions of the ocean better, especially the phenomenon of upwelling (the wind-driven motion of dense, cooler water towards the ocean surface, replacing the warmer surface water) and the creation and disintegration of upwelling filaments (finger-shaped formations of the upwelling layers) off the coast of Namibia and Angola and the role they play in the exchange of warmth between the coastal ocean and the high sea.

The cruise includes a capacity building component for scientists, graduates and undergraduate students from Namibian and Angolan project partner institutes such as the National Marine Information and Research Centre, Unam and the ministry of fisheries and marine resources.

The 97.5m vessel ope­rates mainly in high seas and is an ocean-going platform for research activities in almost all oceanographic disciplines.

It is Germany's third largest research vessel and is used for basic research in a number of scientific disciplines, including the study of air, water, organisms and the earth's surface.

The ship accommodates 28 research personnel and operates in the Atlantic, the eastern Pacific, the West Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea.


The vessel resembles a small self-sufficient town, with its own power plant, environmentally friendly waste treatment, biological sewage treatment, production of drinking water and air conditioning.

Four hundred square metres of lab space, research winches equipped with various wires and cables­ up to 11 000m long, as well as various cranes and elevators enable the exploration of all oceanic regions on earth.

The current vessel started its services in 1986 and has sailed a distance of over 1 million nautical miles since then. This means she sailed around the world more than 30 times and carried more than 9 900 scientist during 9 363 days at sea.

Thirty scientists can work around the clock in the best conditions, supported by an experienced crew on board the Meteor.


The meteorological station on board the ship is staffed by a meteorologist and a meteorological radio operator of the Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD Hamburg).

Work on-board the Meteor is immense. Scientists and crew members collaborate closely and manage approximately 30 888 scientific working stations.

They collected and ­analysed samples from 20 000 stations, from the air, the water column and the sediment layers. The sea floor was also charted and geophysical measurements conducted.

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