Share this page:

The NELLA DAN exhibition October 6th, 2021, at the M/S Museet for Søfart/ the Maritime Museum of Denmark

60 years ago in October 1961, MV NELLA DAN was on her final sea trials getting ready for the first season for ANARE – Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions. Built in Aalborg, Denmark. It was at the end of November when she first steamed off from Copenhagen for her maiden voyage in the ANARE service.

Today we are celebrating the little red ship and the close camaraderie of the crew, families, expeditioners, and stationers that flourished from the very first season. This comradery, like no other has lasted for so many years through the everlasting memories and tales from back in the heydays on board the Nella Dan. Comprised from the solid experience of her older sisters, Kista, Magga and Thala, Dr. Phil Law and ANARE had a great influence on outlining the design and specifications for the little red ship where it just so happened that the Nella was destined to become the sole backbone and core foundation for ANARE’s endeavor to build-up todays modern Australian Antarctic Program.

Nella was the child to love – the red-haired little sister – planned to be named JETTA DAN because she was to be the largest and strongest of the J. Lauritzen’s polar vessels but came to be named NELLA DAN maybe because she was the prettiest and the funniest – but perhaps it was because she was named after an Australian artist and polar expeditioner, Ms. Nel Law, wife of Dr. Phil Law.

Nella Dan was state-of-the art in 1961. Built from the experience of operating the other polar vessels adding the latest technology and operating procedures. With a total of 125 voyages in High Arctic and Antarctic, she became a legendary vessel even before the tragic incidence on Macquarie Island, December 1987. Literally thousands of crews, families, locals, stationers, expeditioners, passengers, friends and lovers have been dependent on the little red ship to arrive through the ice and bring relief through more than 25 years. And to we, who sailed her, it was a very special time of our lives.

Hence it is with utter pride that we at KNUD E. HANSEN at the grand opening of the NELLA DAN exhibition October 6th, 2021, at the M/S Museet for Søfart/ the Maritime Museum of Denmark, based in Elsinore, can state that the new state-of-the-art research icebreaker, the RSV Nuyina is on her maiden voyage home to Hobart, where she will serve the AAD in many years to come. Due to arrive for celebrations on October 16th. We are sure that Kim Ellis and his team at AAD is right now waiting in utmost anticipation to finally berth the world’s largest and most advanced research and supply icebreaker alongside Macquarie Wharf in Hobart.

RSV Nuyina was designed here at KNUD E. HANSEN in Elsinore, Denmark under the leadership of Finn Wollesen, who himself sailed on board Nella Dan in 1961-65 as a child with his father, the late telegraph officer, Christian Wollesen Petersen – to which he himself was crew on board the Nella in 1982-1985. It is no wonder that RSV Nuyina was nicknamed Nella Dan II for working title during the early design process. The Nella is in our blood at KNUD E. HANSEN.

From the exhibition:

“Can you love a ship?

For those who sailed on the NELLA DAN, the answer is obvious. Yes – of course you can.
In the Nordic summers, the NELLA DAN brought goods to East Greenland and when the sun rode high in the south, it set off to Antarctica carrying supplies for the outposts of the polar explorers.
The NELLA DAN and the other red vessels in J. Lauritzen’s polar fleet were known as the migratory birds, the sailors on board were never at home, yet always home.
The NELLA DAN fulfilled the sailor’s dream of travelling the world to places that almost no-one will ever see and being part of a community others can only dream of.

M/S Museet for Søfart/ the Maritime Museum of Denmark

Name:  Nella Dan
Owner: J. Lauritzen
Port of registry: Esbjerg, Denmark
Builder: Aalborg Shipyard Pty Ltd
Yard number: 109
Launched: 13 June 1961
Completed: 4 October 1961
Refit: 1971, 1980 and 1987
IMO number: 5248762
Call sign: OZKC
Fate:  Wrecked and scuttled 1987
Class and type:  Icebreaker class I
Type: Polar supply vessel
Tonnage: BRT 2186/ 2206, NRT 1060
Length: 75.5 m
Beam: 14.3 m
Draft: 6.268 m
Propulsion: 2520 HP B&W diesel 8-cyl. 2SA 835-VBF-620 engine
Speed: 12.5 knots
Aircraft carried: Helicopter deck
Notes: 33 crew, 54 passengers



Related articles

ARSV Icebreaker Antarctic Supply and Research Vessel
  • Vessel type: Arctic
  • Vessel name: Nuyina
  • Project number: 13006
Read more
A Lifetime of Love for Nella Dan and “Nella Dan II”
Read more
Nella Dan: A Legend Among Polar Ships
Read more
Sign up for our newsletter