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08 May 2017

Article from Maritime-Executive by Wendy Laursen

A digitized film database of the polar ship the Nella Dan was released on Saturday and is now available for viewing online.

The database of over 75 films is hosted by Friends of Nella Dan, a group designed to bring old friends together and share their stories with the world. The Lauritzen Foundation, Springeren and KNUD E. HANSEN supported the development of the database which has over 20 hours of film footage from voyages in the Arctic and Antarctica between 1961 and 1987.

Nella Dan, built by Aalborg Shipyard, was launched in 1961 and sank on Christmas Eve in 1987. The last polar ship in J. Lauritzen’s proud fleet of red polar sisters, she sank in deep water off the Coast of Macquarie Island in the Southern Antarctic Ocean.

For over 25 years, Nella Dan served as a supply, expedition and research ship for the Danish interests in the northeast Greenland, as well as for French and Australian interests in the Antarctica.

Nella Dan and her polar sisters represent a piece of unique Danish maritime history that stretches far beyond the wild stories of young men, says Chairman of Friends of Nella Dan, Rasmus Nygaard. “It is all about geopolitical interests, expeditions and the occupation of the unknown. The Red polar ships made it possible to establish environmental research, marine biological surveys, registration of the population of marine mammals, observations of whaling and much more in the Antarctic.”

Nella Dan achieved legendary status among polar ships. Her track record of 85 trips and half a million nautical miles in Antarctica – or 24 times around the Earth – made her, among other things, the ship in Australian service with the most miles and the longest period beset in the ice.

She sank off Macquarie Island after dragging her anchor in heavy weather and hitting rocks close to the research station she was supplying in Buckles Bay. Damage to the vessel was immediate and serious with the hull holed in two places and water flooding the engine room. However, there were no casualties. Although plans were initially made to salvage the vessel, the decision was eventually made to scuttle her in deep water off Macquarie Island.

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