The forecastle of the future corvette “Karlsruhe” passed the former frigate “Karlsruhe” on August 18 at the Kiel Naval Arsenal.
The destination of the “half” corvette is almost 95 nautical miles to the south, in the former Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, which today belongs to the Lürssen Group. The front part of the future “Karlsruhe” began its journey from Kiel to Hamburg with the help of tugs. And this is exactly where a historic naval moment originated. Immediately after leaving the shipyard in Kiel, the forecastle with hull number 3 passed the former frigate “Karlsruhe” on the starboard side. You could say new meets old.
On August 14th, shipyard workers launched the front part of the future “Karlsruhe” with a gantry crane in Kiel. Before that, the 50-meter-long section of the ship, weighing at least 430 tons, made the way from the construction site to the waterfront hanging from the crane. The crossing through the Kiel Canal (NOK) to Hamburg took 15 hours. Two tugs, one at the bow and one aft, transferred the propulsionless foredeck to the shipyard. The second part of the corvette “Karlsruhe”, the so-called aft ship, is also on the way from Wolgast to Hamburg. It is scheduled to arrive on August 22nd. Originally a joint convoy of the two parts through the Kiel Canal was planned. Due to the stormy weather, the shipyard in Wolgast postponed the move.
After the two parts arrive, the shipyard workers carry out the so-called “wedding thrust”. In this section of the work, the shipyard workers weld the foredeck to the aft. This process requires the greatest precision. Tugs swim the two parts of the ship into a dock, which is then drained. The shipyard workers fix the aft section at a fixed location, while the fore section can be moved on a movable carriage for corrections. Next, welders burn out the floating bulkheads, these are open areas that were welded shut in Kiel for the purpose of transfer and buoyancy. Finally, the employees join the two parts in a long weld seam.
In total, the German Navy commissioned the construction of five more corvettes (2nd lot) in 2017. The names of the corvettes have already been determined: in addition to the “Karlsruhe”, the Navy will put the “Köln”, “Emden”, “Augsburg” and “Lübeck” into service in the future. The boats are delivered by the consortium (ARGE) K130. Two foreships are manufactured and pre-equipped at the Lürssen shipyard in Bremen, three at the Kiel location. The five aft aisles are manufactured at the Wolgast Peene shipyard.
The frigate “Karlsruhe” with the former designation F 212 served the Navy for over 33 years. In 2017 the frigate was taken out of service after 784,467.9 nautical miles. Then the Wehrtechnische Dienststelle 71 used the ship for blasting tests in the restricted area Schönhagen, near Eckernförde. The former frigate is currently in the naval arsenal in Kiel.
The meeting of the prospective corvette “Karlsruhe” with the disused frigate “Karlsruhe” in Kiel is therefore a specialty in everyday naval life. However, this meeting will probably not be repeated. Because if the corvette goes under the service flag for the naval forces, the frigate will probably no longer be in Kiel.