#Tallships - A pair of ships, one a Danish trainee tallship, the other a former Norwegian 'Hurtigruten' coastal passenger/cargoship but trading now as a cruiseship, are anchored closely to each other off Bantry, Co. Cork today, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The tallship is Danmark, which provides 80 trainees to learn sailing skills from MARTEC- the maritime and polytechnic college based in the Nordic country's cityport of Frederikshavn.
For the past 75 years, Danmark has been the principal training ship for the state of Denmark. From 2003, the operation of the trainee ship transferred to MARTEC, however the vessel still remains as state property. A major refit of the berth decks took place just over a decade ago, this led to an upgrade of the teaching facilities and the installation of air-conditioning.
The other Bantry Bay anchored ship, Serenissima, is a small luxury expedition cruiseship that once plied on the famous Norwegian 'Hurtigruten' coastal fjords voyage when named the Harald Jarl.
Since 2003, the role of the the ship changed having been sold to become the 59 cabin capacity cruiseship Andrea but now trades as Serenissima for Noble Caledonia. They deployed the 160 passenger cruiseship to Irish ports among them Dun Laoghaire Harbour where a call was made last season.
Serenissima had called to the same berth where the Frederikshavn registered Stena Carrier in recent weeks occupied the Carlisle Pier. The pier provided the venue last Sunday for the Red Bull Flug-Tag event that saw handmade aircraft attempted to take off!
The Danmark's trainee season schedule for 2018 is currently operating Voyage no. 105. According to MARTEC, trainees began attending the maritime sea-craft skills school in January, and by March the ship departed the waters of Scandinavia bound for Cadiz, Spain.
The tallship's last port of call was Ponta Delgada. This is the capital on São Miguel Island, part of the Azores archipelago of Portugal.
Danmark was commissioned by the ship's namesake government in 1932 at the Nakskov Shipyard in Lolland and was fitted out as a three mast full-rig ship. The decision of this rig was seen as the most complex and therefore demanding to keep most hands busy when the ship entered service the following year.
For many years, all officer apprentices from major Danish shipping companies joined a mandatory training voyage.
In 1939, Danmark visited the United States to participate in the World’s Fair held in New York City. The outbreak of hostilities of WWII however on the other side of the Altantic, forced the ship to stay in US waters to avoid the Germans capturing the vessel.
During the war, Danmark was based in Jacksonville, Florida. It was after the attack on Pearl Harbor, that the captain offered the ship to the U.S. government for the continued purposes as a training vessel. The offer was accepted which led to the ship spending the rest of the war by training cadets at the United States Coast Guard Academy.
This role in the USCG would remain until 1946 when the Danmark was returned unharmed, resulting in resuming training duties for the Scandinavian state.