Concrete ship

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Paul Kossel , German Maritime Museum Bremerhaven
Concrete ship Capella in Rostock
Concrete ship Hans Martin in Norway, Porsgrunn Maritime Museum
Concrete ship Treue at the Schlachte in Bremen
Stranded concrete ship in the Wismar Bay (Baltic Sea) off Redentin; see also Redentin's concrete ship

A concrete ship is a ship with a hull made of concrete that is stiffened with steel or other tensile reinforcement inserts.


The building material concrete is inexpensive and the amount of reinforcement steel is less than in a ship that is made entirely of steel. One-offs are complex, whereas the use of concrete formwork enables cost-saving series production. Furthermore, concrete is very resistant. Damage from wood pests, for example, is eliminated, and the adhesion of algae and marine animals is minimal compared to other shipbuilding materials. Maintenance and repair costs are lower than for conventional ships.

Disadvantages are the required large wall thicknesses and the resulting large weight (mass) of larger ships, which have a negative effect on the operating costs, the load-bearing capacity for the same size and the maneuverability . In conventional shipbuilding, steel, wood or plastics are usually used. The building material concrete is uncommon in this area. Advances in materials research enable the use of concrete and reinforcement material with improved properties, particularly with regard to weight and flexibility.


The first vehicle in reinforced concrete was manufactured as a boat by Joseph-Louis Lambot in 1848 and shown at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1855 . Around 1860, concrete barges for canal navigation were built in the Netherlands. In Italy, Carlo Gabellini began building smaller ships made of reinforced concrete around 1860. The most famous of his ships was the Liguria .

In times when steel was scarce , the idea of making ships out of reinforced concrete (and especially ferrocement) was used. Friedrich Achenbach and Gottfried Feder were pioneers in German concrete shipbuilding . Around the period from 1916 to 1918, the cargo ship building, which was heavily demanded by the war-related losses, attempted to use reinforced concrete merchant ships, which were also built and used a few years later. Due to the design, which was based too much on the conventional frame construction , there was still no series production. The ships were difficult to maneuver and also showed poor sea characteristics. Concrete barges were built on the Danube during the First World War and afterwards by the construction company Wayss & Freytag . In America, too, a number of concrete ships were built during this time, in 1917 the Namsenfjord was built as the first sea-going concrete ship, and in 1918 the Faith .

In 1921 the concrete motor tractor Paul Kossel was built due to the steel shortage .

During the Second World War , concrete ships were built again. By using the shell construction , which is cheaper for concrete , these vehicles could be mass-produced economically from around 1940. Four basic types were planned: lighter for inland navigation, tankers, freighters and coasters. Steel savings of up to 70% could be achieved, which also reduced the susceptibility to mines with magneto ignition. The construction company DYWIDAG (Dyckerhoff & Widmann) manufactured a large part of the hulls in cooperation with various shipyards (the number is unclear; at least 50 pieces, estimates go up to 200 pieces). Ulrich Finsterwalder promoted the development of the shell construction .

Concrete shipbuilding was also intensified by the USA during World War II. Only some of these ships (FCB Ferroconcrete Barge, LST Landing Ship Tank) were used. Others were used in American commercial shipping after the war . Ten of these ships, including the USS Quartz (IX-150) , which was used in the atomic bomb test Operation Crossroads , were still in use as breakwaters in Canada in 2015 (Lage) .

As part of a project sponsored by the USA, a prototype for patrol boats of the Swift PCF-2 type was manufactured in concrete in the Philippines and in South Vietnam in 1969 . The Vietnamese Navy had 71 Yabuta- type concrete junks in use. Mid-1970s, a seaworthy was LNG - tankers developed, but it never came to production.

Due to the long service life of the hulls, there are still quite a few older ships in use.

Ships or boats are still built in reinforced concrete and concrete boat building competitions are held among students .

Well-known concrete ships

  • The Capella is located on the banks of the Warnow in Rostock . It belongs to the Rostock shipbuilding and shipping museum and is used as an exhibition room. The soul light of the Wiking type has no drive of its own. Two drive machines were provided for this in the planning. The ship only spent the years up to the museum's use in the water, a tributary of the Warnow , and still swims today.
  • The concrete ship Redentin is located in Wismar Bay at Redentin. It is a concrete ship of the "Seeleichter Wiking Motor" type and was part of a series of more than 50 motorized freighters built at various construction sites for the " Speer Transport Fleet " during the Second World War .
  • The Cementesse is a schooner that was built at the Aroldsen shipyard in Aroldsen from 1975 to 1982. The ship belongs to the fleet of the Schiffergilde Bremerhaven.
  • The Heraclitus is a concrete junk . She has been sailing since 1975 on behalf of the Institute of Ecotechnics and enables maritime investigations with her research trips.
  • The Kranich VII was launched in June 2002. It was designed and manufactured by Willi Hartung in 17 years of work and was 100% self-made. The yacht has an overall length of 15 m and a hull length of 14 m. She is 4.2 m wide and has a draft of 2 m. The mast measures 17 m above deck. In the event that there is not enough wind, the yacht is powered by a diesel engine of 53.8 HP max / 50 HP continuous output.
  • The Paul Kossel , a cement launch built as a motor tug , is located in the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven and can be viewed there.
  • The concrete ship Riverboat has been in Lübeck since the 1950s . The ship is 55 meters long and 7.5 meters wide and never had its own drive. It was built by DYWIDAG (Dyckerhoff & Widmann) in Holland in 1943 and served as a refuge for refugees shortly after the war. At the end of the 1970s it was turned into a jazz bar, and now, completely refurbished, it is located in Lübeck's Klughafen as a catering ship. One part of the ship is home to a trendy restaurant, while the other part is rented out for company events and celebrations.
  • Kerkschip St. Jozef is a church on a concrete ship (former German submarine tender ) in Antwerp .
  • The coaster Treue was built in 1943 because of the scarce steel made from waterproof concrete. It transported wood on the North and Baltic Seas for almost two decades . Deleted from the shipping register in 1962, the Treue initially served as a floating motorcycle workshop and later as a storage boat in the port of Hamburg . In the meantime she is in Bremen as a floating event and catering ship .
  • The tanker Palo Alto was built in Oakland in 1919 and lies as a wreck on the beach in Aptos , California .
  • The wreck of the Ulrich Finsterwalder lies on a sandbank in front of Inoujście (location) .

See also


in alphabetical order by authors / editors

  • Friedrich Achenbach : Basic considerations on reinforced concrete shipbuilding . In: Yearbook of the Shipbuilding Society 20 (1921). ISSN 0374-1222, p. 280 ff.
  • AA Boon: The construction of ships made of reinforced concrete = special print made of concrete and iron 1917. Digital copy: [1] .
  • Colin Brookes: Ferro-cement Boats . International Marine Pub. ISBN 0-9521067-3-6
  • Peter Danker-Carstensen: Concrete shipbuilding in Germany . In: Deutsches Schiffahrtsarchiv 32 (2010), p. 107 ff.
  • W. Petry: On the question of reinforced concrete shipbuilding . Zementverlag, Charlottenburg 1920.
  • Jack R. Whitener: Ferro-Cement Boat Construction . ISBN 978-0-87033-140-4

Web links

Commons : Concrete Ships  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Barque de Lambot, 1849 ( Memento of November 18, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) Documentation of the first concrete boat, Comité d'Histoire de l'Equipement, des Transports et du Logement (PDF; 116 kB)
  2. ^ Terroirs et métiers d'autrefois. Archived from the original on February 13, 2016 ; accessed on March 15, 2019 (French). Brignoles Museum
  3. ^ A b Robert Eberhardt: Concrete Shipbuilding in San Diego, 1918–1920. In: Journal of San Diego History. 41: 2, Spring 1995.
  4. NK Fougner: Seagoing and Other Concrete Ships , Oxford Technical Publications, Henry Frowde and Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1922nd
  5. Dirk J. Peters: 82 years ago: concrete ship 'Paul Kossel' on a test drive. In: Deutsche Schiffahrt , 25 (2003) 2, pp. 12-13.
  6. Overview of the shipyards with concrete shipbuilding and construction directories ( Memento from October 15, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (English)
  7. FCB information about concrete ships in England
  8. Lost Places - Ships made of concrete (20:14)
  9. Patrol boat prototypes Philippines, South Vietnam
  10. Vietnam, Betondschunke type Yabuta
  11. Jan Grambow: And it does swim . In: Berliner Zeitung , September 20, 2005
  12. Market overview of existing reinforced concrete ships
  13. Open-air exhibition - sea mark and beacon
  14. staysail schooner Cement Esse , Schiffergilde Bremerhaven.
  15. junk Heraclitus, Institute of Ecotechnics ( Memento of 13 February 2016 Internet Archive )
  16. Paul Kossel, concrete hull vessel ( Memento of 20 July 2012 at the Internet Archive ) German, Maritime Museum
  17. CS Riverboat, Betonschiff, Lübeck ( Memento from June 27, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  18. Sint-Jozef, Antwerp ( Memento from December 19, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Concrete ship as a church (Dutch)
  19. ^ MS Treue, concrete ship, coaster, Bremen