Blohm + Voss

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Blohm + Voss BV & Co. KG

legal form Limited partnership
founding April 5, 1877
Seat Hamburg , GermanyGermanyGermany 
  • Ralph Petersen
  • Thorsten Quade
Number of employees around 600 (2019)
Branch shipbuilding

Plant premises of Blohm + Voss: in front the entrance, in the middle the administration building, on the right behind the dry dock Elbe 17, on the top right Dock 10
Shipyard area

Blohm + Voss (spelling until 1965: Blohm & Voss) is a German shipyard with its headquarters in Hamburg-Steinwerder on the southern bank of the North Elbe . It was founded in 1877 and is the last of the large shipyards in the Port of Hamburg . Since 1996, the shipyard's business areas have been transferred to independent companies: Blohm + Voss Shipyard GmbH for shipbuilding, Blohm + Voss Repair GmbH for ship repairs and Blohm + Voss Industries GmbH for mechanical and plant engineering.

On September 28, 2016, the Lürssen shipyard in Bremen announced that it wanted to take over Blohm + Voss. The buyer was Lürssen Maritime Beteiligungen GmbH & Co KG , the parent company of the Lürssen Group. The company has been trading as Blohm + Voss BV & Co. KG since July 4, 2017


Blohm & Voss 1877

On April 5, 1877, Hermann Blohm and Ernst Voss founded the shipyard and machine factory Blohm & Voss as a general partnership . They leased an area of ​​15,000 m² on the Elbe island of Kuhwerder from the rather suspicious Senate of the Hanseatic City of Hamburg (spelling until 1946: Kuhwärder).

The Hamburg shipping companies preferably commissioned their new ships from established shipyards in England . Therefore, the newly founded shipyard lacked orders. The company built an iron barque at its own risk and expense , which was named Flora , and sold it to the Hamburg shipping company MG Amsinck . It wasn't until a year and a half after the company was founded that the first external order for a small paddle steamer called the Elbe was received . The first ship was launched on May 10, 1879, with the freight steamer Burg (hull number 3) .

Blohm & Voss was able to record further incoming orders, but the volume was only just enough. Therefore two more ships were built at their own expense and the Rosario was sold to Hamburg Süd and the Professor Woermann to Woermann-Linie .

With the construction of the floating dock Dock I , the focus was on repairs in addition to the new construction; this greatly improved the economic situation. As early as 1887, the management submitted an application to the Senate to expand the shipyard area. Blohm & Voss employed 1,200 people at that time. In 1891 it was converted into a partnership limited by shares . The Hamburg merchants Carl Laeisz and Adolph Woermann became chairmen of the supervisory board .

With the SMS Kaiser Karl der Große , a large warship was delivered to the Imperial Navy for the first time in 1899, after the small cruiser SMS Condor in 1892, as a result of the Fleet Act . As a result, the proportion of naval ships built increased significantly. The military branch of business generated high profits and was considered crisis-proof, since the Imperial Navy was arming in view of imperialist aspirations . The shipyard established itself as the main shipyard for battlecruisers of the Imperial Navy.

In 1905 the area was expanded to 560,000 m² with a three-kilometer waterfront through a new lease agreement with the Hamburg Senate. Blohm & Voss thus had the world's largest enclosed shipyard and, with the new hammer luffing crane, also the largest crane of its kind. This was followed in 1906 with a license agreement with Parsons for the construction of turbines , and the first turbine and four-screw ship was built with the small cruiser SMS Dresden Shipyard. During this time, the naval architect Ernst Foerster (shipbuilding engineer ) was head of construction at Blohm + Voss.

Dock 5, with a lifting capacity of 46,000 t, becomes the world's largest floating dock in 1908 . In 1913 Ernst Voss switched to the supervisory board , he died in 1920.

View of the shipyard area in 2009, with the Elbe 17 dry dock and two floating docks
Blohm + Voss shipyard west side in 2011

First World War

During the First World War , production was mainly converted to submarine construction, even if the company had no experience with submarines and the shipyards were not designed for such small structures. A total of 98 submarines were built. Only a few merchant ships, six large torpedo boats and the small cruiser SMS Cöln were built during the war years. Two battle cruisers of the Mackensen class have not been completed. Women and prisoners of war were used to replace the workers who had been drafted for military service .

Between the wars

View of Steinwerder and the shipyard in 1924

An attempt by a workers 'and soldiers' council to take control of the shipyard on November 11, 1918 failed. Due to the demands of the favorable exchange rates for foreign countries, there were many orders up to 1922 even without warship building. In the following years only a few ships were built, most of them for the HAPAG shipping companies and Norddeutscher Lloyd .

Hermann Blohm died in 1930, and his sons Rudolf and Walther Blohm had taken over management of the company since the end of the war. During the Great Depression, the shipyard was content with small orders and the scrapping of old ships. In 1932 the shipyard had just under 3,000 employees.

National Socialism and World War II

The Bismarck was launched on February 14, 1939

Rudolf and Walther Blohm welcomed the seizure of power by Hitler and the NSDAP , since public funds were now flowing into shipbuilding in preparation for the war and the number of orders increased again in the course of the armament of the Wehrmacht , even in exports. With the five new buildings in the Gorch-Fock-class , one of which ( Mircea ) for the Romanian naval forces , left to November 1939, again sail training ships the slipways shipyard. From 1933 Walther Blohm built up another mainstay with the subsidiary Hamburger Flugzeugbau (HFB) in Wenzendorf (later also Finkenwerder ). In the German Empire, the shipyard was one of the most important suppliers of merchant and war ships. Blohm & Voss built, among other things, the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper (1936) of the Kriegsmarine and the passenger ship Wilhelm Gustloff (1937) of the Nazi organization German Labor Front (DAF), which until the beginning of the war was its sub-organization Nazi community " Kraft durch Freude " (KdF) used for cruises . At this point in time, the shipyard again had around 14,000 employees. The celebrations for the launch of the battleship Bismarck on February 14, 1939, shown in detail in the cinema newsreels , were designed as a national propaganda show .

During the Second World War, the company focused entirely on submarine construction, mainly producing types VII C and XXI . B & V built 224 submarines about 20 percent of a total of 1,153 boats of the Navy and was the largest contractor before the Deschimag Group belonging AG Weser (162 boats) in Bremen. The 351 meter long Elbe 17 dry dock , built on the instructions of the Navy High Command , was completed in 1942 and leased to the shipyard. In the same year Rudolf Blohm became head of the main shipbuilding committee of the Reich Ministry for Armaments and Ammunition, headed by Albert Speer . His task was to increase submarine production for the Navy and at the same time to stimulate civil shipbuilding in occupied Europe. When he failed because he could not provide enough workers, materials and construction sites, he was removed from the post. There were also bottlenecks in our own shipyard. In order to be able to meet the requirements of the National Socialist government, in particular to increase the number of submarines, Walther and Rudolf Blohm deployed thousands of forced laborers from all over Europe. Today, 26 warehouses in the city are known that were operated by Blohm & Voss Schiffbau or in which they were involved, two of them on the Steinwärder site and two more on the area of B & V, Aircraft Construction Department (until 1937 HFB) in Finkenwerder .

From the summer of 1944, prisoners from the Neuengamme concentration camp were also deployed; on October 9, 1944, Blohm & Voss set up a subcamp of the concentration camp on the shipyard next to the south entrance of the Old Elbe Tunnel . Around 600 prisoners were interned there and forced to work, including large groups from Poland and the Soviet Union. About a fifth of the prisoners worked in the machine factory as lathe operators, machine builders, crane operators or in similar positions. After bombing raids, inmates were also used to disarm unexploded bombs and other cleanup work. Survivors reported regular mistreatment and harassment, both during and outside of work. The exact number of victims can no longer be determined; at least 250 dead must be assumed.

After the end of the war, Helgen crane scaffolding by Blohm & Voss with type XXI submarines
(photo from 1948)

In February 1945, 16,339 employees, mostly forced laborers and the prisoners who were forcibly recruited from the Neuengamme concentration camp, were still working at the shipyard. At the request of the company management, the SS had the satellite camp at Steinwärder cleared on April 12, 1945 and transported the prisoners who were still alive back to the Neuengamme main camp.

The shipyard was hit in a total of 38 air raids, the first time on May 18, 1940. A total of 1667 high-explosive and 3503 incendiary bombs were registered. Because of the three air raid shelters on the site , the number of victims among employees was relatively low. The shipyard was badly damaged at the end of the war, but it was still operational. On December 31, 1945, the British Military Administration ordered it to be closed. In 1946 the Helgen crane frames were blown up and in the following period, in accordance with the resolutions made in the final minutes of the Potsdam Conference, almost all of the remaining facilities were dismantled as reparations .

No memorial was set up for the subcamp on today's Hermann-Blohm-Strasse. However, Blohm + Voss pays an unknown amount into the compensation fund for slave labor every year . In 1953 the works council set up a memorial plaque for eleven former shipyard workers murdered in concentration camps on the company premises, including Dagobert Biermann and eight members of the Bästlein-Jacob-Abshagen group . The whereabouts of the tablet is unknown.

post war period

Sit-in strike at Blohm & Voss in Hamburg, May 7, 1947

In 1950 the shipyard had only 48 employees and 127 workers. After completion of the dismantling, Steinwerder Industrie AG was founded on April 1, 1951 , which gradually received permission to repair ships (1953), to build coastal (1954) and subsequently seagoing ships (end of 1954). This was followed in 1955 by the renaming of Blohm & Voss AG . 50 percent of the share capital was sold to Phoenix-Rheinrohr AG for 20 million D-Marks . This was majority owned by Amélie Thyssen . The Thyssen group thus got more and more influence and the Blohm family withdrew from the company over time. In the years that followed, the company focused primarily on building bulk carriers . Since 1962, orders from the German Navy and for warship buildings from all over the world have been accepted again.

After the re-commissioning of the Elbe 17 dock, which was closed after the Second World War, on December 12, 1967, the shipyard had one of the largest dry docks in Europe.

The shipyard's first full container ships (1st generation) were built in 1968 ; the Elbe Express and Alster Express for the Hamburg-American Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft (HAPAG) . About 7,800 people were employed at the time.

Mid 1970s to 2008

In the mid-1970s, Blohm + Voss expanded its product range to include "offshore" (oil rigs, supply and support facilities) and resumed naval shipbuilding with the newly developed MEKO type. This type has been successful in export since then. About 40 units (frigates, corvettes) have been built so far.

On January 1, 1986, the Ross plant of HDW (former Vulkanwerft ) was taken over and initially continued as an independent subsidiary, Ross Industrie GmbH . On October 1, 1987, the company ceased operations.

In 1995 Blohm + Voss AG became the independent company "Blohm + Voss GmbH", for shipbuilding at the shipyard with around 1000 employees, "Blohm + Voss Repair GmbH", for ship repairs and dock operations with around 350 employees, and "Blohm + Voss Industries GmbH ”, for mechanical and plant engineering with around 350 employees.

The Cosco Brisbane on April 3, 2005, shortly before completion

The three areas were combined under "Blohm + Voss Shipyards & Services" and from January 2005 to 2010 were part of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems AG (TKMS) , which in turn belonged to the "Technologies" area of ThyssenKrupp AG . Within TKMS, Blohm + Voss is primarily responsible for the development and construction of mega yachts and larger naval vessels .

The turbine division was taken over by MAN Turbo AG at the beginning of 2006 and the defense technology division of BVI by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann at the end of 2006 .

From January 5, 2005, the headquarters of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems were located at Blohm + Voss . These included:

Another reorganization took place in 2008 in order to make the civil shipbuilding and naval shipbuilding divisions more independent. Blohm + Voss GmbH was divided into:

  • Blohm + Voss Shipyards GmbH (civil)
  • TKMS Blohm + Voss Nordseewerke GmbH (Marine, since July 1, 2010 Blohm + Voss Naval GmbH)

Failed sale to Abu Dhabi MAR, 2009-2011

On October 15, 2009 it was announced that the sale of Blohm + Voss Shipyards GmbH , Blohm + Voss Repair GmbH and Blohm + Voss Industries GmbH was agreed with the Arab holding company Abu Dhabi MAR , an international shipbuilding group based in Abu Dhabi .

On March 24, 2010 Blohm + Voss, the last of the once numerous large shipyards in the Port of Hamburg, was officially sold to the Arab investor Abu Dhabi MAR . In April 2010, the purchase agreement for the acquisition of Blohm + Voss Shipyards in Hamburg and the manufacturing facilities for civil shipbuilding from the former HDW Gaarden including the employees in Kiel was completed. Abu Dhabi MAR was to receive 80% each of the Hamburg companies Blohm + Voss Repair and Blohm + Voss Industries . The companies also agreed on a partnership for the marine sector, which includes the establishment of a 50:50 joint venture called Blohm + Voss Naval for the design and project management of surface naval shipbuilding. At the end of June 2011, it became known that Abu Dhabi MAR was obviously having difficulties financing the purchase.

On July 1, 2011 ThyssenKrupp announced that the sale of Blohm + Voss would not take place after all. Only the civil part of HDW in Kiel-Gaarden (now German Naval Yards Holdings ) would be sold to Abu Dhabi MAR . ThyssenKrupp had announced the sale of the civilian parts of Blohm + Voss in Hamburg and Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) in Kiel to the holding company in 2009, but the detailed negotiations had repeatedly been delayed. In the last few months, essential requirements for a joint approach have changed, it was now said. Blohm + Voss thus remained under the management of ThyssenKrupp.

Owner of Star Capital 2011 to 2016

In mid-September 2011, both the Bremen-Vegesack-based Lürssen shipyard and the British private equity fund Star Capital Partners expressed their interest in a takeover that could also be limited to selected activities. At the beginning of December 2011, ThyssenKrupp approved the sale to Star Capital, which only affected the civilian part of the shipyard with almost 1,500 employees and the companies Blohm + Voss Shipyards, Blohm + Voss Repair (including Blohm + Voss Oil Tools) and Blohm + Voss Industries as well their subsidiaries. The sale was completed on February 27, 2012. The purchase price was given at around 150 million euros.

With this sale, ThyssenKrupp and Blohm + Voss were separated. ThyssenKrupp is now concentrating on naval shipbuilding through ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems ( TKMS ).

Sale of parts of the company by Star Capital

  • Star Capital sold the Blohm + Voss Industries division to the SKF Group in early 2013 . Today the company operates under the name “ SKF Marine GmbH ”.
  • On July 1, 2013, Oil-Tools was sold to the American company Forum Energy Technologies and now operates under the name Forum B + V Oil Tools
  • The subsidiary for inspection services Blohm + Voss Inspection Service GmbH (BIS) was taken over by the Zeppelin Group with retroactive effect from October 1, 2013 . It was continued as a subsidiary of Zeppelin Rental GmbH & Co. KG based in Garching as BIS Inspection Service GmbH .
Merger of Blohm + Voss Repair and Blohm + Voss Shipyards to form Blohm + Voss GmbH

The Dutch manager Fred van Beers led the company from March 1, 2015 until the takeover by the Lürssen shipyard group. He arranged for the companies Blohm + Voss Shipyards and Blohm + Voss Repair to be merged to form "Blohm + Voss GmbH" and also for the construction department to move from Kiel to Hamburg to focus the "Yachts" business unit. The production areas have been subdivided into customer segments as BUs "Production Services", "Ship Services" and "Power Plant and Marine Systems".

Takeover by the Lürssen shipyard group in November 2016

The planned takeover of Blohm + Voss by the Lürssen shipyard group was announced on September 28, 2016 . The buyer was Lürssen Maritime Beteiligungen GmbH & Co KG, the parent company of the Lürssen Group. After approval by the Federal Cartel Office, the transaction became effective on November 11, 2016. The takeover strengthens Lürssen's position in the refit business for yachts. The service portfolio in the repair business of commercial ships (merchant ships and cruisers) is expanded by Blohm + Voss and the new construction business of naval ships is rounded off within the Lürssen Group. Blohm + Voss has been working with Lürssen for years on the construction of naval ships, currently on the construction of the frigate class F125 and the 2nd lot of the corvette K130 for the German Navy.

Change of legal form to a limited partnership

Effective July 4, 2017, Blohm + Voss GmbH was transformed into Blohm + Voss BV & Co. KG as part of the ongoing integration process with the Lürssen Group. With this conversion into the legal form of a limited partnership, the structure was brought into line with that of the entire Lürssen Group.

Ships built (selection)

The Lady Moura in the port of Monaco

The mega yacht Lady Moura was built in 1990 to a design by the Italian architect Luigi Sturchio and redesigned in 2003. With a length of 104.85 meters, she is one of the super yachts in terms of total length. Their tank capacity enables transatlantic trips. The crew area offers space for over 60 crew members. Their maximum speed is around 20 knots; among other things, it has a helicopter landing pad. The ship belongs to the Saudi Arabian construction company Mohammed Nasser ar-Raschid (or: al-Raschid), flies the flag of the Bahamas and has Palma as its home port.

The ECO (later Katana , now under the name Enigma ) is designed for high speed (38 knots) with gas turbines and three water jets. It has a total length of 74.5 meters. Originally, the Mexican media tsar Emilio Azcarraga-Milmo had the unusual yacht with the bidirectional mirror panes built as an ECO , but shortly after delivery he sold it to Oracle boss Larry Ellison , who renamed it Katana . It has been renamed Enigma and belongs to the brothers David and Frederick Barclay .


See also


  • Olaf Mertelsmann: Between war, revolution and inflation: the Blohm & Voss shipyard 1914–1923 (dissertation, 2000). CH Beck 2003, ISBN 978-3-406-51060-1 . (Series of publications on the journal for corporate history )
  • Andreas Meyhoff: Blohm & Voss in the “Third Reich”. A major Hamburg shipyard between business and politics ( Hamburg Contributions to Social and Contemporary History , Volume 38). Hamburg 2001
  • Herbert Diercks : The Port of Hamburg under National Socialism. Economy, Forced Labor, and Resistance . Concentration camp memorial, Neuengamme 2008
  • Adam Tooze , Yvonne Badal (translator): Economy of Destruction. The history of the economy in NS . Siedler, Munich 2007 (first English 2006) ISBN 978-3-88680-857-1 , passim, in particular pp. 701–708. New edition BpB ( series of publications by the Federal Agency for Civic Education , Volume 663) ISBN 978-3-89331-822-3 . New edition Pantheon, Munich 2008, ISBN 3-570-55056-7 .
  • Blohm + Voss docks well filled . In: Hansa , Heft 6/2012, p. 22, Schiffahrts-Verlag Hansa, Hamburg, ISSN  0017-7504
  • the historical company archive of Blohm & Voss is now in the Hamburg State Archive

Web links

Commons : Blohm + Voss  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ The traditional Hamburg shipyard Blohm + Voss is sold
  2. Timeline Blohm + Voss. ( Memento of November 10, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF) accessed on March 25, 2010
  3. a b Technical description Dock 5, 12 , website Blohm + Voss; Retrieved December 27, 2008
  4. Blohm & Voss, Hamburg on (English)
  5. AG Weser, Bremen on (English)
  6. Forced labor in the Hamburg war economy. Retrieved December 7, 2009
  7. Andreas Meyhoff: Blohm & Voss in the "Third Reich" . 2001
  8. Herbert Diercks: The Port of Hamburg under National Socialism , 2008
  9. Abu Dhabi joins Blohm + Voss . , October 15, 2009; Retrieved November 21, 2009
  10. Abu Dhabi MAR and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems establish strategic partnership . ( Memento of January 31, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF) Press release from TKMS, April 14, 2010
  11. ThyssenKrupp fails with the sale of Blohm + Voss .
  12. Offer for Blohm + Voss annoys ThyssenKrupp. In: Financial Times Germany. Archived from the original on November 25, 2011 ; Retrieved January 13, 2012 .
  13. ThyssenKrupp pushes forward strategic development: ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems sells civil shipbuilding to Star Capital Partners from England .
  14. Blohm + Voss managing director Aly "Every billionaire should order a luxury yacht" FAZ Online , February 27, 2012
  15. Shipbuilding company Blohm + Voss sells mechanical engineering division . Handelsblatt
  16. ^ Takeover by SKF . In: Schiff & Hafen , issue 2/2013, p. 9, Seehafen-Verlag, Hamburg 2013, ISSN  0938-1643
  17. Company homepage Oil-Tools
  18. Zeppelin Group buys Blohm + Voss Inspection Service GmbH . ( Memento from April 19, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Press release from Zeppelin GmbH, April 1, 2014; Retrieved July 8, 2014
  19. B + V Inspection Service bought . In: Schiff & Hafen , issue 5/2014, p. 6
  20. ( Memento from January 19, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF) Press release from Blohm + Voss, accessed on January 19, 2016
  21. (PDF) Press release from Blohm + Voss, accessed on January 19, 2016

Coordinates: 53 ° 32 ′ 32 "  N , 9 ° 57 ′ 21"  E