Historic German Schooner Sinks After Collision with Containership on Elbe River

Elbe No. 5 collision
Photo credit: Freiwillige Feuerwehr Hansestadt Stade

Seven people were injured Saturday after a 19th-century wooden schooner collided with a containership on the Elbe River in Germany.

German fire officials reported that there were 43 people aboard the historic 37-meter Elbe No. 5 when it collided with the 150-meter Cyprus-flagged containership Astrosprinter near Hamburg on Saturday afternoon.

Luckily, fire fighters were attending a nearby incident and were quick to respond, helping rescue all 43 people on board.

The ship was eventually moved to a nearby estuary where it partially sank.

Built in 1883, the Elbe No. 5 is Hamburg’s oldest wooden ship still in operation, according to Hamburg Maritime Foundation, which has owned the ship since 2002. The Elbe No. 5 originally operated as a pilot vessel for more than 30 years, but later used as a private yacht, credited with making 13 transatlantic crossings, according to Hamburg Maritime Foundation’s website.

To make matters worse, the schooner had only recently completed a major renovation, returning to its home port on May 29th.

Hamburg Maritime Foundation released a statement reading, in part:

“With great sadness we regret the collision and feel very much with the passengers and members of the ship’s crew who have come to harm. We hope the injuries can be cured quickly.”

As of Monday the Elbe No. 5 was awaiting salvage. The Astrosprinter was moored near its destination of the Immingham, England.

The cause of the collision is under investigation.

The incident photos below are courtesy Freiwillige Feuerwehr Hansestadt Stade: