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Hafengeburtstag Hamburg © Photo:, K.-U. Gundlach

Over 300 vessels expected for Port Anniversary celebrations

828th Port Anniversary celebrations gets underway from May 5-7 - parades among highlights

Over 300 vessels are expected for the 828th Port Anniversary celebrations in Hamburg with around 200 events on the agenda. The festivities in Hamburg mark one of the biggest harbour fests worldwide. Events start at 5 pm on Friday, May 5 with the outlet parade of ships led by the English frigate HMS Iron Duke followed by many elegant windjammers, modern vessels used by the navy, fire brigade, coastguard as well as motorboats, yachts, traditional and museum ships. They include the 159-metre Cap San Diego bulk carrier, normally anchored at the three-masted Rickmer Rickmers near the Landungsbrücken, and which is considered a landmark of Hamburg.

Parades’ challenges

Such huge, waterborne parades require plenty of co-ordination and organisation, said Heike Masuch, Hamburg Port Authority, who ensures that everything goes smoothly. “Planning the parades and the sequence of the vessels depends mainly on their berths. Vessels in Brandenburger Hafen, for instance, are moored to inner berths and must be at the front of the parade. Grouping the vessels according to themes is important to give a nice, overall picture,” she noted. However, plans can still go awry, if some vessels arrive late or gusts are too strong. “Keeping your nerve and being able to deal with the unexpected is crucial,” Masuch noted. A tugboat will be on standby to help any vessel that runs into difficulties making their grand entrance.

Tall ship and naval vessels up close

“Open Ship” events are among this year’s attractions and will see many vessels let down their gangways to welcome visitors aboard. Fans of ships can wander around a windjammer, for instance, and see the bridge. Glimpses below deck of restored museum ships will also be possible. Vessels used by the federal police force, coastguard, customs and fishery protection ships will also welcome visitors aboard.

From Hamburg to the high seas

The 828th Port Anniversary celebrations will conclude with the finish parade on May 7 beginning at 5.30 pm when the departing vessels set sail for the Caribbean, the Mediterranean Sea or their home port nearby. Visitors can look up a free app to find more information and to keep track of events. Many of the app’s functions work without an internet connection.

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