For the fourth time, Barbados recently welcomed the Meteor to its shores –– the German research vessel, that is.
The ship, which has a maximum space for 34 crew members and up to 30 scientists on board at any one time, docked at the Bridgetown Port on Saturday, May 21, departing the island on Wednesday, May 25.
The other times at which the ship came to Barbados were in April, 1996, 2004 and 2010.
A group from the Division of Energy and Telecommunications, the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CAME) and members of the Centre For Research Management And Environmental Studies (CERMES), along with members of the media, toured the 30-year-old vessel on Monday, May 23.
The Meteor III, which has so far done over 126 voyages, is an ocean-going platform that carries out research activities in almost all oceanographic disciplines, which accommodate scientists from around the world who do studies in their specific field of research.
German Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Dr Lutz Görgens said the visit of the Meteor III could be seen as “a contribution of Germany to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the proud Independence of Barbados”.
“During the 50 years, Germany and Barbados have cooperated deeply in many areas. Over the past two years which I have witnessed the cooperation on mitigating climate change in Paris Summit COP 21 [Climate Change Conference] last December stood out,” said Görgens.
“Our whole German cooperation with the Caribbean region is centred around two topics . . . the mitigation of climate change and coastal protection on one side, and the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency on the other side. Those elements we believe greatly contribute to the strive in the West Indies to overcome economic challenges, the dependence on foreign fossil fuels and, like in Trinidad these days, the sharp decline in income,” the ambassador added, prior to a toast to 50 more years of collaboration between the two countries.
Each voyage usually lasts between four and five weeks, and the ship usually docks in port for three to four days at a time, with a crew change taking place generally every four weeks.
Captain of the vessel, Rainer Hammacher, said the Meteor started its services in 1986, and has been sailing since then on a total distance of nearly 1.3 million nautical miles between the Meteor I, Meteor II and Meteor III.
“She has carried more than 9,700 scientists during 9,200 days at sea whilst conducting about 30,000 stations,” said Hammacher, adding that the first Meteor set sail for the first time in 1924, while the Meteor II was active from 1964 to 1985.