Sørlandet berthed alongside the Hong Kong Maritime Museum (photograph: Edmund Wai)
In collaboration with the Royal Norwegian Consulate in Guangzhou, the Hong Kong Maritime Museum is hosting the 89-year-old Norwegian heritage vessel Sørlandet, one of the world’s oldest full-rigged tall ships still in operation. Arriving on 21 June 2016, the 57-metre long Sørlandet is berthed at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum (HKMM) at Central Pier 8.
‘Sørlandet’ literally means ‘The Southern Land/Country’ (pronounced as ‘sir-lan-da’). Captain Sture Erichsen explains that ‘Sørlandet was built as a school ship to train seafarers for the merchant navy. Today the ship is on its first-ever circumnavigation with high school students on board, to teach them to be world citizens, to get to know the world they live in and they themselves.’
Sørlandet started its voyage in Norway, travelling to Portugal and Morocco, via the Caribbean Sea and South Pacific Ocean, to Surabaya, Indonesia. The ship then sailed to Singapore and finally to Hong Kong, the last stop of this school year before heading back to its home port.
Terry Davies, Head of School, A+ World Academy, says ‘Our A+ World Academy students have brought their classroom to the world; 22 ports of call, 5 continents, 19 countries and over 16,000 nautical miles. Now we are thrilled to be in Hong Kong, the capstone port and our graduation venue for the 2015-16 year. Our students are completing a year dedicated to the understanding of global citizenship. Being located in central Hong Kong and guests of the impressive Maritime Museum is just perfect for our students and faculty.’
Richard Wesley, Director of Hong Kong Maritime Museum, adds ‘It is our great pleasure to have Sørlandet berthed by our Museum and is was pleasing to have her here during the recent Day of the Seafarer. The Royal Norwegian Embassy Beijing, the Royal Norwegian Consulate in both Hong Kong and Guangzhou, as well as Wallem Shipping (H.K.) Ltd. joined forces to create this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have this almost century-old tall ship from the far-away Norway at our Museum. Sørlandet will no doubt become a city highlight for this summer season.’
Sørlandet was built in 1927 and refurbished in 2013 at a cost of some US$8 million. In the past 89 years, the ship has welcomed over 10,000 young students, providing them with a complete marine education as navigators, engineers and so on. The ship has, in recent years, been the platform for high school education programmes.
Sørlandet is a unique part of Norway’s maritime cultural heritage. In 1933, without the use of an engine, she crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Norway, and travelled all the way to Chicago for the World’s Fair. Between 1972 and 1978, the ship was retired from active duty and was purchased for private use. The ship was re-acquired by the great grandson of the original owner (Kristian Skjelbred) and donated to the City of Kristiansand in Southern Norway. The City’s administrators created a new foundation to oversee the care, the operation and mission of Sørlandet. Today she is available for adventure cruises for ‘youth’ of all ages.
More information about the ship at: http://www.sorlandet.org/nyttogfakta/en