The container ship Bell Vanguard (1966-1988). Her 1:100 scale model, built in the workshop of R. Ottmar Modellbau in Flensburg, is part of our exhibition on containerization on deck 6 of the museum.
„German shipowners have not yet ordered any special ships for container traffic,“ states a situation analysis by the German Shipowners‘ Association in March 1967. The shipping container as such had only existed for 11 years at that time and was already developing into a popular means of transport. Even though no port specialized in handling containers, the container proved to be a fast and efficient means of transporting goods. However, this complaint by the German Shipowners‘ Association was not accurate.
The Sietas shipyard in Hamburg-Neuenfelde had already built a specialized container ship with the construction number 588 for the shipping company Jürgen Heinrich Breuer KG. She was delivered on 26 April 1966. This pioneer of German container shipping had been built especially for coastal traffic and was originally called „Hans Hinrich“. She was never used under this name, as she was chartered out to the Irish Bell Line after delivery. Under the name „Bell Vanguard“ she began transporting containers between Ireland and England. She was a 74.64-meter-long ship of 499 GRT, capable of carrying 72 standard containers (TEU). She was the only ship of this type and was designated as Type 49 by the shipyard. In 1967, the shipyard built two more ships of an improved design, designated as Type 54. With them, the „Bell Venture“ and the „Bell Valiant“, container lines were established between Ireland, England, and mainland Europe.
The charter of the „Bell Vanguard“ ended in 1977 and she was sold to the Partenreederei Karl Heinz Baase. Renamed „Fallwind“, she continued to serve for more than 10 years. Tragically, on a voyage from Kristinehamn, Sweden, to Goole, England, with a cargo of timber, she began to list. On 5 March 1988, she sank about 60 nautical miles west-southwest of Thyborøn, Denmark.