The survey ship Humboldt (1981). Her original 1:100 scale shipyard model is part of our oceanographic exhibition on deck 7 of the museum.
Fishing has been a basic economic activity on the coasts of present-day Perú since prehistoric times. Especially in the second half of the 20th century, traditional fishing developed into a modern industry. As in many other countries, the technical development of fishing vessels made enormous catches possible until 1970. But the lack of sustainable strategies led to overfishing of the sea. Solving these problem was one of the main concern when the Institution del Mar del Perú (IMAPRE), the Peruvian Oceanographic Institute, was founded in 1971. Five years later, with financial support from the German government and design work by the Hamburg-based company Maritimconsult, a project was launched on behalf of GTZ, the German Agency for Technical Cooperation, to build a fisheries survey vessel.
The result was the BIC „Humboldt“, a state-of-the-art research vessel built by the SIMA shipyard in Callao, Perú, in the form of a fishing trawler. This 76-metre long and 12.60-metre-wide vessel was commissioned in 1981. In 1988, it was extensively refitted, and its hull strengthened to withstand polar conditions so that it could take part in Antarctic missions. Until 2017, the BIC „Humboldt“ was used for both polar and fisheries research tasks. But lately, the ship has again devoted itself exclusively to its original tasks in the waters around Perú. The last news we received from the BIC „Humboldt“ was that she had been returned to a dock in Callao to be modernised in early 2021. We hope that the work will be successful, and that the vessel will continue to serve Peruvian fisheries research for many years to come.