The Sedov revisits Cape Town after a 77 year absence (last visit was in 1936) on Monday, 22 April and will stay in port until Wednesday 24 April. Elegant Places was there to take these pictures.
Her previous port of call was Port Louis, Mauritius, with just under 40 trainee sailors on board.
The four-masted barque was launched as a German cargo ship in 1921 and following World War II was handed over to the Soviet Union as part of war reparations. Since 1981 she has served as a cadet training ship and is today owned by the Naval School at the Murmansk Technical University.
The STS Sedov (Russian: Седов), formerly the Magdalene Vinnen II (1921–1936) and the Kommodore Johnsen (–1948), is a 4-masted steel barque that for almost 80 years was the largest traditional sailing ship in operation. Originally built as a German cargo ship, the Sedov is today a sail training vessel, training cadets from the universities of Murmansk, Saint Petersburg andArkhangelsk. She participates regularly in the big maritime international events as a privileged host and has also been a regular participant in The Tall Ships' Races.
Magdalene Vinnen II
The Sedov, originally named the Magdalene Vinnen II, was launched in Kiel in 1921 at the Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft at Kiel, Germany, for the shipping company F. A. Vinnen & Co. ofBremen, one of the largest German shipping companies at the beginning of the 20th century. The shipping company initially objected to have an engine installed in the ship, but the ship yard (with backing from a Government committee) successfully argued for an engine, making the ship the first sailing ship with auxiliary engine designed to modern principles.
The Magdalene Vinnen II was at the time the world’s largest auxiliary barque and exclusively used as a cargo ship with a crew that was partially made up of cadets. She sailed on her maiden voyage on September 1, 1921. Her voyage took her from Bremen via Cardiff, where she took on coal, to Buenos Aires. Despite bad weather, the journey from England to Argentina with holds full of coal took just 30 days. The Magdalene Vinnen II carried all sorts of cargo: apart from coal, she took timber from Finland, wheat from Australia, pyrite from Italy and unit load from Belgium. The four-masted barque made two voyages around Cape Horn to Chile. Until her last voyage under the Vinnen flag in 1936, the ship sailed to Argentina, South Africa, Australia, Reunion and the Seychelles.
On August 9, 1936, the Magdalene Vinnen II was sold to Norddeutscher Lloyd, Bremen and renamed the Kommodore Johnsen. The new owner modified her to a cargo-carrying training ship. More accommodation was provided, as the ship, apart from her permanent crew, was to have a complement of 50 to 60 trainee officers on each journey.
She came under Russian state ownership after the surrender of Germany — on December 20, 1945, the British handed over the ship to the Soviet Union as war reparation. In the Soviet Union, she was converted into a sail training vessel of the Soviet Navy. Renamed the Sedov after the Arctic explorer Georgy Sedov who died during an investigation in the Arctic in 1914, she was used as a training ship of the Navy from 1952 to 1957. She made several friendly visits to South America and Africa during this period. From 1957 to 1966 she was used as an oceanographic research ship in the North Atlantic. During these voyages, the Soviet Navy also used her for training of young cadets. In 1966 when she was transferred to the reserve in Kronstadt, formally under the civil ownership of the Ministry of Fisheries. In the 1970s, she was only infrequently used as a training ship, sailing in the Gulf of Finland.
In 1981, the Sedov reappeared after renovation which had new features added such as a glass-domed banquet hall with a stage and a movie theater. She was now based at the Baltic Division of Training Ships in Riga. She embarked cadets from schools of navigation of Kaliningrad and Murmansk. After the declaration of independence of Latvia in 1991, she left Riga for Murmansk, transferred to the Murmansk naval school with the city of Murmansk ensuring her management and maintenance.
Sedov has regularly been targeted by unpaid creditors of the Russian Federation such as Nissim Gaon (of now defunct Swiss group NOGA, an anagram of Gaon) and also by French holders of defaulted Russian bonds; in 2002 Sedov was forced to precipitously and unexpectedly leave Marseilles in the dead of night to avoid being served a writ by AFPER (French association of holders of Russian Empire bonds) the following morning.
For over a year French holders of defaulted Russian bonds have been warning they were going to reorganize and export their claim to Anglo-Saxon jurisdictions, more friendly to private citizens than the French.
In May 2008, in the wake of British-Russian tension, Sedov was instructed by Moscow not to dock as planned at Southend on Sea. The September 2008 visit to Falmouth, the starting point of FUNCHAL 500 race to Madeira, also seems to be in jeopardy.
In 2011 "Sedov" celebrated her 90th anniversary. In 2012 "Sedov" started her first voyage around the world of more than 13 months.