(Written by Jason O’Connell)
31 May 2013 - The former Belgian passenger-cargo ship Georg Buchner (built 1951) has sunk in the Baltic while under tow to a scrapyard in Lithuania.
The Swedish and Polish coast guards report that the ship sank late last night while being towed by the Polish-registered tugboat Ajaks (built 1974).
The vessel, built as the Charlesville, was part of a fleet of mailships that traded between Belgium and its colonies in West Africa.
In the 1970’s it was sold to the communist German Democratic Republic and used as a training ship for merchant seafarers.
More recently the ship had been used as a floating hotel in the port of Rostock.
In January this year the ship was sold for scrap, but its departure from Rostock was delayed for several months while the legality of its sale was challenged by a group of enthusiasts who wanted to take it to its former homeport of Antwerp for preservation.
The ship departed Rostock on its final voyage on Wednesday.