At nearly 55 metres in length, RV Heincke is the second largest ship in the AWI fleet. At sea for more than 250 days a year, the ship provides accommodation and work facilities for up to twelve scientists.
The Heincke generally operates in the North Sea and in the North Atlantic. In the summer months, the vessel visits the Norwegian island of Svalbar. With an operating radius of about 4,000 nautical miles, the RV Heincke can facilitate research cruises of up to 30 days at sea.
National and international marine scientists utilize the RV Heincke for biological, geoscientific and hydrographic research projects. The ship is well equipped for its work, fitted with two cranes, an A-Boom, four-drum winches, an extensive array of scientific instrumentation and systems for data processing.
Below deck, the scientists are afforded four laboratories – allowing for inspection and analysis of samples under wet, dry, and specific temperature conditions.
The laboratories meet and exceed many modern standards, being well aligned with the multidisciplinary nature of marine research, and were specifically designed to provide excellent acoustic attenuation from the vibration of the ship’s engines.
Originally entering service in 1990, the RV Heincke was extensively overhauled from December 2007 to March 2009, providing both technical and scientific equipment updates. In 2014, new engines were fitted and an emission control system installed.
The RV Heincke bears the name of Friedrich Heincke, the founding director of the "Royal Biological Institute Helgoland". The "Biologische Anstalt Helgoland", originally founded in 1892, became part of the Alfred Wegener Institute in 1998.