The MS Cap San Diego is a bulk carrier, situated in a museum in Hamburg, Germany. Praised for it’s elegant silhouette, it was the last of a series of six ships known as the white swans of the south atlantic, and marked the apex of German-built bulk carriers before the advent of the container ship and the decline of Germany’s heavy industry.
Build and launched by Deutsche Werft in 1961 for the Hamburg Sud Carrier, the 159 m, 1000 dwt ship ran a regular schedule between Germany and South America, completeing 120 round trips until 1981. After being sold and running under different names and flages of convenience as a tramp trader, the run-down ship was scheduled for scrapping in 1986, when it was bought by the city of Hamburg.
The ship was restored mainly by the labour of enthusiasts and laid-off dock workers, and is kept operational to this day. Most of the time, the Cap San Diego is moored at the port of Hamburg, where visitors can access virtually all areas of the ship from the bridge to the engine. One of the cargo holds host temporary exhiibitions. Passenger cabins can be booked for overnight stays. Several times a year, the ship leaves the harbour for trips on it’s own power, mostly on the river Elbe or to Cuxhaven. In 2001, the ship was awarded the Maritime Heritage Award by the World Ship Trust, and in 2003 it was declared a protected item of cultural heritage by German Law. The ship participates in Hamburg’s Long Night of Museums.