|The weather ship MS Polarfront at sea|
|Owner:||Misje Faroe Islands (Sp/f 5464)|
|Port of registry:||Torshavn, 23x15px Faroe Islands|
|Builder:||Mandal Slip & m.V. (hull) Fitjar Mek.Verksted AS (outfitting)|
|Laid down:||1 August 1975|
|Launched:||1 March 1976|
|Completed:||14 December 1976|
|Identification:||IMO number: 7608708 Call sign: OZ2092 MMSI number: 231755000|
|General characteristics |
|Tonnage:||927 GT 278 NT|
|Length:||54.25 m (178 ft)|
|Beam:||10 m (33 ft)|
|Draft:||4.368 m (14 ft)|
|Depth:||7.87 m (26 ft)|
|Ice class:||DNV ICE-C|
|Installed power:||Wichmann 5AX|
|Propulsion:||Single shaft; controllable-pitch propeller|
A weather ship is a ship stationed in mid-ocean to make meteorological observations for weather forecasting. Since the 1960s this role has been largely superseded by satellites, long range aircraft and weather buoys.
MS Polarfront was known as the weather station M ("Mike"), and was located at 66°N, 02°E. Standard meteorological observations were performed on an hourly basis since the beginning of the 1960s.
On February 27, 2009, the cancellation of the station was announced. MS Polarfront was removed from service January 1, 2010.
History of Station M
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) took the responsibility to operate an international network of Ocean Weather Stations in The North-Atlantic. The network was established in 1948 and consisted of 13 stations. Station ‘M’ (Mike) was one of these. The need for weather ships from civil aviation decreased gradually while the Meteorological society still needed the observations from the oceans. In 1974 the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) took the responsibility for the four remaining stations. The international agreement about weather ships was ended in 1990. Great Britain and Norway continued the operation of one station each, Lima west of Scotland and Mike in the Norwegian Sea. Lima was ended in the middle of the 1990s. Thus Mike was the only one still remaining.
The first two weather ships to man station “M” were Polarfront I and Polarfront II. The Norwegian authorities were the ship owners. The ships were rebuilt Royal Navy corvettes (HMS Saxifrage and HMS Bryony). They were on duty until 1974 and 1976. In 1974 the Norwegian state made an agreement with the shipping company Misje Offshore Marine AS in Bergen to hire a new and modern ship, which was given the name Polarfront.
For several years the ship alternated with the Dutch weather ship Cumulus to man station ‘M’. From 1986 and onward Polarfront manned station ‘M’ alone. Each month Polarfront left the station for 1-2 days to take on a new crew and new supplies. Once a year, usually in the beginning of October, the ship stayed in her home port for a week to carry out maintenance.