"Joseph von Fraunhofer" - Research Ship for Expeditions

The Fraunhofer IBMT has its own research ship for testing the sonars and water vehicles developed at the institute.

Between 2012 and 2013, the ship, a Baltic Trawler 42 built in 2007, was converted and fitted out as a research ship and is operated jointly, in accordance with the association's aims, for cooperative research and development purposes by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft as well as the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBMT) and the Fraunhofer EMB.

With a length of 14 metres, the "Joseph von Fraunhofer" has state-of-the-art technical equipment and a laboratory for research expeditions, initially in the Baltic Sea. The research ship is perfectly equipped to test the special sonar devices (multibeam echo sounder, side scanner, sediment sonar) developed at the Fraunhofer IBMT in a real environment. The location of the ship in the Baltic Sea allows access to highly interesting areas for testing IBMT special systems for the ultrasound-based determination of fish stocks (species, size and gender determination with respect to biodiversity). Being docked at Lübeck also allows rapid access to areas where old ammunition (so-called UXOs – Unexploded Ordnance) was dumped after the Second World War. This can be precisely detected and identified with the sonar devices of the Fraunhofer IBMT and the surface vehicle "Hydrocrawler". There is a wide range of possible missions for the ship. For example, alongside the recovery of soil samples, fish, algae, plankton and shellfish, water temperature, pressure and conductivity can be measured. The special crane at the stern can be used for the lowering of technical equipment into the water such as the echo sounders, diving vehicles (AUVs) and surface vehicles developed at the Fraunhofer IBMT.

The ship is docked in Lübeck Harbour.

Type of ship:

Baltic Trawler 42, 2008

Port of registry:



Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V.

Call signal:


Total length:

14,20 m

Total width:

4,30 m


1,40 m


18 t

Fuel tank:

2100 l (diesel)

Fresh water tank:

940 l, excrement tank: 250 l

Prime mover:

2x Volvo Penta D4 (260 PS); conventionel (shafting)

Auxiliary diesel:

Onan (11 KW)

Cruising speed:

9 knots


appr. 300 - 400 sea miles


2-3 ships command, 4-5 scientists

Further Maritime & Hydrographic Research Topics


3D Sonar Systems for Mapping and Object Search

Fraunhofer IBMT's high frequency 3D sonar matrix systems allow fast high-resolution volumetric sonar measurements, e. g., to visualize and display the operator of an ROV a virtual reality of the surrounding and its field of work.


Maritime Technologies

The spectrum of Fraunhofer IBMT´s maritime technologies includes (pressure-balanced) ultrasound sensors and power supply as well as electronic components up to complete and open sonar research platforms.


Project NanoUmwelt - Detecting Minute Nano Amounts in Environmental Samples

It is still unclear what the impact is on humans, animals and plants of synthetic nanomaterials released into the environment or used in products. It’s very difficult to detect these nanomaterials in the environment since the concentrations are so low and the particles so small. Now the partners in the NanoUmwelt project have developed a method that is capable of identifying even minute amounts of nanomaterials in environmental samples.


Growing Stem Cells Faster on Seaweed

Alginate forms a kind of supporting skeleton in the cell walls of certain kinds of algae. Fraunhofer scientists use the gel-like mass from Chilean seaweed as the substrate for stem cells. They can flexibly adjust the pore size and elasticity of the alginate, and it transports active ingredients and has better optical characteristics than plastic materials.


Measurement Platforms

In order to study inland waters and the deep sea as special ecosystems, starting with hydrographic surveys through to analytics (chemical, biological), the Fraunhofer IBMT develops individual carrier platforms for the respective measurement systems. In addition, the IBMT owns a research ship ("Joseph von Fraunhofer").