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06/01-24   -   Press releases

Embark on a journey through the final chapter of Danish maritime history with icebreakers

Dive into the nautical waves of Danish history with an exclusive opportunity to secure a maritime memento. Here is a unique chance to be a part of Danish maritime history by boarding the last voyage of the two iconic icebreakers, Danbjørn and Isbjørn, recently offered for scrapping.

This significant step was announced earlier in the year 2023 when the Esbjerg-based company Smedegaarden A/S secured the icebreakers through a winning EU bidding process.

The large state-owned icebreakers were built at Odense Staalskibsværft and launched in 1965 and 1966, representing a valuable piece of Danish maritime history. Originally, there were four icebreakers in the Navy, but Thorbjørn was sold back in 2016, and Elbjørn became a hotel ship in Aalborg Harbor, while the two icebreakers Danbjørn and Isbjørn were offered for scrapping, marking the end of an era of icebreaking. Before being brought ashore for scrapping, Smedegaarden A/S now offers the public the opportunity to acquire a part of this original historical adventure.

A farewell to the icebreakers
Originally, the icebreakers Danbjørn and Isbjørn spent most of the year at Flådestation Frederikshavn, conducting short voyages in the fall as preparatory training for potential icebreaking in winter. Today, these large icebreakers have become relics of the past, as ports now handle icebreaking with tugboats, and ships on open water have become larger and more powerful.

Danbjørn and Isbjørn were last in use in the winter of 1995-1996. They were docked in the port of Hals from 2016-2023 before being towed to Esbjerg Harbor. Soon, the work will begin to bring the icebreakers ashore for scrapping.

Inventory at public auction
But before that, the high-quality furnishings of the icebreakers need to be cleared. In this regard, Smedegaarden has teamed up with the experienced auction house, Campen Auktioner, to facilitate the sale of the icebreakers' inventory. Campen Auktioner, led by Bjørn Søby Jakobsen as Chief Operating Officer, sees this as a special challenge and a unique opportunity to present Denmark's maritime heritage, including exclusive high-quality retro items. It is a significant challenge, but one that doesn't intimidate Bjørn Søby Jakobsen.

"We have years of experience handling large complex tasks. This time, we are also contributing to writing a piece of Danish history. The inventory is from another time, and there is a real opportunity to acquire design furniture and other unique retro items crafted in high quality. It will be a great pleasure to help find new owners," explains Bjørn Søby Jakobsen, adding, "We are not just witnesses to an auction but also co-authors of an important chapter in Danish history. It is a rare opportunity to acquire a part of our maritime past, where the inventory represents an era that has contributed to shaping our nation."

Mahogany, mahogany, more mahogany, and lots of brass
The icebreaker auctions, with catalog number 9600 as the first in the auction series, will present an admirable selection of specialized nautical inventory, tools for engine decks, electrical workshops, carpentry workshops, lathes, ship bunks, cabinets, nautical equipment, galley inventory, officer lounge furniture, including fine architect-designed 60s furniture by renowned Danish architects such as Børge Mogensen, Ejner Larsen, and Aksel Bender Madsen in solid mahogany, specially designed ship pendants, and more. The limited operating time of Isbjørn, approximately 14 days, means that the items are virtually unused, and the quality of the objects has retained their splendor over time.

Over 3000 tons of Light Displacement Tonnage (LDT) will be cut into small pieces
After the auction, Smedegaarden will begin the final phase of the work, marking the end of this unique chapter in Danish maritime history. "The ships will be stripped of cables, insulation, and so on. All tanks and pipe systems will be emptied and cleaned. Then we will bring them ashore and cut them into pieces. Afterward, metals will be sold for further use and melting," explains Morten Smedegaard, co-owner of Smedegaarden, adding that the scrapping of the two icebreakers will normally result in more than 99 percent of the ships being recycled.

Morten Smedegaard adds, "This is quality inventory. Everything is constructed to withstand harsh weather at sea, and much is made of solid wood and metal. The auction offers unique opportunities for those who want to own an authentic piece of Danish maritime history."

With the auction of Denmark's last icebreakers, there is a unique chance to capture the spirit of a bygone era and simultaneously acquire quality inventory that carries a part of Denmark's proud and tradition-rich maritime history.

The auction proceedings are accessible to all interested parties, and pre-bids can now be submitted through the continuously updated online catalog with number 9600. The physical live-stream auction will be held at Campen Auktioner, Myntevej 2, 8920 Randers, on Saturday, February 3, at 1:00 PM. Pre-bidding is already available via this link Goods can be inspected every Thursday from 9 AM to 7 PM and on the auction day from 11 AM. Note that items from the machine and electrical workshop, milling machine, kitchen equipment, anchors, etc., will be uploaded subsequently under other auction numbers.

Relevant information

Link til Campen Auktioner A/S

Link til auktionskatalog nr. 9600

Link til film om isbrydernes inventar


Press contacts

Annette Kjær
PR & Marketing
  +45 40 19 19 50


Campen Auktioner
Myntevej 2
8920 Randers, Danmark

  +45 22 543 543
  +45 26 24 26 68

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