Operator: AWI - Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (partner AWI)
Country: Germany
Vessel Type: Ice Going Multipurpose RV
Ice Class: 100 A5
Operational Area: Atlantic Ocean, Arctic and Antarctic Oceans
Endurance: 75 days
Scientist Berths: 55
Length: 118m
Berths offered in ARICE: max 6 (see guidelines for applicants)


PRV Polarstern is a double-hulled icebreaker operational at temperatures as low as -50 °C. The ship is able to sail through 2 m thick ice with a speed of 5 knots, and it breaks ice up to 3 m thickness. The ship contains nine research laboratories for biological, geological, geophysical, glaciological, chemical, oceanographic and meteorological research. Additional laboratory containers may be stored on and below deck. Refrigerated rooms and aquaria permit the transport of samples and living marine fauna. Special sounding devices with depth ranges up to 10,000 meters and which can penetrate up to 150 meters into the sea floor are available for scientific investigations. Hydro-acoustic survey systems such as Hydrosweep, Parasound and fishery sounders can be continuously operated.

Further information about PRV Polarstern:

Vessel website: https://www.awi.de/en/expedition/ships/polarstern.html

MOSAiC website: https://www.mosaic-expedition.org/

Technical characteristics: https://www.awi.de/en/expedition/ships/polarstern/the-symbol-of-german-polar-research.html

Scientific equipment/labs/instruments: https://spaces.awi.de/confluence/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=173932621

Map of Polarstern (pdf)

General Arrangement Plan Polarstern (pdf)

Modality of access under this proposal:

Full access to PRV Polarstern will be offered for a cruise in combination with the MOSAiC expedition to the central Arctic in winter.

Due to the special configuration of MOSAiC, the funding provided by ARICE is limited to a maximum of 6 participants per leg.
Multiple combinations for this access are possible, depending on leg duration:

  • Up to 5- 6 participants / 1 leg (single project)
  • Up to 2 participants in 3 legs (in one or multiple projects)
  • 1 participant / 4-5 legs (in one or multiple projects)

Applications are welcome for a minimum of 1 person/leg.

Potential applicants are warned that their work will span the full leg duration and that change of personnel can only occur between MOSAiC legs.

Applications must fit into the MOSAiC time schedule and work programme. Applicants to PRV Polarstern in the frame of MOSAiC will be required to submit, together with the ship-time application, an Endorsement Letter from MOSAiC (for more information, see the call documents) A special medical examination to prove the ability to work in this extreme environment is required to access PRV Polarstern for an Arctic cruise.

Support offered under this proposal:

  1. Transportation of cargo and personnel,
  2. Food and accommodation,
  3. Lab space and power supply,
  4. Communication,
  5. Operational and logistic supports,
  6. Basic data from meteorology, navigational and hydrographical observatories;
  7. Medical care.

Scientists accessing the RV through ARICE will be part of the MOSAIC winter experiment, sharing the PRV with other international cooperation.