This impressive ship that appeals to the imagination has been placed for everyone to see its true beauty at the Ostend marina since 1960. Step aboard this mighty ship to uncover her remarkable history. The Mercator
had only two commanders and made 41 voyages. In 1956 it repatriated the remains of Father Damien from Molokai. In 1960, it sailed into the harbour of Antwerp and in 1961, it was equipped as a museum ship. Read our blog as we share some interesting facts about this important landmark.
Although the Mercator resides in the beautiful Ostend, it was built in the town of Leith, Scotland on the shipyard of Ramage and Ferguson, and was launched in 1932. The barquentine Mercator was designed by the Antarctic explorer Adrien de Gerlache (1866–1934) as a training ship for the Belgian merchant fleet.
Mapping Out a Name
The Mercator was named after Gerardus Mercator, a 16th-century geographer, and cartographer from Flanders. He is renowned for creating the 1959 world map based on a new prediction that helped sailors get accurate shapes of landed messages and reliable lines of constant bearing.
The Beginning Years
Mercator’s starting career began in 1934 when the ship sailed from Pitcairn Island, Tahiti, and Papeete, to the Marquis Islands and Honolulu for a Belgo-French scientific expedition. This was her seventh cruise and was known to be a fairly remarkable one to those preceding World War Two.
Oslo to Ostend
The ship also won one important race from Oslo to Ostend in 1960 and competed in the Torbay-Lisbon and Brest-Canary Islands races in the 1950s.
In 1961, she became a floating museum, first in Antwerp, and finally in 1964 in the marina of Ostend, just in front of the City Town Hall. As of 2013, she remained there in the heart of the city, open to visitors. Recently the city of Ostend acquired the Mercator in full ownership after restoring the iconic Three-Master to its former glory and splendour.
Final Battle Years
On February 21, 1940, Mercator set out for her last cruise before World War 2. She sailed to Rio de Janeiro and afterward arrived in Boma. From early 1945 to mid-1947, the ship was under the custody of the British Army. Unfortunately after 1947, the ship did not sail again until put to sea again until 1951 . The ship went back to Belgium to get extensive maintenance work.
In 1961, the ship became a floating museum for many visitors across the globe to visit, first in Antwerp, and in 1964 returned to the marina of Ostend, just in front of the City Town Hall. The city of Ostend acquired the Mercator in full ownership after restoring the iconic Three-Master to its former glory and splendor.
Leopold Ostend Accommodation
Leopold Hotel Ostend is in an ideal location no matter why you’re visiting the city. We are a short walk from the center of the city, the seafront and pier and of course, the Mercator. Book your stay in Leopold Hotel Ostend
using our official website for exclusive access to our best available rates. We have special offers and discounts you won’t find anywhere else. We are looking forward to welcoming you to Leopold Hotel Ostend.