MS Polarfront

MS Polarfront was a Norwegian weather ship located in the North Atlantic Ocean. It was the last remaining weather ship in the world, maintained by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.

The weather ship MS Polarfront at sea
OwnerLatitude Blanche
Port of registryMarseille,  France
  • Mandal Slip & m.V. (hull)
  • Fitjar Mek.Verksted AS (outfitting)[1]
Yard number57
Laid down1 August 1975[1]
Launched1 March 1976[1]
Completed14 December 1976[1]
StatusIn service
General characteristics [1]
TypeExpedition ship
Length54.25 m (178 ft)
Beam10 m (33 ft)
Draft4.368 m (14 ft)
Depth7.87 m (26 ft)
Ice classDNV ICE-C
Installed powerWichmann 5AX
PropulsionSingle 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 Since the 1960s this role has been largely superseded by satellites, long-range aircraft and weather buoys.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 weather station M ("Mike"), and was located at 66°N, 02°E. Standard meteorological observations were performed on an hourly basis from the beginning of the 1960s.

On 27 February 2009, the cancellation of the station was announced.[2] MS Polarfront was removed from service on 1 January 2010. Since 28 June 2017, MS Polarfront has been owned and operated by the French shipping company Latitude Blanche for expedition purposes in high latitudes.

History of station MEdit

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, including station M. The need for weather ships from civil aviation decreased gradually while meteorological societies still needed observations from the oceans. In 1974 the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) took responsibility for the four remaining stations. The international agreement about weather ships was ended in 1990. The United Kingdom and Norway continued the operation of one station each, station L ("Lima"), west of Scotland, and station M, in the Norwegian Sea. Station L was ended in the middle of the 1990s. Thus station M 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 served until 1974 and 1976, respectively. 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 on Polarfront manned station M alone. Each month Polarfront left the station for one to two days to take on a new crew and new supplies. Once a year, usually in early October, the ship stayed in its home port for a week to carry out maintenance.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Polarfront (10693)". DNV GL Vessel Register. Det Norske Veritas. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  2. ^ Siste reis for værskipet - (Norwegian)

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 66°0′N 2°0′E / 66.000°N 2.000°E / 66.000; 2.000