Duty-Free at Heligoland

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Heligoland, Germany is part of the EU, but is not inside the EU Customs Union or VAT area. The duty-free sale of fuel and luxury items such as alcohol, cigarettes and perfume make up a big part of the island’s economy. This is the reason we’ve stopped here for fuel three times in the past two years.

Duty-free shopping is also one of the reasons why hundreds of mostly-German visitors regularly arrive in droves on day trips to the island. While we were fueling, boat after boat arrived, disembarking their dozens of passengers for a few hours of shopping and sightseeing ashore before returning back to the German mainland. We also noticed several of the boats moored with us at Sudhafan taking on large boxes of supplies, presumably duty-free goods such as alcohol and cigarettes. Independent of its duty-free status, however, Heligoland is a wonderful island to visit with excellent attractions and great restaurants.

Below are trip highlights from October 16th, 2019 at Heligoland, Germany. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

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Military helicopters frequented Heligoland during our stay there.
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Bunkerstation Heligoland
At Bunkerstation Heligoland to take on a load of duty-free diesel. This is only the third time we’ve fueled this year, having covered 3,190 miles, and the first two fuelings were less than half a tank. The first fueling was in March, also at Heligoland, and the second was at Savonlinna in Finland’s Saimaa Lakes.
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Taking on 1267 gallons (4796 L) of diesel at Bunkerstation Heligoland.
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Yokohama Fenders
While we were fueling, the port dropped two huge Yokohama fenders into the water. When you need a forklift to move a fender, you know you’ve got the right size.
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Funny Girl
The Yokohama fenders were for the ship Funny Girl that moored behind us and disgorged a large group of passengers.
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Adler Cat
The 31-knot catamaran Adler Cat arriving into Heligoland shortly after Funny Girl.
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Halunder Jet
A few minutes after the Adler Cat arrived, the Halunder Jet entered the harbour.
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The harbour was starting to get crowded when the Helgoland arrived from Cuxhaven. The arriving ships all make day trips to Heligoland from the German mainland, dropping off their passengers for three hours of sight-seeing and duty-free shopping.
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Anneliese Kramer
The German SAR vessel Anneliese Kramer moored behind us at Sudhafen.
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Stefan Brockmann, who was visiting Heligoland, noticed us coming in on AIS last night and sent is this photo he took of us back at Sudhafen after fueling.
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Hermann Marwede
The SAR boat Anneliese Kramer departed, and was replaced by the imposing Hermann Marwede, based at Heligoland. The 150-ft (46m) vessel can reach 32 knots and is considered the largest SAR ship in the world.
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Crew Boats
While walking out to dinner, we watched several crew boats arrive and tie off. They are bringing workers back for the night from the nearby offshore wind farms.
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Pastel-coloured fisher’s huts facing the harbour along Hafenstrasse in Heligoland.
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The dredger Henriette at work in Binnenhafen. This is the harbour, now temporarily closed, where we picked up a load of gasoline en route to Norway last year.
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Pizza and Pasta Bruns
A great pizza and a fun time at Pizza and Pasta Bruns. We were expecting Heligoland to be mostly shut down for the season this late in the year. But the place was hopping, with all the restaurants packed. Partly this is due to a holiday week in Germany, but also because Heligoland is a popular destination year-round.
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The three dredgers working in Binnenhafen moored up for the night.
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Snug for the Night
During our dinner, several crew members from the offshore wind farms came in for a meal. But on at least one boat the crew were cooking on board.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.


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2 comments on “Duty-Free at Heligoland
  1. Thomas says:

    Hello Jennifer and James,
    NOT out of smart-ass-motivation but just because you are so interested and accurate all the time:
    The island is indeed Helgoland (not Heligoland) and if you see a sign with „Straße“ you can use „Strasse“ (street) instead. It is the german „sharp S“. We use it when the vocal before is pronounced long, not short (like „vocal“ would be long and „shot“ would be short „o“). Thus words can have a totally different meaning: „Masse“ is the mass of a body, „Maße“ is the dimension of a body. ??
    German language….. can be hard at times….
    Safe travels

    P.s. I was on Helgoland several times. One time – many many years ago – on Funny Girl. Didn‘t know she is still around.

    • Thomas,

      Thank you for the information–it can be a little challenging working with a foreign language. We’ve updated the “sharp S” to be “ss”. On the name of the island, we used the English spelling, ‘Heligoland’, but do understand that it’s spelled ‘Helgoland’ in German and Danish.

      — Jennifer

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