- A Career At Sea
- A MATTER OF TRUSTS - WELLINGTON MARITIME MUSEUM
- AWATEA at War
- HOLMWOOD Sinking
- MAORI 1907-1946
- Scott Centenary
- SECRET ACCOUNTING BY UNION STEAM SHIP COMPANY
- STORMY PETROL ?
- The Unforgetable PAMIR
- To The West Coast By Collier
- TURAKINA Sinking
- US Forces 2nd World War
- Waikato River Commercial Shipping
- WAIRATA & WAIRIMU - A Unique Pair
- Watts Shipping Register
- A Career At Sea
- A MATTER OF TRUSTS - WELLINGTON MARITIME MUSEUM
- AWATEA at War
- HOLMWOOD Sinking
- MAORI 1907-1946
- Scott Centenary
- SECRET ACCOUNTING BY UNION STEAM SHIP COMPANY
- STORMY PETROL ?
- The Unforgetable PAMIR
- To The West Coast By Collier
- TURAKINA Sinking
- US Forces 2nd World War
- Waikato River Commercial Shipping
- WAIRATA & WAIRIMU - A Unique Pair
- Watts Shipping Register
NZ Marine News Vol 57 No 4
Compiled by Michael Pryce with the assistance of M. Berthold, A. Calvert, I. J. Farquhar, N. Kirby, R. J. McDougall, and from the newsletters of the Hawke's Bay and Bay of Plenty Branches of the Society
On 10th October 2010 the Danish ferry Dueodde sailed from Koge to Fredericia for drydocking (she had previously been operating a ferry service between Koge and Roenne). She arrived at Frederica on 11th October and went into a floating drydock for overhaul and repainting She was officially renamed as Straitsman, registered at Wellington, on 18th October 2010, and later the same day she came out of the floating dock and berthed alongside for bunkering and sailing preparations. On 21st October she was off Gothenburg, and on the morning of 23rd October 2010 was in the English Channel, off Beachy Head. By 29th October Straitsman had bunkered and sailed from Las Palmas, and arrived at Cristobal (Panama Canal) on 7th November 2010. She passed through the Panama Canal on 10th November (New Zealand time), then anchored in Panama Bay for bunkers before sailing from there on 12th November. She arrived at Papeete on 25th November, and after bunkering again and more crew joined her, she sailed from Papeete on 26th November.
Strait Shipping's new STRAITSMAN in Bluebridge markings at Wellington December 2010 M H Pryce
She arrived in Wellington on the late morning of 2nd December 2010 and berthed at Kings Wharf. Work had started in Wellington by 22nd November to increase the height of the linkspan concrete apron at Kings Wharf to make it suitable for use by the new Straitsman. Both Monte Stello and Santa Regina reverted to use of the Glasgow Wharf berth only from that date. On completion of the work, Straitsman would need to always use Kings Wharf at Wellington, and Santa Regina would always need to use Glasgow Wharf. She sailed from Wellington to make her first trial voyage to Picton on the morning of 4th December 2010, and arrived back in Wellington in the early hours of the following morning.After Straitsman arrived, several days were taken up for Maritime New Zealand inspections, documentation, emergency drills, and “Bluebridge” logos were applied to her hull, etc. Monte Stello was withdrawn from service on 12th December when she returned to Wellington from her last voyage to Nelson and was laid-up at Glasgow Wharf in Wellington pending a successful sale. The Saturday Wellington to Nelson sailing then ceased for the summer period. She was replaced on the Wellington to Picton service by Straitsman. A public “open day” was held on board Straitsman at Kings Wharf on 9th December, and Straitsman then made an un-scheduled voyage to Picton later that evening to replace Santa Regina that was running slow with a technical problem, returning to Wellington early next morning.Straitsman is scheduled to operate the 3.00a.m. and 1.00p.m. sailings from Wellington, whilst Santa Regina operates the 8.00a.m. and 9.00p.m. sailings, with additional sailings included during the busy summer period.
As related above, Monte Stello was laid up on the eastern side of Glasgow Wharf on 12th December 2010, advertised for sale. During her lay-up period, much survey work and steel renewals were carried out on board. On 12th February she berthed alongside Kaitaki’s berth at RFT3 at Wellington to test for fit. This was prior to a proposed bareboat charter of her to Interislander to operate a freight-only service for them between Wellington and Picton whilst Aratere was away in Singapore for major lengthening and rebuilding work. Being bareboat-chartered meant that an Interislander crew would have operated her. However, by late February 2011 this plan had stalled, as Strait Shipping were reported to have provisionally sold Monte Stello to European operators, and she was thus no longer available for charter to Interislander. However, by early March, this provisional sale had not been finalised, so her sale did not take place, and the previous proposed bareboat charter to Interslander then proceeded, but at a later date than originally planned. The charter agreement required that the “Bluebridge” logos on her hull were to be painted-out. This was done on her starboard side in late March, but her port side still displayed them when she started operating again. She made a training voyage to Picton and back on 5th April 2011. She commenced this service on the evening of 12th March 2011 and was intended to operate until September 2011, when Aratere was scheduled to return from Singapore.
When Toll NZ Consolidated sold KiwiRail back to the New Zealand Government in 2009, the registered owner of Aratere became CBA Asset Holdings (NZ) Ltd. (part of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia). KiwiRail’s 2010 Annual Report stated that NZ$43.3 million of Crown money had been approved for Aratere’s lengthening operation, and another $NZ35.8 million committed to owning the asset, meaning purchase of the ship from registered owners CBA Asset Holdings (NZ) Ltd. Interislander were previously listed as shipmanager for the vessel, with KiwiRail as beneficial owner.Aratere sailed from Wellington on 12th April 2011 for Sembawang Shipyard, Singapore, where her new 30-metre long mid-body section had been under construction since December 2010. Her bow was also to be modified, and she was scheduled to return to Wellington by early September 2011.An article in “The Dominion Post on 19th February 2011 said that passengers wanting to cross Cook Strait on an Interislander ferry in the next few months would need to book early as a major revamp of the smallest ship in the fleet limits the number of crossings. “Aratere will be taken out of service next month, to allow a NZ$40 million upgrade that involves cutting it in half and adding an extension in the middle. A new bow will also be installed to improve ship performance. Next month the ship will be taken to Singapore, where the new sections are being constructed. It will be joined back up in May. But while the ship is out of service the number of sailings will be reduced. The timetable during the period from 14th March till 31st July will include three passenger sailings from Wellington each day, with a full Kaitaki passenger sailing on Sunday evenings only. During the other six days in the week, Kaitaki will offer only a limited number of passenger spaces on the evening sailing, about 35 passengers travelling with vehicles only. There will be full Kaitaki passenger sailings available during key holiday dates at Easter and Queen's Birthday. Options for a temporary replacement ship are yet to be made final. Passenger Paul Gent said it was disappointing there would be fewer times available, because it made planning trips difficult. They still had two operating ferries, and should use those to create better times, he said. Interislander general manager Thomas Davis said people should make bookings early to avoid disappointment, but it was not unusual for ships to be taken out of service in winter months, when bookings were generally lower. All three ships would be running in time for the Rugby World Cup, he said. But he advised that bookings for October 2011, when finals in the cup would be held, were already beginning to reach peak season levels. "The Rugby World Cup is bringing tens of thousands of foreign visitors to New Zealand, and there are thousands of them taking campervans on the ferries, particularly in October. “Bookings are already heavy for that month, and Interislander will be deploying extra staff on the ferries to cope with that increased demand.” Her upgrade included:-600 seats, up from 360, and 6,000 electrical cables and pipes to be cut and reconnected, NZ$40m spent on extending the ship, 27 per cent increase in rail capacity, 30 per cent increase in vehicle capacity, 30-metre mid-body being installed to extend the ship to 183 metres in length, and 25 per cent reduction in the amount of wake because of the new bow To accommodate her increased length when she returned to service in New Zealand, Cavotec supplied two MoorMaster400 units to be installed on RFT2 at Wellington.
Despite a flat economy and severe challenges posed by the Christchurch earthquake KiwiRail had posted a smaller after tax loss of NZ$117.6 million in its half year result ending 31st December 2010, published on 1st March 2011. The result was 5.4 per down on the NZ$123.5 million loss recorded in the same period the previous year. The company pointed to rising freight volumes and revenue for the improved performance. Operating revenue improved from NZ$310.4 million on the same period in 2009, to NZ$326.1 million. Profit before depreciation and grant income, which the company likened to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, increased 66 per cent to NZ$43.3 million while operating expenses increased only 0.3 per cent over the same period to NZ$282.7 million. Chairman John Spencer said the business increased its operating revenue and, most significantly, it’s operating profit before depreciation and grant income. The result represented a timely endorsement of the work being done as part of the ten-year turnaround plan to increase freight revenue by strengthening rail to the length of the country and improving service, he said. In the first six months of the 2010 financial year bulk freight revenue was up almost 13 per cent, import-export freight 12 per cent and domestic freight revenue increased 16 per cent. This is the cornerstone of the KiwiRail business, the company said, and with the Interislander ferry generates more than 60 per cent of revenue. The company said the Interislander increased overall revenue by four per cent but passenger numbers were down by six per cent. "Overall economic growth in New Zealand appears to be slowing," Spencer said. "This is reflected in trading results for the early months of the second half year." The second half of the year would bring a number of challenges.Reduced milk volumes have reduced carriage of milk and depressed retail trade was affecting domestic volumes, Spencer said. The ferry Aratere would also be out of service for four months but the company was trying to find a substitute, and the earthquake would reduce coal and freight volumes.
SEASURVEYOR at Wellington December 2010 M H Pryce
The new Seasurveyor arrived at Tauranga on 19th November 2010 as deck cargo on board the heavy-lift ship Beluga Foresight (9,611 gross, built 2008). After offloading, she sailed under her own power to Wellington, where she arrived on the evening of 23rd November 2010, and berthed at Inter Island Wharf, inboard of Brandywine of the same company. She was refitted as a multi-purpose workboat. On arrival, all names and signage on the ship were in Japanese, and formal registration at Wellington under New Zealand flag had yet to be completed. Her Japanese registry was cancelled in early November 2010. By late January 2011 her new name Seasurveyor had appeared on her bow and stern, with Wellington as port of registry. She carried out trials in Wellington Harbour on 9th February 2011 and sailed from Wellington on 10th February to carry out maintenance work on the Cook Strait cables.Brandywine (181 gross tonnage, built 1977) was modified to operate seabed core-sampling equipment via a moonpool, and sailed from Wellington on 13th January 2011 to operate off the Taranaki coast.
On 24th January 2011 the cargo ship BBC Brazil (7,576 gross tonnage, built 2002) arrived at Port Chalmers with a cargo of turbines and blades for the wind farm at Mahinerangi, Otago. Photo Ross Walker
“Spirit of Resolution”
After loosing her rudder after grounding on the Manukau Bar in bad weather on 18th September 2010 and arriving at Lyttelton in tow on 30th September, a new rudder for Spirit of Resolution arrived at Lyttelton on 29th October. It was fitted “in situ” whilst she lay afloat alongside 7 West berth, using a Titan crane and snatch-blocks and chains. She left her berth early on the morning of 1st November and carried out rudder trials, with the tug Blackadder standing-by her. The trials were successful, and after a few hours she returned to her normal berth and loaded containers, and sailed from Lyttelton late on the evening of 1st November for Wellington, resuming commercial service. On 3rd February 2011, whilst inbound to Onehunga, a power failure aboard Spirit of Resolution at about 10a.m. resulted in her losing steering and grounding on a mudbank off Kauri Point in the Wairopa Channel inside the harbour, near Titirangi – twice!. The small tug Tika was sent out and she was refloated, after which she anchored inside the harbour. She resumed her voyage to Onehunga later that evening, with the tug Tika standing-by her.
“Spirit of Endurance”
Early on the morning of 30th January 2011, whilst the container ship Spirit of Endurance (7,545 gross tonnage, built 2008) was sailing from Lyttelton, and just after her pilot left the vessel, she suffered loss of power (caused by a faulty sensor which shut down the engine) and grounded inside Adderley Head. She was refloated with assistance of the tug Purau over an hour later and returned to Lyttelton for examination by divers. Only scuffed-paintwork was noted on the forward bottom part of the vessel, no hull damage was sustained, and she resumed her coastal trading early the same afternoon, when she sailed for Wellington. Pacifica Shipping faced some adverse publicity questioning the operation of their two ships but was adamant it was running a safe and professional operation despite both its ships grounding in a week (as detailed above). On 22nd February 2011, a devastating earthquake struck Christchurch and Lyttelton, causing many deaths and widespread damage. Both of the Pacifica containerships provided valuable services by shipping urgently-needed equipment and supplies into the stricken port and city.
An eye-catching cruise ship visitor to Auckland and Wellington in February 2011 was the new Cunard cruise liner Queen Elizabeth (90,900 gross tonnage, built 2010), during the course of her first around the world cruise. Cunard was acquired by Trafalgar House Investments in 1971 and acquired Norwegian American Cruises in 1983. Trafalgar was acquired by Kvaener in 1996, who sold Cunard to Carnival Cruises in 1998. So now Cunard is actually just a “brand” name of Carnival Corporation of USA. Similar “mere” brand names also owned by Carnival are Costa Line (Italy), Holland American Line (Netherlands), P&O Cruises (U.K.), Princess Cruses (U.S.A.) and Seabourne Cruises (U.S.A.). Queen Elizabeth was built in Monfalcone, Italy, and is a sistership to Queen Victoria (90,049 gross tonnage, built 2007). The United Kingdom no longer has the ability to build such ships, and the famous John Brown & Co. Ltd. shipyard at Clydeside that built Queen Elizabeth 2 ceased shipbuilding in late 1973. The shipyard was sold and built oil drilling-rigs until 1986, after which it was closed and the site leveled.Her famous near-namesake, Queen Elizabeth 2 (70,327 gross tonnage, built 1969), was sold for conversion into a floating hotel, and arrived at Dubai on 26th November 2008. However, in February 2009 an article said “Sources close to Dubai-owned Nakheel, owners of the QE2, indicate the current world financial crisis and stem of tourism to Dubai may have seriously altered or postponed the plans for the conversion of the former Cunarder into a luxury hotel and attraction at the Palm Jumeirah. The original, multi-million-$ plans called for a number of radical changes, including: the removal of all lifeboats for a full-beam upper works superstructure expansion, the addition of a new midsection; rebuilt and squared-off stern for helicopter landings; cylindrical condominium instead of the funnel; gutting of all public rooms and cabins to be replaced with apartments, restaurants and hotel areas; replacement of the machinery with a Broadway-style theater; and removal of the Heritage Trail. With the recent Financial Times reports of Nakheel laying off over 500 employees, purists and fans of the QE2 might have reason to rejoice, at least for now, in that the owners are considering opening the ship “as is”, utilizing the current power plant for eating or sleeping on board. Other options would include selling the ship for scrap, although not until public interest in the project has diminished.
“Queen Mary 2”
Just a week after the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth called at Wellington, the much larger Queen Mary 2 (148,528 gross tonnage, built 2004) arrived on 26th February 2011, after being diverted from her scheduled visit to Lyttelton by the earthquake damage at Lyttelton and Christchurch. At 345 metres length overall, she became the largest vessel ever of any type to berth at Wellington. The previous record length was the visit of the 315-metre length liner France in 1974. From Wellington she sailed for Auckland, then continued her round-the-world voyage to Guam, Japan and China, etc.
The cruise ship QUEEN MARY 2 in Wellington on 26 February 2011. She is the largest ship ever to enter Wellington Harbour. Photo M H Pryce
Pike River Coalmine Disaster
On 19th November 2010, the first of several explosions occurred at the Pike River Coal mine, killing twentynine miners. The tragic event and subsequent futile rescue attempts were copiously reported on by various national media over the next few weeks. We will confine reports to the maritime-related aspects of this tragedy. The mine had a development and consenting history going back to the 1970s, with the first geologists and surveyors having explored the area in the 1940s. The mine is located approximately halfway between Greymouth and Reefton, close to the Pike Stream, a tributary of the Big River in a region that already has a long history of coal and gold mining activity. It is located on Crown land administered by the Department of Conservation and adjacent to the Paparoa National Park. Because of the status of the land, Pike River Coal Ltd. had to obtain the Minister of Conservation’s agreement to an access arrangement for mining. The arrangement included four 1.5 metre-wide emergency escape shafts within the boundaries of Paparoa National Park and a requirement for Pike River Coal Ltd. to spend $NZ70,000 annually on conservation projects.The coal was mined 200 metres underground, at 800 metres above sea level, quarrying coal from the Brunner coal seam. The coal was taken from the mine via a ‘drift’, a gently-sloping five degree tunnel 2.3 kilometres long. This tunnel took large amounts of dynamite to create, as the rock was described as being up to four times harder than concrete. Since the coal face was located higher than the tunnel entrance, removal of material to a processing plant 10.6 kilometres away was via a slurry pipeline (with a 35 per cent solids share). Another major feature of the underground works was a 110-metres-deep ventilation shaft. Access to the top of the ventilation shaft is by helicopter only. The mine also included underground excavation for the coal slurry handling facility and mine water storage and pumping equipment, with several large galleries of up to 5.5 metres width and 11 metres height to be excavated. As of 2010, the mine had three main “drives” (shafts). Originally, once at the processing plant, coal was to be trucked to Greymouth for reshipment. On 27th November 2007, it was announced that the coal from the mine would be transported to Lyttelton for export rather than the previously proposed shipment to Port Taranaki via Greymouth. The company reserved under contract with Toll Rail (now KiwiRail) 1.3 million tonnes of capacity for their coal on the Midland Line between Greymouth and Christchurch which since upgrading by Ontrack has a total capacity of four million tonnes per annum. The mine was to have about 150 full-time staff, though in 2007-2008, there were problems filling all positions, partly because of high demand for the same occupations in the Australian and international job markets.The largest shareholder in the Pike River coal mine is New Zealand Oil & Gas (NZOG). Pike River was due to repay its 29.4 percent shareholder NZOG some NZ$25 million of short term working capital on 15th December 2010. NZOG had lent Pike River funds to tide it over a cash flow deficit created by delays to its second export coal shipment. Repayment was predicated on Pike River successfully completing 60,000-tonnes shipment of export coking coal in December 2010 or January 2011, a goal which could not be met after the explosions and fire. Under the terms of the loan, NZOG also had the rights to sale of 30 percent of coal sales over the life of the mine. While Pike River's targeted seam of high quality coking coal was reached in October 2008, production was delayed by a partial collapse of a ventilation shaft, and a rock grab encountered near the pit bottom. The first 22,000 tonnes shipment of coal was loaded on board Tian Bai Feng (39,042 gross tonnage, built 2000) which sailed on 20th February 2010 for India. A target 620,000 tonnes of saleable coal for the year to June 30, 2011 was reduced to 340,000 tonnes. The company recently commissioned the first of two main underground fans that increased ventilation by around 30 percent. The Pike River development was running almost two years behind schedule, had tapped out all its bank credit lines. On 29th November 2010 Pike River Coal Company sold its stockpile of about 20,000 tonnes of coal to Solid Energy. The terms of this sale would see Pike receive full net market value for this hard coking coal once on-sold to an end-user customer. Pike River Coal was placed into receivership on 13th December 2010, and shortly afterwards 114 workers were made redundant.
On 22nd February 2011 Christchurch and Lyttelton were struck by a devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake at 12.51p.m., causing many fatalities and extensive damage, far more serious that the previous earthquake of 7.1 magnitude on 4th September 2010. In port at Lyttelton at the time of the earthquake was the cruise ship Europa (28,890 gross tonnage, built 1999), which sailed later that evening for Wellington after the survey ship H.M.N.Z.S. Resolution had resurveyed the harbour channel in case of obstructions to navigation arising from the upheaval. The New Plymouth tug Kupe was in the Graving Dock at the time of the earthquake. Neither she nor the drydock were damaged, and after having her hull colour changed from Wellington red to New Plymouth orange, she was floated-out of the drydock on 9th March 2011. The cement carrier Westport (3,091 gross tonnage, built 1975) had arrived at Lytelton on 14th December 2010 for extensive steel renewals, and was lying afloat at Lyttelton. She was subsequently used to provide emergency accommodation, with people sleeping aboard in mess-rooms and cabins. Lyttelton’s port infrastructure suffered major damage, and Lyttelton Port Company made tremendous efforts to get the port partially operational as soon as possible, as well as assessing the seriousness of the damage caused to wharves, buildings, loading machinery, etc. The large car carrier Trans Future 7 (60,601 gross tonnage, built 2006) arrived from Auckland on 26th February with her usual cargo of new vehicles, plus emergency vehicles and pallets of fresh water. Pacifica’s Spirit of Endurance (7,545 gross tonnage, built 2008) also arrived from Auckland on 26th February and discharged containers containing medical, food and essential supplies. The tanker Torea (25,400 gross tonnage, built 2004) arrived from Timaru on 27th February to discharge much-needed petroleum products. The Navy’s H.M.N.Z.S. Canterbury chanced to be in port at the time, during a training exercise with the Army, and staff from both services carried out invaluable work ashore. She subsequently made three voyages from Wellington to Lyttelton laden with emergency equipment and transported Army and Navy personnel.
In Vol.54, No.1, the article about the history of the ferry Tamahine stated that her bell had been hung in the Picton Interislander passenger terminal. A recent visit confirmed that it was no longer there, probably removed during one of several rebuilding of that terminal over the years. Enquiries revealed that (in 2011) it is currently mounted to the wall of Port Marlborough’s amenity room at the workshop.
Former Coastal Tanker “Kotuku”Scrapped
KOTUKU at Wellington in 1988 M H Pryce
For many years the 1975-built coastal tanker sisterships Kuaka and Kotuku plied the New Zealand Coast with petroleum products from Marsden Point. Kuaka was sold in 1996, and was scrapped in 2002 at Alang as Sea Trust. Kotuku (16,221 gross tonnage, built 1975) was sold in 1998 and renamed Cercina, was sold again in 2003 and became Bora, and was renamed Bora 1 later in 2003, owned by Marika Investments Ltd. (Nigeria). Late in 2010 she was sold for demolition and was beached at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, on 27th September 2010 for demolition, when thirtyfive years old.
We mentioned the former Auckland ferry Kestrel (244 gross tonnage, built 1905) in Vol. 57, No.2. Owner Mark Scapens had to sell her in late October 2010, and she was purchased by the newly-formed Kestrel Preservation Society in Auckland for NZ$1000. The preservation society has commenced fundraising to cover the costs of getting her back to Auckland, from whence she came in 2002. Her new owners were investigating the feasibility of recommissioning her engines, or failing that, have her towed back to Auckland. They planned to put her back into service to operate harbour cruises for passengers on the Waitemata Harbour.
Fishing Vessel “No. 1 in Sung” Sinks The South Korean fishing vessel In Sung No.1 sank in thirty minutes on 13th December 2010 in the Southern Ocean. Twenty survivors were recovered, while a further five crew were found dead, and seventeen were reported missing. The survivors and five deceased were picked up by the fishing vessel No.707 Hongjin. The crew of In SungNo.1 included eight South Koreans, eight Chinese, eleven Indonesians, three Filipinos and one Russian. She was about 1,850 kilometres north of McMurdo base, or 2,700 kilometres south-east of Bluff, when she sank. The New Zealand fishing vessels Antarctic Chieftain and Janus assisted in the search, but were later stood down. Three Korean fishing vessels searched for several days for further survivors without success. The sea temperature in the area was just two degrees Celsius, and the survival time in the water was calculated to be about ten. No.1 In Sung visited Bluff annually for four years from December 2006 to take on stores as it headed to the Ross Sea to fish for Antarctic toothfish.
Former “Union Lyttelton”
The roll on, roll off ship Union Lyttelton (4,376 gross tonnage, built 1977) was renamed Seaway Melbourne in 1983, renamed Seaway in 1992, renamed Fast Trader in 1992, and renamed Aegean Star in 2001, under Greek flag. On 12th December 2010, when Aegean Star (9,771 gross, built 1977) was arriving at Mytilene from Hios in bad weather, she struck the starboard side of the harbour entrance whilst berthing. An eight-metre gash in her hull resulted in major oil pollution incident at the port. Passengers were safely disembarked without injury. After temporary repairs, she sailed from Mytilene on 22nd December and arrived at Piraeus on 23rd December for further assessment about whether repairs would be worthwhile in view of her age.
Former “Union Melbourne”
The roll on, roll off cargo ship Union Melbourne (4,043 gross tonnage, built 1975) was built for a five-year charter to the Union Company for trans-Tasman service. She was subsequently re-chartered in 1978 to P&O Steam Navigation Co, London, for service between Fleetwood and Belfast until redelivered to owners in September 1980. In 1980 she was renamed Union Trader, in 1980 was further renamed Puma, was converted to carry passengers in 1987, and in 1998 was renamed European Seafarer. In 2004 she was renamed Stena Seafarer, by this time part of the Stena Line AB fleet, of 10,957 gross tonnage, and operating a Fleetwood to Larne service, together with. Stena Pioneer (14,426 gross tonnage, built 1975) and Stena Leader (12,679 gross tonnage, built 1975). There had long been talk of replacing these three 1975-built ferries with newer tonnage, but nothing had ever eventuated, and in December 2010 Stena announced that they were to close the service. Stena Seafarer made the last sailing from Fleetwood to Larne on 24th December 2010, and then laid up at Belfast with her two consorts on the service awaiting sale, with scrapping looking to be a likely option in view of their age, although Stena Seafarer was subsequently used to carry out relief workings for other ferries undergoing routine drydockings and refits during the northern winter.
Woman Rescued from Wellington Harbour by “Santa Regina” Crew
Two men were being hailed as heroes after they saved a woman from almost certain death after she fell in Wellington harbour on New Year’s Day. The 39-year-old was in a serious condition in hospital after she fell off Glasgow Wharf about 2a.m. on Saturday near where Santa Regina, a vessel owned by Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferries, was docked. Staff were alerted by the woman’ screams and two crew members jumped in with a lifebuoy and swam out to retrieve her. The woman was revived by emergency services at the scene and treated in Wellington Hospital for hypothermia. Strait Shipping said crew are trained in rescue procedures, but this usually involves dropping a rescue boat into the water rather than swimming out themselves, which makes the men's actions even more heroic. Wellington police said the woman would probably have drowned if she had not been rescued by the two men.
Three Boaties Rescued from Cook Strait
Search operations were taking place on 30th December 2010 when three boaties fishing/diving were reported missing in Cook Strait from the afternoon of 30th December when their small dinghy sank off Sinclair Head. Miraculously, all three had been rescued alive by the afternoon of 31st December. The Masters, officers and crews of all the Cook Strait ferries were involved in the search at one time or another, causing some considerable disruptions to their commercial schedules and to thousands of passenger’ travel plans due to delayed arrivals and sailings.
Shell to Spend NZ$70 Million on Well Next to Maui
In January 2011 it was announced that a consortium led by Shell is spending up to NZ$70 million on an exploration well off the Taranaki coast in a bid to extend the life of the ageing platforms on the giant Maui gasfield. Shell Todd Oil Services said that the Noble Discoverer drilling ship from Singapore would drill the Ruru exploration well. Drilling of Ruru, the largest exploration well STOS has undertaken in more than a decade, started in February 2011. Most of the cost will be borne by Shell, which holds more than 80 per cent of the exploration licence. While the companies which share the exploration permits – Shell, Austrian oil giant OMV and Wellington-based Todd Energy – believed it was possible the well may find oil or a gasfield large enough to warrant new production infrastructure, the timing of the drilling was designed to keep open the possibility of linking production of any gas finds to the existing Maui infrastructure. Ruru – Maori for morepork, the name suggested by local hapu Ngati Tara – could substantially extend the life of the Maui gas field. The prospect is on the Southern reaches of the Maui exploration licence, straddling another licence held by the same owners. It sits about 15 kilometres from both the existing Maui platforms in 100 metres of water around 40km from the Taranaki coast. Shell Todd, which operates the Maui field, is a 50-50 joint venture between Shell and New Zealand Company Todd Energy. Shell owns 83.75 per cent of the exploration licence, while OMV holds 10 per cent and Todd Energy the remaining 6.25 per cent.
No Date Yet for Holcim Cement Works Decision
In mid-January 2011 the “Westport News” reported that Holcim New Zealand still had no date for when its Swiss parent company would decide whether to proceed with a proposed new NZ$500 million–plus cement works at Weston, near Oamaru. “We haven’t got a date yet, but we’re anticipating the fi rst half of this year,” said capital projects manager Ken Cowie. “But at this stage it’s really up to them to set the date.” New Zealand staff had worked towards being ready for the Holcim board to make a decision in the first three months of this year, he said. Staff were still continuing to answer questions and provide information on the project. Holcim required a new cement carrier, but what type of ship it would build would depend on the Weston decision, Mr. Cowie said. If Weston goes ahead the Westport works would close in about five years. Weston would use a cleaner, dry process technology, than Westport. It would produce about 880,000 tonnes of cement a year compared to Westport’s 500,000 tonnes, and employ up to 120 people. The company has previously said building a dry technology plant at Westport would not be feasible and upgrading the works, which employs about 130, would cost about $100m.
Promising News for Wesport
In late February 2011 it was announced that Bathurst Resources had entered into a heads of agreement with Westport Harbour that could potentially see coal volumes through the port reach two million tonnes within three years. Bathurst said the agreement would see Westport Harbour construct an exclusive coal unloading system, stockpile area, ship loader and wharf. “Coal will be transported by rail from the Buller coal project to the port from where Westport Harbour will provide coal handling services to receive, unload, stockpile, store and load vessels.” “Bathurst will pay Westport Harbour for the use of the facility and the provision of coal handling services.” The news was well received by Westport Harbour, particularly in light of ongoing speculation that Holcim’s proposed Weston cement plant near Oamaru will proceed and thereby signal the demise of the port’s cement trade.
“Volendam” Crew Member Killed in Lifeboat Accident
Whilst the cruise ship Volendam (60,906 gross tonnage, built 1999) was berthed in Lyttelton, on 8th January 2011, an accident caused by the lifeboat forward lifting-wire parting, resulted in two crew members being dropped into the sea, with one tragically being drowned. The lifeboat hung suspended vertically on just the aft lifeboat fall until the lifeboat could be lowered down to sea-level and removed from the ship. Volendam continued her cruise with her No.4 starboard lifeboat missing.
VOLUMDAM at Lyttelton December 2010 Nigel Kirby
A vessel spotted working in the North Taranaki Bight during February 2011 re-ignited debate about ironsand mining. Seawork’s Brandywine was seen near the Pohokura production platform. She is owned by Wellington company Seaworks, but it is not known who has contracted the ship to work in the area. Taranaki Regional Council said the vessel was just taking some samples from the sea bed and that did not require consent. Nobody had yet made a resource consent application for mining activity. The latest surveying activity follows a statement in 2010 from Christchurch businessman John Rutherford, of Iron Ore NZ, that New Plymouth would be the ideal spot for an ironsand smelter large enough to employ 10,000 people. Iron Ore NZ began prospecting off the Taranaki coast in 2005. However, no resource consent to begin mining has been granted to them or Trans Tasman Resources, who have also prospected in the area. In 1971 onshore ironsand mining operations began near Waverley, which produced 15.7 million tonnes for export. Mining company Trans-Tasman Resources believes there is NZ$2,300 billion worth of ore in its prospecting zone between the Waikato and Awakino river mouths, as well as off South Taranaki. The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union has welcomed the possibility of sea-bed mining but said a condition of any licence to extract the resource must be that the ore is processed onshore in New Zealand.
LPG Tanker Changes
Small LPG tankers operated by Oceangas services, Australia, have carried LPG to the New Zealand ports of Onehunga, Lyttelton and Dunedin for many years, continuing a trade started by Tarikhiko in 1983. In February 2011 one of these, Bougainville, was sold to China, and she arrived at Ningbo, China, on 9th February 2011. In February 2011 two other regular callers, Maea and Victoire (both 3,759 gross tonnage, built 2005) lost their Oceangas manning contract to an Indian Company, and long-serving Fijiian and Islands crew were made redundant. A new LPG tanker expected to enter service is Astrid (4,310 gross tonnage, built 2010), built by Kanrei Zosen K.K., Japan, and under Panamanian flag.
Replacement for Navy Tanker “Endeavour”
In February 2011 is was announced that the New Zealand Defence Force is looking to replace its old tanker H.M.N.Z.S. Endeavour with a new multi-purpose ship that can also be used to carry cargo, troops and used to operate a helicopter. Navy engineering chief Commander Tony Hayes, who is leading the project, said it was seeking information from shipbuilders to get an idea of what was available and the likely cost before asking for Government approval to call tenders. Indications are that a ship capable of doing everything required of it could cost more than the trouble-plagued multi-role ship Canterbury, which cost NZ$130 million. Commander Hayes said that a Navy tanker, capable of carrying 10,000 tonnes of fuel, could cost as much as the Canterbury. The additional capabilities required for a well equipped joint support ship would add to the cost. Defence needed a tanker with some versatility, meaning that it could also be used to take trucks and armoured vehicles, cargo, a fully equipped army platoon, a helicopter and even landing craft. Shipbuilders have until the end of March 2011 to respond. Defence expects to seek Government approval to proceed with the project in about three months. It would take another year to work out details and call tenders. It could take two years to get the ship built. H.M.N.Z.S.Endeavour, which was built in South Korea and commissioned in 1988, is expected to be taken out of service in 2015.
Former “Tranztas Trader” Sinks
TRANZTAS TRADER at Wellington 1993 M H Pryce
Well-known in New Zealand ports on Australia National Line’s trans-Tasman service as Tranztas Trader between 1989 to 1998, she was sold in 1998 and renamed Orient Aiswarya, and was resold in 1998 and renamed Phu Tan, (11,982 gross tonnage, built 1988), Vietnamese flag. On 16th October 2010, she shipped seas and took water, developed a list, and sank in heavy weather in Gulf of Tonkin, 125 miles west of Sanya, Hainan, in 18014’N, 1070 36’E. Two of her crew were rescued, one was recovered dead, and twentyfour were missing. She was on a voyage from Dan Nang for Haiphong with containers. She was built as Watergeus before taking her Tranztas Trader name in 1989.
“City Cat” Casualty
On 2nd March 2011, East by West’s small commuter ferry City Cat was struck by a large wave whilst she was nearing Seatoun from Days Bay in strong northerlies. Water poured in through shattered wheelhouse windows, and she made a “Mayday” call for assistance. Fortyfour passengers and crew were quickly rescued by a Worser Bay Surf Club boat, new police launch Lady Elizabeth IV and other rescue craft. Later in the day, when the weather had moderated, she returned to her Queens Wharf berth at slow speed for inspection. A few days later she was taken to Seaview Marina and placed ashore for extensive engine and electrical repair work, expected to take up to four weeks.
Black Robin Shipping Ltd.
An article in “The Timaru Herald” in late October 2010 advised of problems for Black Robin Freighters, of Timaru. “Ten million dollars worth of trade with the Chatham Islands could be lost following the receivership of a Timaru shipping company. Black Robin Freighters went into receivership on 20th October 2010 with a public notice to this effect issued on 23rd October. Black Robin Freighters director Kelvyn Leslie was unable to comment. However, in August he raised concerns there would not be enough business to support two shipping services, after Auckland based 44 South Shipping launched a twice-monthly service to the Chathams.
The Chatham Islands’ mayor Alfred Preece said the service was vital to the islands and it would be a crisis situation if it was lost. “We just hope the receivers keep the service operating. “The service to Timaru has built up over a number of years. We are very concerned about the future of shipping (to the Chathams) as it is absolutely essential. “The new service is on a converted trawler and it’s not able to carry the heavy cargo and freight that Rangitira can. It is a crisis situation.” Black Robin Freighters has run Rangatira between Timaru and the Chathams since 2000. The company had reduced its Chathams service from four or five sailings a month to three because there was not enough cargo. It had axed its sailings to Napier as well. Aoraki Development Trust chief executive Wendy Smith had earlier estimated the value of trade between Timaru and the Chathams was about NZ$10 million, and had warned a vessel competing with Rangatira put that under threat. “If the Black Robin service becomes uneconomic, there’s no guarantee this Auckland-based provider will continue calling at Timaru.” Freight from Timaru to the Chathams included heavy equipment, supermarket supplies and produce.
In return, the islanders send “tens of thousands” of head of stock, paua shells and other items, Mrs. Smith said. She said Timaru had a close relationship with the Chathams, which included an enterprise training programme. 44 South Shipping sailed between the Port of Timaru, Napier and the Chathams. The company had been running Baldur between the islands and Napier for seventeen months. Vessel manager Shane Barber said the decision to extend their run to Timaru came after “multiple inquiries” and would see two sailings a month freighting groceries and frozen items. Baldur is nine metres wide, has a 150-cubic-metre cargo hold capacity and a 100cu m freezer. Its deck can handle up to 130 tonnes of freight. Rangatira sailed from Timaru to the Chathams on 27th October.
Another article in “The Timaru Herald” on 26th October had more details of concerns for the future of the service. Chatham Islands MP Annette King confirmed that the shipping company would attempt to trade through the receivership. “I knew last week that it had gone into receivership. Talking to the [Chatham Islands] council I understand Black Robin is going to try and trade through the receivership. “It has always been a difficult job running a shipping service to the Chathams and it is always on a knife edge. “As soon as you get two traders on the route one goes under. Hopefully Black Robin will be able to trade its way out as it has given a really good service to the islands.”
Getting the right ship for the mix of cargo and livestock was an issue, she said. “I understand Black Robin was trying to get a better ship but got caught out in the economic downturn. The shipping company is keeping in touch with the council about developments. “I have offered to do whatever I can, including going to the Government. The shipping link is basically the Chathams’ State Highway1 and I would be arguing the Government should provide assistance as it would for the state highway through the alternative to roads fund. “It is absolutely crucial that shipping link is maintained”. Timaru New World owner Howard Smith supplied groceries to the Chathams and said “I understand it will be operating during receivership. “There is a lot of supplies that go from here including building supplies. “The reality is the Chathams have a declining population. When we first started supplying them [in 2000] the population was 1,200, now it is under 600 people.” His supermarket supplied at least two pallets of groceries for each sailing three times a month. “It’s not just food, all the fuel is shipped over as well and they need fuel to generate electricity.” Timaru district mayor Janie Annear was “hugely disappointed” to hear the shipping service was in receivership. “The link it [The Chathams] has had with South Canterbury has been incredibly strong and a lucrative link for local businesses too. Hopefully the receivers will carry it on. It would be just terrible to see it disappear.” South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce president Steve Lyttle said there was never enough trade for two ships. “It is a significant amount of trade. I hope it does stay if it can.” Aoraki Development Trust chief executive Wendy Smith said it was imperative the Timaru link was maintained. The Chathams are located about 800 kilometres east of New Zealand and are made up of a group of ten small islands of which only two are inhabited, Chatham and Pitt islands.
Another article published in “The Timaru Herald” of 29th October 2010 provided the views of the competing service, defending its run and rejecting concerns of it ditching Timaru. Napier-based company 44 South extended its service to the port of Timaru in September 2010, running in competition to Black Robin Freighters, which has linked Timaru and the Chathams since 2000. 44 South owner Dennis Nisbet said that his company’s vessel Baldur would not cease its Timaru run. “The company has extended its run to include Timaru as a result of increased demand from our customers, both from the Chatham Islands and New Zealand, and rising dissatisfaction levels with the existing services. “We are here to stay to serve the local business community, not to pull out at a later date.” Mr. Nisbet said the vessel was capable of serving the Chathams as a whole and “we will continue to service both Timaru and Napier ports as long as our services are needed”. While Timaru mayor Janie Annear said she supported Black Robin Freighters and Rangitira neither she nor the council would get involved in the process. “We’ve absolutely got to let it play out. You can’t even speculate at this stage. Let’s just see what happens. In reality we all know there’s enough work for one shipping service, there’s not enough work for two.” Mrs. Annear said one of the largest obstacles for any shipping service to the Chathams was the poor state of its wharf and in bad weather ships could not dock.
Black Robin Shipping's RANGATIRA arriving Lyttelton on 18 November 2010. Photo Nigel Kirby
Rangatira (520 gross tonnage, built 1970) arrived at Lyttelton from Timaru on 18th November 2010 for drydocking and survey, and on completion of this sailed from Lyttelton on 27th November back to Timaru.Another article on 3rd January 2011 in “The Timaru Herald” said that problems with the purchase of a second ship to service the Chatham Islands freight run and a subsequent loan default were behind the failure of a Timaru shipping service. Black Robin Shipping and Black Robin Freighters have run regular services to the Chathams for the past decade and have built a trade worth about NZ$10 million a year to South Canterbury. They were placed into receivership in October 2010 in a blow to both the Chathams and South Canterbury. The receiver, BDO, was trying to sell the shipping businesses as a going concern. The mainstay of the service, Rangitira, was still sailing. The first receiver’s report showed that Black Robin Freighters had total assets of NZ$491,006 and total liabilities of NZ $2.9 million, leaving a deficit of NZ$2.4 million. The associated company, Black Robin Shipping, has total assets close to NZ$4.9 million, and total liabilities of NZ$5 million, leaving a deficit of NZ$132,318. Among the debtors is South Canterbury Finance, the Timaru financier which itself went into receivership in August, triggering a NZ$1.6 billion government bailout. Black Robin director Kelvyn Leslie, who founded the company, is continuing to run the service. In the report, the receiver said the primary reason for the failure was costs associated with the purchase of a ship from South America, which was estimated to exceed US$3.2 million (NZ$4.17 million) and a loan default. Black Robin’s main debt was NZ$4.4 million to SCF. Jaguar (1,044 gross tonnage, built 1985) was still laid up at Lyttelton in March 2011.
a tag or press ESC to cancel