- Watts Shipping Register
- Watts Shipping Register
Nautical News Vol 58 No 1 August 2011
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
Fire Damages Bridge of Bulker LAKE ARAFURA at Gisborne.
A fire broke out on the bridge of the Panamanian bulk carrier Lake Arafura (17,431 gross tonnage, built 2002) at Gisborne’s Eastland Port on the evening of 16th March 2011. The fire started at 7p.m. and was quickly brought under control by the crew with help from the Fire Service, who said that the crew used breathing apparatus and the vessel's inbuilt fire fighting system to extinguish the blaze. Initial indications were that the fire was started by an electrical fault. The vessel sustained fire, smoke and water damage, although the crew acted very quickly and brought the fire under control, restricting damage to one corner of the bridge. The vessel had loaded about 10,000 tonnes of logs when the fire broke out. After some temporary repairs, she sailed from Gisborne on 20th March 2011 with a pilot on the bridge, with another alongside the helmsman at the emergency steering position in the steering flat, with radio contact to the wheelhouse, with engine orders being transmitted by radio between bridge and engine room, and arrived at Tauranga on 21st March 2011. After more extensive repairs, she sailed from Tauranga on 25th March bound for China, where full repairs were to be carried out.
Clifford Bay Ferry Terminal
The proposal by KiwiRail (or previous former rail-owning companies) to develop Clifford Bay in Marlborough as an alternative ferry terminal to Picton had never really died, and in early May 2011 various media articles showed that KiwiRail was keeping it alive. Its “turnaround plan” to Cabinet in 2010 saw them ask for more work to be done on Clifford Bay project, and that is still in hand. The Government’s view was “nice idea but not now”. But KiwiRail believes that cutting down road and freight times between Christchurch and the gateway to the North Island would be one of the best infrastructure investments that New Zealand could make. Many of the media articles replicated those of 2005, when the plan to build a terminal at Clifford Bay last had an airing. To remind members of what has gone before, the following is a partial repeat from New Zealand Marine News of 2003. “Some seventyone kilometres south from Picton lies the site of Interisland Line’s proposed new ferry port at Clifford Bay. The new port would be nine kilometres from State Highway One, and twenty kilometres from the nearest settlement at Seddon. On 30th January 2003 Interisland Line signalled that a new port at Clifford Bay could be operating in three years. The company said it had appointed Dutch-owned financial advisers ABN AMRO to immediately undertake a preliminary stage one evaluation of the project. Group General Manager Thomas Davis said the move underlined “the ferry operator's commitment to making Clifford Bay its preferred South Island port of operations”. The evaluation would include a review of the business case for Clifford Bay and the cost and revenue benefits of the project, together with an assessment of the construction and engineering requirements. Analysis of the various financial and contractual structures would also be undertaken, he said. Mr. Davis said a move to Clifford Bay would create a more efficient and cost- effective freight and passenger link and reduce the Wellington-Christchurch trip by around two hours. Consents were in place for the terminal and the company would move quickly if the analysis stacked up, he said. The Clifford Bay project has drawn interest from a number of national and overseas companies, including the Port of Marlborough and New Zealand’s biggest export port, the Port of Tauranga. Mr. Davis had previously estimated that if the move goes ahead, the new terminal, 44 kilometres south of Blenheim, would cost about NZ$90 million. Blenheim firms would have the option of using Strait Shipping, which came into the Picton port, he said. “At the end of the day Strait Shipping will be the winners.” In 2005, Toll Shipping (then owners of Interisland Line) confirmed that the mooted Clifford Bay ferry terminal project had been “definitely abandoned and would not be built.” The new media articles in May 2011 again traversed similar stories, and a selection follow. “Picton may lose ferries” 9th May 2011. “Preliminary work on a NZ$200 million port south of Blenheim to replace the Picton ferry terminal could begin within months, with the Government set to announce a high-level study”. KiwiRail is backing the plan for a Public Private Partnership (PPP) terminal at Clifford Bay, with its own work suggesting it would boost its business and the wider economy significantly.” Transport Minister Steven Joyce said “It will take a while to get it built but it will actually shorten the time between Wellington and Christchurch, and Auckland and Christchurch for rail by nearly two hours, and road by 80 or 90 minutes” The idea for a Clifford Bay terminal was floated as far back as the 1920s. The location would cut out the worst part of the road between Picton and Christchurch, which included steep climbs. It would allow ships to move more quickly across Cook Strait, which would help preserve the Marlborough Sounds and make travel and freight more efficient. Cook Strait ferries have faced increasing competition for passengers from low-cost airlines. A Clifford Bay terminal was estimated to cost NZ$180 million to NZ$200 million and take about 2 1/2 years to build. Port Marlborough’s chief executive said he was disappointed the minister and KiwiRail did not discuss its plans with the port company. If Clifford Bay went ahead it would have major financial implications for the port, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Marlborough District Council. The income from the Interislander and Bluebridge ferries made up a third of the port company’s annual income. KiwiRail, which owns the Interislander and has instigated the investigation into Clifford Bay, has a contract with Port Marlborough until 2017. Resource consent for a ferry complex was granted but lapsed in November 2005. KiwiRail said they could not guarantee whether Picton and Blenheim would still be serviced by freight and passenger trains if the ferry terminal was moved to Clifford Bay. Predictably, Picton businesses railed against plans to move the ferry terminal out of the town, with one saying a move “would be the death of Picton”. More than a million passengers travel on KiwiRail’s Interislander ferries each year, bringing a significant number of tourists to Picton. If the terminal moved, Picton would need to develop into a tourist destination, while the departure of the Interislander could open opportunities to other ferry operators. KiwiRail said the freight market was expected to grow by between seventy per cent and one hundred per cent over the next few decades, making a new terminal economically and environmentally important. This would require larger ferries to carry more trucks and trains, which could have a negative impact on the sensitive environment of the Marlborough Sounds.” KiwiRail’s Picton manager said at the moment trains could only move 1,100 tonnes of freight between Picton and Blenheim and 1,400 tonnes between Blenheim and Christchurch because of steep gradients of The Elevation at Picton and the Dashwood Pass southeast of Blenheim; weight limits over those hilly stretches were very restrictive, he said. However, trains could move about 2,000 tonnes of freight out of Clifford Bay, he said.
Ironsands Found Off Wanganui
In March 2011, offshore ironsand explorer TransTasman Resources said it had achieved a world-first with confirmation of commercially attractive ”inferred” concentrations of ironsand on the sea floor off Wanganui, the first step to proving the reserves. The international geological survey firm Golders rated a small area of black sands within their offshore exploration licence area as containing the equivalent of 102 million tonnes of iron ore at a sixty percent concentration. While it related to only a small area, the result improved confidence that the current shallow drilling over the 2011 summer would provide further hard data to quantify the resource and its value to New Zealand’s export ambitions. While the ironsands are titano-magentite deposits, which are less used in steel-making than the most common feedstock, hematite, TTR believes the cost of offshore ironsands mining will be a fraction of onshore extraction costs.
Tsunami Waves Hit New Zealand
In mid-March 2011, it was stated that all of New Zealand’s coasts were hit by relatively small tsunami waves following Japan’s massive magnitude 9.0-magnitude earthquake on 11th March 2011, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) said. Its data revealed a tsunami wave even registered on a sea-level gauge at Scott Base in Antarctica. Niwa’s 19 sea-level gauges showed peak wave amplitudes, or the height of the wave above predicted tide levels, ranged from 0.78 metres at Whitianga, the Chatham Islands and Timaru to just 5cm at Scott Base. Whitianga and the Chatham Islands received the largest waves at 1.6 metres, while Mount Maunganui, Charleston, near Westport, and Timaru also recorded wave heights over a metre. The first waves to hit New Zealand, after the earthquake struck Japan, did not arrive until at least twelve hours later. In Timaru and Christchurch the largest waves did not hit until up to forty hours after the first quake-generated wave. Tsunami currents caused by the massive earthquake in Japan snapped anchor ropes on marine farms in the Marlborough Sounds, tangled mussel lines and damaged mussels ready for harvest. The damage could tally up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Farmers in Port Underwood and Croisilles Harbour were worst affected, with more than one hundred lines damaged by strong, erratic currents caused by the magnitude 9 earthquake off the east coast of Japan Repairs took up to ten days. A Port Underwood mussel farmer said he watched as strong currents surged into the area from about 3p.m. on Saturday until about 2.p.m on Sunday. “The tide was running in and out several metres and I knew exactly what was going to happen. I was watching whole lines move around in enormous forces. “Parts of the sea looked like the entrance to Tory Channel when the tide is running. The water was sort of boiling. “It looked a bit like a washing machine with currents coming from all sorts of angles. The currents are so strong they take silt off the bottom.” The eastern arm of Port Underwood and nearby Kaikoura Bay was worst hit. The fallout from the tsunami came at the best time for mussel harvesting. Some marine farmers spent days untangling lines. Tsunami generated by earthquakes in Indonesia in 2004 and Chile in 2010 had also damaged mussel farms. The solution seemed to be to use thicker anchor lines and heavy duty anchors. There were no reports of damage to farms in Tory Channel or Pelorus Sound.
Aratere sailed from Wellington on 12th April for Singapore, and she arrived at the Sembawang shipyard on 28th April via Torres Straits. On the voyage from Wellington her crew had removed tables and furniture and done much work in stripping passenger areas. Aratere went into the floating drydock at Singapore on 13th May 2011, where work commenced on cutting her into two sections and in removing a section of her bow. Workers disconnected up to six thousand pipes and electrical fittings, and installed supports to hold the sections of hull upright after cutting operations. As can be imagined, this was no quick task, and it was 24th May before both sections had been cleanly separated and sections of the bow had removed. On 25th May her forward section was “skidded” forward in the floating dock by use of hydraulic rams and by hauling on pulleys and large brackets attached to her bow, with the hull sitting on Teflon pads. On completion of this, there was left a gap sufficient to insert her new midsection. The newly-built midbody (including engines, switchboards etc.), weighing 1,500 tonnes, was lifted into position by the large floating crane Asian Hercules 2 (of 3,000 tonnes lift capacity) which simply lifted the new section” over the outer wall of the floating dock and placed it in the gap between the two original hull sections on 4th June 2011. Of special interest was a new funnel on the port side of the new midbody, which was for the exhausts from the new generator sets installed in order to increase electrical power for her “hotel load”. Originally it had been intended to run the exhaust pipes from the new generator sets to an existing funnel, but this proved to be impractical, so she will arrive back in New Zealand with three funnels. Complete-refurbishment of previous accommodation spaces took place, and the new passenger mid-section deck, Food Court deck, drivers’ cabins deck were refitted “as new”. On completion of re-welding operations and hull repainting, she was refloated from the floating dock on 30th July 2011 and berthed nearby to carry out various engine and bow-thruster trials alongside. By this time, she had become of 183.69 metres length overall and 168.31 metres length b.p. (previously 150.00 metres length overall and 137.00 length b.p.). (Length overall includes her bulbous bow, so although her new mid-body was 30 metres, the fitting of a new bow section also aided to increase her length) She was now of 17,816 gross tonnage (as compared with her original 12,596 gross tonnage). She was expected to sail from Singapore in late-August 2011 to return to Wellington and resume commercial freight-only sailings across Cook Strait early in September 2011. After her crew had become familiarised with what was virtually a new ship, she was scheduled to resume passenger sailings on 19th September 2011. Strengthening and modification work to the RFT2 berth at Wellington was completed by CentrePort by late-August 2011. The above are merely the main points of a very intensive and complex operation to increase the size and capacity of the ferry.
The ferry Monte Stello commenced commercial service on bareboat charter to Interislander from Strait Shipping on 12th April 2011 (not 12th March as erroneously recorded in Vol.57, No.4) with an evening sailing from Wellington. On the afternoon of 13th April, whilst loading at Waitohi Wharf, Picton, a malfunction of her port controllable-pitch propeller control whilst her engines were “warming up” in neutral pitch prior to sailing, saw her “shoot-forwards” out of her berth before loading had completed, breaking two stern mooring lines. After re-berthing and completing loading, she sailed to Wellington later that afternoon, where she berthed and discharged before anchoring overnight in the Stream to investigate the cause of the problem, cancelling her scheduled evening sailing to Picton. She berthed at RFT3 at 9a.m. on 14th April after Kaitaki sailed for Picton, remained there all day without loading until Kaitaki returmed in late afternoon, when Monte Stello returned to the anchorage with a spare part to be fitted. This was duly fitted, and she reberthed at RFT3 after Kaitaki sailed late that evening. Monte Stello resumed commercial sailings in the early hours of the morning of 15th April. Her initial scheduled timetable was to sail from Wellington at 2.50a.m. and 6.30p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday, but as this inconvenienced Kaitaki (with which Monte Stello uses the same berths in Wellington and Picton), by the second week this had been modified to sailings from Wellington at 3.30a.m. and 5p.m.On 4th May 2011, whilst on passage with trucks from Wellington to Picton, she “touched-bottom” about 6a.m. just inside Tory Channel, but was able to continue her voyage to Picton, where she berthed and discharged trucks before divers inspected her underwater hull. It seems that she struck Wheki Rock (41° 12’.43S., 174° 18’.29E), off Arapawa Island, to the north-west of the leading-lights into Tory Channel, after some confusion over a helm-order delayed her turn to port from Tory Channel entrance into Tory Channel itself. Scuff-marks, “slightly-damaged” bottom-plating and a slightly-damaged starboard propeller appeared to be the limit of her damage, and she sailed from Picton without cargo in the early afternoon back to Wellington, on one engine, and via the Northern entrance to Queen Charlotte Sound. She arrived at Wellington about 6p.m. and berthed at Glasgow Wharf for further diving surveys and for investigation by regulatory authorities. She resumed her commercial sailings at 5p.m. on 5th May. A Notice to Mariners on 10 June 2011 advised that a flashing green light beacon had been installed on Wheki Rock to mark it better. On 28th June a portable diesel generator was fitted on her upper deck as a replacement for one of her original diesel generators, which had become defective. Her port side remained displaying full Strait Shipping logos, whilst only the starboard side logos had been painted-out. Painting-out Strait Shipping logos was a condition of her charter-party. On 15th July 2011 she landed heavily at RFT3 whilst berthing and suffered a small hole in her starboard quarter. Towards the end of July she experienced some problems with her emergency generator and needed tug assistance from her berth on a few occasions.
While berthing stern-first at Glasgow Wharf in strong southerly winds in Wellington on the evening of 26th April 2011, the ferry Santa Regina glanced the side of the old laid-up fishing vessel Southern Prospector ((98 gross tonnage, built 1979) berthed at the adjacent Inter Island Wharf,, which left a gash in the hull high on the stern quarter of the ferry. Santa Regina was repaired on 27th April and resumed commercial sailings on 28th April. Strait Shipping was forced to cancel its scheduled sailing at 8a.m. on 27th April at very short notice and about 120 passengers had to wait about six hours for the next sailing of the Straitsman, which was two hours behind schedule because of bad weather. Strait Shipping said the ferries were busy because it was in the middle of the school holidays but the company had managed to get all booked passengers across later that day. A passenger waiting to board the ferry at Wellington said that, from the terminal, he saw a gash about four metres long on the starboard side of the ferry. '”You can put your hand through it. It’s a hole”. Parts of the hull and deck railings of the 33-metre Southern Prospector (98 gross tonnage, built 1979) were buckled, but the lip of her port bow deck plating tore through Santa Regina's hull. Southern Prospector had been berthed awaiting sale for the past few years and had been squeezed as it was pushed into the wharf. Santa Regina sailed from Wellington on 30th July 2011 for Auckland, where she entered the Devonport drydock on 1st August for routine survey and refit.
Wellington Ferries Claimed As “Huge Pollution Problem”
Climate-change issues are generally split between those that are fully convinced that global warming due to man-made pollution is taking place and those who consider that the scientific case to prove this is far from complete. Articles claiming that “the end is nigh” are frequently published in the media. One such article was published in “The Dominion Post” on 23rd July 2011. This claimed that “Cook Strait ferries were burning toxic fuel, banned in many harbours around the world, and Interislander was considering switching to even more polluting oil. A single ferry visit to Wellington may pollute the air as much as all Wellington’s cars for a month. The fuel oil pumped through the ships, which cruise through the waters of the Marlborough Sounds, produces high sulphur emissions known to cause acid rain and linked to cancer. And marine scientists say an oil spill could cause an environmental disaster, coating sea birds and animals in the sticky substance.” It was no surprise that the ferry companies took issue with these statements, and on 1st August in a “Letter to Editor” in “The Dominion Post”, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) apologised for comments attributed to one of its staff and said that NIWA had carried out no scientific survey to quantify the level of pollution that might be attributed to emissions from ferries.
Because of several days of forecast severe north-westerly weather at Taharoa, the ironsands bulker Taharoa Express (74, 364 gross tonnage, built 1990) anchored three miles off Parengarenga Harbour on 4th April 2011 until the weather moderated . She later berthed at Taharoa Terminal on 9th April, loaded, dewatered, then sailed on 13th April for Tianjn, China. She arrived back at Taharoa again on 24th May, and after a protracted loading operation only using one loading slurry-line, sailed from Taharoa on 29th May for Qingdao. Taharoa Express again anchored off Parengarenga Harbour on the evening of 8th July 2011 whilst severe north-westerly gales and swells affected the Taharoa Terminal area. When the weather abated, she went back “around the top” and berthed at Taharoa on 16th July. She completed loading on 18th July and anchored nearby to dewater, before sailing on 19th July for Kakogawa/Lanshan with just over 116,000 tonnes of ironsands. It is understood that construction of a 175,000 tonnes-deadweight ore carrier to replace her commenced at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki shipyard in June 2011, intended to be named Taharoa Destiny and delivered by June 2012. She will be of approximately 295 metres length overall, 45 metres beam and with a summer draft of about 18.2 metres, and will have six large cargo holds. In December 2007 Maritime New Zealand had said that they intended that their “harbour management” of Taharoa would cease by April 2008 and that it would revert to Waikato Regional Council. This did not eventuate, and in July 2011 the Port Taranaki Marine Manager had been appointed by Maritime New Zealand to act as Harbourmaster for them for the Taharoa Terminal.
The Liberian-flag drillship Noble Discoverer (13,485 gross tonnage, built 1966), with 114 people on board, which had been drilling on the Ruru-1 exploration well on the southern boundary of the Maui gas field, had to disconnect from its wellhead as a precautionary measure during storms on the night of 24th April 2011. The vessel was understood to have rolled heavily in the bad weather as it manouevred near the Maui-B production platform, then near the Tui oilfield to the north. Gale-force winds affected the area and there was a south-westerly swell of up to six metres. Noble Discoverer sheltered safely northwest of New Plymouth and anchored on 28th April. She berthed at Port Taranaki on 23rd May to undergo several months of repair work and upgrading. Noble Discoverer arrived in Taranaki waters in January 2011 to drill the single exploration well. The project was supposed to take up to two months, with the drillship then scheduled to head to Alaska to drill exploration wells within the Arctic Circle, but the project had obviously not gone to schedule. In early July 2011, Noble Discoverer and other ships working offshore Taranaki anchored in Tasman Bay to shelter ahead of extreme weather and heavy swells in the Tasman Sea. Noble Discoverer was originally built as a bulk carrier, but in 1976 it was converted into a drillship merged with fellow driller Noble Corporation.
Pounawea residents were shocked to see the historic scow The Portland (86 gross tonnage, built 1910) sinking in the river near the township during April 2011. The sunken scow and the subsequent salvage operation drew many sightseers, who lined the banks of the Owaka River near Pounawea to watch. Owner Ray Mathieson said logs which often floated down the river, especially when the river was high, could damage the hull and let in water. “The battery terminal was corroded, which cut off the bilge pump, and the low spring tide probably tipped her up.” About eight volunteer firefighters and two friends helped him refloat the 101-year-old boat at low tide on 22nd April 2011. No significant damage was caused. Mr. Mathieson bought the boat in 1979, and had no immediate plans to sell The Portland. He still used the scow when he wanted a break from his home at Katea, near Owaka. “She’s just like a crib at Pounawea. It’s lovely staying on the boat - even in winter she’s warm as with the big coal range,” he said. The Portland was built by George T. Niccol, of Auckland, in 1910. A sailing-hold scow built from kauri, she was originally owned by Wilsons (NZ) Portland Cement, trading in the Auckland area. We published photos of The Portland at Pounawea in Vol. 55, No.1 and Vol.55, No.2 in 2007.
Maersk Line Service Changes
In May 2011 Maersk Line announced significant changes on two of its locally-calling services, the NZ1 to Asia and Europe and the Southern Star Express to Australia, both effective on 1st August 2011. Capacity on the former was increased by about 60 per cent as the four existing “Maersk Dabou”-class 4,100-TEU vessels were replaced by nine 2,900-TEU ships. Moving from a single to a dual-loop weekly service, the schedule introduced new calls at Brisbane, Tauranga and Lyttelton and a second weekly call for Auckland. “Loop one” became Tanjung Pelepas, Singapore, Brisbane, Auckland, Tauranga, Port Kelang, Tanjung Pelepas, whilst “Loop two” became Tanjung Pelepas, Singapore, Auckland, Lyttelton, Port Chalmers, Tanjung Pelepas. However, the shipping line simultaneously announced its trans-Tasman schedule would reduce capacity from four to three vessels, with direct calls to Brisbane, Lyttelton and Port Chalmers discontinued in favour of a service from Nelson and North Island ports. The revised rotation became Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Wellington, Nelson, New Plymouth and Auckland. The four ships on this service are BC San Franscisco,(9,956 gross tonnage, built 2006) JRS Pegasus (9,983 gross tonnage, buit 20090, Maersk Aberdeen (14,063 gross tonnage, built 1999) and Maersk Radford (9,957 gross tonnage, built 20070, and it is not known yet which ship will be dropped. The new two-loop weekly butterfly service between New Zealand, Europe and Asia became known as the Northern Star and Southern Star. Replacing the former NZ1 service, the two service loops took effect from 17th July 2011. It introduced extra port calls at Auckland, Tauranga and Lyttelton. The Northern Star rotation became Tanjung Pelepas, Singapore, Brisbane-Auckland, Tauranga, Port Kelang, Tanjung Pelepas and the Southern Star rotation became Tanjung Pelepas, Singapore, Auckland, Lyttelton, Port Chalmers., Tanjung Pelepas. Ships initially used on the new service were Passat Spring (32,200 gross tonnage, built 2006), Maersk Izmir (35, 491 gross tonnage, built 2008), Josephine Maersk (30,166 gross tonnage, built 2002), Maersk Jamestown (28,616 gross tonnage, built 2006), Maersk Norwich (26,671 gross tonnage, built 2006), AS Carelia (28,592 gross tonnage, built 2006), Bahia (41,483 gross tonnage, built 2007), Bahia Grande (41,483 gross tonnage, built 2007), Marianne Schulte (26,718 gross tonnage, built 2001), Welle (26,611 gross tonnage, built 2005).
“Maersk Dabou” Damaged at Port OtagoMaersk Dabou (41,359 gross tonnage, built 2005) suffered engine failure on the afternoon of 19th May 2011 whilst berthing at the Port Chalmers container terminal. The vessel was turning in the swing basin when the engines failed causing it to collide with Beach Street wharf, leaving a five-metre hole in the starboard side of the ship. There were no injuries to any of the crew and no damage to any cargo. Unloading of the container ship w completed on schedule. Preliminary surveys of the vessel were completed by engineers and repairs were made to the hole by welding an insert steel plate in place. After repairs, Maersk Dabou sailed from Port Chalmers on 23rd May for Tanjung Pelepas
Maersk Line Drops New Plymouth From Schedule
On 23rd July 2011 New Plymouth received the unwelcome news from Maersk Line that the port stood to lose up to half of its container trade, 15,000 containers a year, following the sudden withdrawal from the port by Maersk Line, who said that it would cease calling at New Plymouth from the end of July 2011. Dairy giant Fonterra was blamed for continuing to rail their products from Whareroa to “hub ports” Auckland and Tauranga for export. This made remaining cargo volumes insufficient to maintain a viable service into New Plymouth. The announcement came ten years after New Polymouth was included in a service to North and Latin America, making it the final New Zealand port of call for a service to the hub port of Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia. In May 2011, Maersk dropped a weekly trans-Tasman service to Port Chalmers, with the annual loss of about 22,000 mainly empty trans-ship containers, then reduced the size of ships visiting the southern port. In 2001, Maersk Sealand said New Plymouth would handle exports from Taranaki and the lower North Island, and potentially dairy products from Waikato. In 2006, when Maersk controlled about forty per cent of the New Zealand market, Maersk shifted the focus of its port calls from Tauranga to Auckland, and two years later, in 2008, Maersk cancelled about 104 annual ship calls to Port Otago, most of which had subsequently been reinstated over time. Cargo through New Plymouth had dropped since Fonterra cut output by sixtyfive per cent at its Whareora plant near Hawera in August 2009, then estimated to be a loss of about 22,000 containers a year from the port’s 65,000 containers handled in 2008-2009. Maersk Line said that it had changed its trans-Tasman schedules to include Lyttelton instead of New Plymouth. This was despite Taranaki Regional Council ratepayers (who own the port) spending NZ$20 million in 2007 on dredging to allow it to serve larger container vessels, such as Maersk Duffield,(45,803 gross tonnage) which, at 289-metres length, was the longest vessel to have called there.
Chathams' Wharf May Be Replaced Late in May 2011,
Rangitata MP Jo Goodhew said that she was delighted the Government would provide NZ$160,000 in funding to look at a new wharf for the Chatham Islands. The small community had expressed concern about its wharf for several years Mrs. Goodhew, along with Agriculture Minister David Carter and Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson, visited the Chathams in February. The MPs spoke to several groups including representatives from the local district council, Federated Farmers and the Chatham Islands Enterprise Trust. A Government working group was established to address issues relating to the area, and the Government announced it would put NZ$160,000 towards a feasibility study to help evaluate options for the Waitangi wharf. Mrs. Goodhew said she was pleased with the announcement. “During our visit, the state of the wharf was one of the key topics of discussion, and I am delighted the Government is doing something towards it,” she said. The study will help us assess the problems with the current wharf, develop a business case and consider options for the future. The Chatham Islands Enterprise Trust would contribute NZ$40,000 towards the cost. The islands contribute close to NZ$200 million to the New Zealand economy, largely through farming and fishing.
In late June 2011, the 64-metre stern trawler Ocean Dawn arrived at Nelson to replace Sealord’s chartered Independent 1. Ocean Dawn was built 1991 as Sterkoder by Sterkoder Mek. Verksted AS, Kristiansund , Norway In 1997 she had been renamed Asisha. She had been renamed Ocean Dawn in April 1997 when purchased by Simonovich Fisheries, Auckland. In January 2006 her ownership changed to Sur Austral Pesquera, Valparaiso. Independent 1(1,226 gross tonnage, built 1997) was sold late in 2010 to undisclosed owners, but continued to fish for Sealord’s under an interim charter.
On 25th July 2011 the fishing vessel Janas (1,079 gross tonnage, built 1993) with twentyone crewmembers on board, experienced an engine breakdown while she was fishing for toothfish in the Southern Ocean, around 600 miles south of New Zealand. The engine of the vessel failed again after emergency repairs were affected. Thereafter, she requested assistance following the engine problems. The Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis, currently being leased by the Royal Australian Navy, responded to a call from Janas. Aurora Australis towed her overnight to Macquarie Island and arrived there on 26th July. Aurora Australis later towed Janas from Macquarie Island to Port Ross Harbour, Auckland Islands, where both arrived on 30th July 2011. Janas is operated by New Zealand Longline. The small fishing vessel Galeos was chartered to carry spare parts and engineers from Bluff to Auckland Islands, where Janas was to be repaired, then resume fishing in the Southern Ocean by 1st August 2011. Janas is a long-line vessel completed in April 1993 by the Soviknes Verft A/|S shipyard at Sorvik, Norway. She commenced its career as Kapitan Kartashov, owned by the Vladivostok Trawler & Refrigerator Fleet Base. She was renamed Tawhaki in 1998 and then Janas later that year, part of the Sealord fleet. New Zealand Longline is a 50-50 partnership between Sealord Group and Talley’s Group, and has an annual quota to catch 300 tonnes of toothfish.
The former Union Melbourne was mentioned in Nautical News Vol.57, No. 4 as Stena Seafarer. Stena Leader, Stena Pioneer and Stena Seafarer were reported sold in May 2011 to Russian interests for use during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games which are being held in Sochi on the Black Sea. In early June, Stena Seaferer was renamed ANT 2 whilst laid-up at Belfast. Stena Pioneer was renamed ANT 1, Stena Leader was renamed Anna Marine. All threes are now Moldovan flagged, registered in Giurgiulesti. Stena Seafarer sailed from Belfast on 20th June 2011 bound for Sevastapol, Ukraine
On 31st May 2011 the 110-metre container ship Southern Pasifika (5,234 gross tonnage, built 2003) was arrested and put up for an enforced sale by creditors of the ship’s German owners, and was moored just north of Auckland’s Harbour Bridge at Auckland’s Chelsea Sugar factory berth. She had been undergoing repairs at Babcock Fitzroy’s workshop next to the Devonport Naval Base, but the ship’s owners, Werse Schiffahrts GmbH & Co., had not paid the repair bill and the High Court took control of the vessel. She had been moved from Navy base further up the harbour to a wharf beside the landmark sugar factory. In mid-August 2011 she was sold to BD-Shipsnavo GmbH & Co, Germany, and renamed Jule.
H.M.N.Z.S. “Te Mana”
On 15th June 2011 it was announced that the Navy frigate H.M.N.Z.S. Te Mana was heading to Singapore on one engine for urgent dry-dock repairs after the discovery of mechanical problems during a five-month deployment to Australia and Asia. Divers found bearing problems on both A-brackets which held the propeller shafts during a routine check on Jakarta, Indonesia. The Navy’s Maritime Component Commander Commodore John Martin, said the bearings had shown excessive wear but had not failed. The ship could have returned home on its starboard engine but the Navy decided to cancel a visit to China and head to Singapore for repairs.
Reduced Nelson Services
The Saturday morning sailing from Wellington to Nelson using Strait Shipping’s Santa Regina ceased from 25th June 2011, and the return sailing from Nelson to Wellington ceased next day. Pacifica’s feeder-service using Spirit of Endurance (7,545 gross tonnage, built 2008), arriving at Wellington from Lyttelton, and sailing from Wellington to Nelson, ceased on 12th June 2011. From 29th June 2011, Spirit of Resolution (3,850 gross tonnage, built 1997) called at Wellington instead, and sailed to New Plymouth, omitting a Nelson call from her northbound service.
Quake-hit Lyttelton Still Expects Increased Cargo Volumes
In mid-May 2011 Lyttelton said volumes through the transport hub would be up in the June 2011 financial year despite the disruption to ship visits by the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes. The port faces a number of changes to operations that will have an impact on future volumes. It is in the midst of repairs to wharves and infrastructure, having received millions in interim insurance payments for a project that will cost hundreds of millions. It is also facing up to scheduling changes initiated by key shipping provider Maersk, which is adding a direct service to Malaysia and Singapore but cutting a direct service to the eastern seaboard of Australia. Ship visits had been disrupted by the quakes, but the port had been supported by an increase in demand for New Zealand food and dairy produced in the South Island. Manufacturing had also continued at a time when prices were good and some companies were restocking. In the longer term, government support for irrigation schemes should produce further increases in production. The company had up to 150 contractors working to fix quake damage, including a lot of work on wharf piles and tie-back structures on Cashin Quay 1. By the end of August the port hoped to have an improved coal service, allowing ships to be filled by a moveable coal ship loader. Cashin Quay 2 was also being repaired during the next few months. Work included a ramp for new and used cars. Other repairs included Cashin Quay 3 and 4, port paving and a breakwater that had sunk 1.5 metres into the harbour as a result of the quakes. Its insurance company had already paid millions as part of a staged repair process.
Lyttelton – More Earthquake Damage.
On the early afternoon of 13th June 2011 a 5.5, followed by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake just over an hour later, again rocked Christchurch, also causing more damage at Lyttelton. COSCO Fuzhou (35,988 gross tonnage, built 2007)was turned around at the container berth two days later to have some containers loaded by the one remaining working container crane. Tugs held her alongside while the operation was carried out. An hour later she was pulled off the berth and sailed. COSCO Fuzhou had been trapped under the two cranes that had been working her when the quakes happened. Both of these cranes came off their rails and very lucky they stayed upright. It was not wanted to move COSCO Fuzhou until it was safe to do so. Contractors were still working to get the cranes back on the rails. (COSCO Fuzhou had arrived at Lyttelton earlier on 13th June from Auckland, and eventually sailed on 15th June to Napier). Later, MSC Sabrina (35,598 gross tonnage, built 1989), scheduled to arrive from Port Chalmers, bypassed Lyttelton and went direct to Wellington on 18th June. The bulk carrier Hibernia (17,784 gross tonnage, built 2001) later arrived to load logs at 7 west berth, which would not usually handle this cargo. The bulk carrier Shirane (43,376 gross tonnage, built 2000) arrived to load coal just before the earthquake on 13th June and was still alongside Cashin Quay a week later whilst shore coal-loading facilities were repaired. During the next few days, the bulk carrier Jin Xing Ling (19,993 gross tonnage, built 2010) arrived to discharge fertilizer. The car-carrier Aquarius Ace (36,615 gross tonnage, built 1998) unloaded vehicles, and Conti Harmony (31,207 gross tonnage, built 1997) exchanged containers.
Historic Maritime Buildings Damaged or Destroyed.
Some of New Zealand’s most historic maritime sites were severely damaged in the 13th June aftershocks in Canterbury. The damage includes one of the country’s oldest and last remaining signal stations. Sitting at the entrance to Lyttelton Harbour, Adderley Head Station on Banks Peninsula is of one of New Zealand’s loneliest lookouts. It lies in ruins, and may not be able to be saved due to the damage caused by the 5.6 and 6.3 aftershocks of 13th June. The 144-year-old signal station was fully renovated in the 1990s. After using a helicopter to lift off the roof, Conservation Department staff could only pick through the pieces. The Timeball Station was also reduced to rubble due to the damage caused by the earthquakes. Also damaged was the Godley Head Lighthouse, which now teeters as the cliff has fallen away beneath it. The category one historic Jervois Fort, built in response to the Russian Scare in the 1880s, is in a similar state.Godley HeadGodley Head is situated on the Port Hills between Christchurch and it’s harbour Lyttelton. The headland was named in 1900 after John Robert Godley the founder of the Canterbury settlement Christchurch. Previously the headland had been known as Awaroa by the local maori and then Cape Cashalot, this name given by a French whaler Captain Jean L’Anglois who in 1838 nearly wrecked his ship on the headland. As Christchurch was first settled in the 1840’s and 50’s, and the Canterbury plains were quickly converted into pastoral run holdings for grazing sheep, wool exports from the port of Lyttelton deemed a lighthouse necessary. In 1849 Captain Thomas, Chief Surveyor for the Canterbury Association suggested a lighthouse be built at Godley Head. In 1859 finances were secured by the Canterbury Provincial Council and the planning begun. The lighthouse tower was built from locally quarried stone and was first lit in April, 1865. The lantern was designed and built in England. Along with the tower, a double stone house was built with a slate roof. This dwelling housed both the Head and Assistant Keepers and their families. Never an isolated station, there was always a constant stream of goods and people traveling over the Port Hills road between Lyttelton and Christchurch. A track to the lighthouse branched off this road bought many visitors and enabled the keeper's children to attend school. In the 1930’s a road was finally built from Evans Pass. All visitors were offered a cup of tea and slice of fruit cake from the Head Keeper’s wife. Later as the number of visitors increased a charge of six pence was requested. Before the road, supplies for the light were landed by launch every three months at the base of the cliff in Mechanics Bay and pack horses hauled the supplies up the 150-metre cliff via a steep trail. As fog was a problem, in 1910 a explosive fog signal was added. The fog signal, a Slaughter’s Cotton Powder Explosive Signal was built down below the light on the waters edge accessed by a very hazardous path. As the signal used explosives and the rock face was unstable, using it was a risky proposition. The signal was replaced in 1927 with a compressed air warning system near the lighthouse. In 1916 a new incandescent light replaced the old kerosene lamp. Due to the strategic vantage point, in the 1880’s fortifications were built around the lighthouse. During the Second World War the Army moved back onto the lighthouse grounds and installed a battery of six inch guns. As the lighthouse was in the direct line of fire of the guns installed, the old tower was demolished and the lantern room was moved further down the cliff face. The old keepers cottage was relocated behind the Taylor battery. About 1942 a second assistant keepers cottage was built close by. In 1946 the lighthouse was electrified, the road was improved with a tar seal finish and later a new house was built for the remaining keeper. The lighthouse was automated in 1976 and handed over to the Lyttelton Harbour Board. It is now under the control of the Lyttelton Port Company.
Adderley Head Signal Station On 17th June 2011 a notice was erected there stating that “the building is closed as it has suffered severe damage and collapsed.” A Pilot and Signal Station was established here in 1867 and began operating on 8th December of that year under the charge of Mr. Novis. Duties included keeping a four-hour watch (later extended to six hours) day and night, for approaching ships, acknowledging requests for a pilot and relaying shipping movements to the Time Ball Station at Offices Point above Lyttelton Township. Messages were sent by code flags flown from the flagstaff during the day and by carbide Morse lamp at night. Communications with Lyttelton improved in 1877, with the introduction of a telegraph line and later a telephone system in 1880. This was the first submarine telephone service in New Zealand. Initially the signalmen, pilots and their families lived below in Little Port Cooper, moving across the bay in 1874. In 1885 the pilots were relocated to Lyttelton and only the signalmen and their families remained. The schoolhouse, built in 1883, is the only remaining building. The signal station was closed at 0001 hours on 2 July 1949. The last signalman on duty was Charlie Gaunson, who took up duties in the replacement signal station tower built on Gladstone Pier. The foundations of a second signal station built in 1937 remain. This building burnt down on 11th February 1967.
In May 2011 NYK Line renamed their chartered containership CSAV Rahue (35,975 gross tonnage, built 2007) to NYK Lyttelton, the first time that NYK have named a ship after a port or city. She replaced ACX Diamond on the CNZ service. NYK Lyttelton is owned by Norddeutsche Vermogensanlage GmbH & Co. KG, Germany, and is one of that fleets “Northern D..” class, being allocated the name Northern Debonair before completion.. This was a gesture by NYK Line to recognise Lyttelton in the wake of the devastating earthquakes that rocked Christchurch and the surrounding region. She was part of an eight ship order placed by her owners
Ash Cloud Sends Ferry Bookings Sky High
In late June 2011 it was stated that the Cook Strait ferries had been the main beneficiaries of the disruption to air services caused by the ash cloud drifting around the southern hemisphere from Chile’s Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano. KiwiRail said travel on the Interislander between Picton and Wellington was up 100 per cent on 16th June, but was back to normal a day later. Bluebridge said they had experienced a small surge in Cook Strait bookings.
Bathurst, Solid Energy Join Forces
During June 2011 it was announced that Solid Energy was collaborating with Australian miner Bathurst Resources over processing and exporting coal from the Denniston Plateau, north of Westport. The state-owned coal miner already owns coking coal resourses on the West Coast plateau and together with Bathurst Resources will work on the transport options for coal, taking it off the plateau and via rail and ports to export markets. Bathurst subsidiary Buller Coal Ltd (BCL) has applied for resource consents from the Buller District Council and the West Coast Regional Council for a coal mining project and an access agreement and two concessions with the Department of Conservation. BCL anticipates the '”Escarpment Mine”' will create about 225 jobs and approximately NZ$30 million a year in salaries and wages for the West Coast. Solid Energy said it owned a number of high-quality coal resources on the plateau neighbouring those of Bathurst. The coal was of similar quality to the highly valued steelmaking coals mined at the Stockton Mine, also on the West Coast and only a few kilometres away. Solid Energy said the agreement set a basis for the companies to collectively work to unlock the value of the Denniston holdings. Under the agreement, the two companies would collaborate on mine planning and designs where they had common boundaries on the plateau. A coal transport agreement on Solid Energy’s existing KiwiRail facility would cover up to 500,000 tonnes, or 25 per cent of Buller Coal’s expected coal production via rail through to the Port of Lyttelton. The agreement is for a term of ten years from first commercial coal production and may allow for increased tonnage after year five. The remaining 75 per cent of Buller Coal Ltd’s coal will be shipped through the port of Westport. The two companies would work together to access water for the mining operations and would also work
Swire Shipping Service Changes
In late June 2011, Swire Shipping announced the introduction of a dedicated multi-purpose “loop” on its westbound trans-Tasman route and the extension of the range of its previously Australia-Pacific Islands service to include calls at New Zealand ports. Tasman Star (7,949 gross tonnage, built 1990, ex-Achtergracht) and Tasman Spirit (7,950 gross tonnage, built 1992, ex-Aalmsmeergracht) will, from July 2011, begin plying the breakbulk-focused service, which will also deliver an improved frequency of fifteen days compared to eighteendays with quicker transits. Aligned with this development, Swire’s Pacific Islands schedule will be upgraded to provide a fortnightly westbound containerised offering from Auckland, Tauranga and Napier using Capitaine Tasman (9,422 gross tonnage, built 1998) and Forum Fiji (9,678 gross tonnage, built 2006). As a consequence of the changes, New Plymouth and Napier were dropped from the multi-purpose schedule, with the latter retained on the containerised service, and Nelson became a multi-purpose schedule call only. Although the multi-purpose vessel deployments are smaller than the “Challenger”-class ships Tasman Endeavour and Tasman Provider (both 18,451 gross tonnage, built 1994) they are replacing, the Pacific Islands service deployments are larger than the Florence (7,869 gross tonnage, built 1995) and Majala (7,970 gross tonnage, built 1999) they are replacing.
Some KAITAKI Ferry Sailings Cancelled
In late June and early July 2011, some sailings of Kaitaki had to be cancelled because of staff sickness and bad weather. Kaitaki cancelled her passenger sailings at 8.25a.m. from Wellington and 1.45p.m. from Picton on 30th June, 1st July, 5th July, 6th July and 7th July 2011, but did operate her 8.30p.m. freight sailing from Wellington on every night.Dredger “Wanganui”In Vol. 56, No.4, we mentioned that in early 2009 the hulk of the former Wanganui Harbour Board dredger Wanganui (253 gross, built 1950) was lying abandoned in a derelict condition in Whangaparapara harbour, Great Barrier Island. By mid-July 2011 she was still there, with her bow aground, but now holed below the waterline and with her engine room flooded, so her stern no longer floated, and towing her off the beach to a scuttling site was no longer a viable option. Several vague offers had been received from scrappers to break her up in situ, but Auckland Council were still trying to prevail upon her owner to remove her remains. Her commercial registry was closed on 8th April 2003. She is beached near the old whaling station, at the western side of the head of Whangaparapara Harbour, opposite the Whangaparapara settlement itself.
The new bunkering barge Awanui (2,750 gross tonnage, built 2009) was also mentioned in Vol.56, No.4, when she arrived in Auckland in August 2009. She replaced the old bunkering tanker Tolema-1 (588 gross tonnage, built 1976), which had passed to the ownership of Svitzer after several corporate takeovers. (As Tolema, she had previously been a Shell bunkering barge in Australia). Because Tolema-1 only had a single-hull, she was unable to be used for bunkering duties, and had been laid up in Auckland, advertised for sale. Towards the end of June 2011, the cargo ship Pacific Resolution (16,801 gross tonnage, built 1997) arrived in New Zealand ports, where it was found that she had developed an internal leak in a fuel oil tank which had contaminated her water ballast tanks with fuel oil. Tolema-1 was re-rated as a “dumb oil barge” and left Auckland on 1st July 2011 in tow of the tug Mahia for Tauranga, where she arrived on 2nd July, and was berthed alongside Pacific Resolution there and received about 800 tonnes of oily ballast water from her. Pacific Resolution sailed from Tauranga on 5th July for Noumea, but Tolema-1 was delayed by bad weather until 17th July before being able to sail from Tauranga under tow of the tug Christine Mary back to Auckland, where she berthed with the assistance of a second tug, Manukau, and where her oily ballast water was discharged ashore. By this date, the new Awanui had made seventy voyages from Marsden Point to Auckland with bunker fuel.
JODY F MILLENNIUM
In Vol. 56, No. 2 we reported that the bulk carrier Jody F Millennium (15,071 gross tonnage, built 2000) would be forever etched into New Zealand maritime history after her unfortunate grounding in bad weather off Gisborne on 7th February 2002. After salvage and repair she was renamed Millenniun Bright in 2002. In July 2008 she was sold by Twin Bright Shipping Corp., Panama to Singapore Grace Shipping Ltd., Hong Kong (China) and renamed Singapore Grace. In April 2010 she was further sold and renamed Birch 4, registered at Hong Kong, owned by Birch Shipping Ltd., connected with Wallem Ship Management Group. Birch 4 arrived at Tauranga on 16th July 2011 from Brisbane and sailed on 19th July to Mokpo.
In Vo.56, No.2 we also reported that another ship similarly etched into New Zealand maritime history was the bulk carrier Pacific Charger that ran aground entering Wellington on her maiden voyage in 1981. She was renamed Cobalt Islands in 1981, Kent Island in 1987, Kition in 1993, Mandarin Star in 1995, Yan Ling in 2004 and Ocean Walker (9,532 gross tonnage, built 1981) in 2007. In February 2011 she was sold and renamed Century Star, owned in Hong Kong but registered in Panama. In June 2011 she was on a voyage from Zoushan, China, to Rabaul.
The 41.92-metre fishing vessel Santa Monica was built in 1979 in Muroran, Japan as Hokuyo Maru. In 1995 she was purchased by Monica Holdings, Wellington, New Zealand, and renamed Santa Monica (379 gross tonnage), registered at Wellington. Her New Zealand registry was closed in June 2004. In November 2004 she was transferred to the Cook Islands flag, registered at Rarotonga, for the duration of a one year demise-charter. She arrived back at Wellington on 23rd August 2005, and remained laid-up at various berths in Wellington thereafter. Her Cook Islands registry lapsed in November 2005. In December 2009 she was sold to Teiwi Taiaroa, who it is understood planned to take her to Dunedin and slowly convert her into a small livestock carrier for the Chatham Islands trade. However, due to her condition, she was detained in Wellington, and was thus unable to leave. Her new owner was adjudged bankrupt in June 2011. She left Wellington in tow of the converted fishing vessel Hemnestral (183 gross tonnage, built 1962, ex- Hemnestral 1966, ex W.J.Scott 1985) on 3rd August 2011 for Tarakohe for dismantling, where she arrived on 4th August 2011. Interestingly, both vessels had been fisheries research vessels at one time in their career.
An unusual event in Wellington on 15th and 16th July 2011 was the use of the 37-metre powered-barge Patiki to land two 236-tonne electrical transformers ashore at the Winstone’s gravel plant, at the entrance to the Hutt River. The two transformers arrived at Wellington from Amsterdam on 16th July 2011 on board the heavy-lift “project-cargo” ship Pantanal (7,002 gros tonnage, built 2004). Each transformer was off-loaded using Pantanal’s own cranes onto a ten-axle Goldhofer trailer. The small 12-metre Winstone tug Kowhai provided some local knowledge and assistance to the skipper of Pataki. The two transformers are the first of a total of four being delivered to Haywood electrical substation near Lower Hutt. On satisfactory completion of this work, Pataki resumed her work replacing piles at Evans Bay Marina, and on completion of this work, she sailed from Wellington on 2nd August 2011 back to Picton. Patiki is owned by Nautilus Pacific Ltd., Picton.
Napier’s new 23.8-metre Voith tug Te Mata arrived at Napier without fanfare (and in atrocious weather conditions) from her Vietnamese builders on 24th July 2011. She was built at the Strategic Marine shipyard at the Dong Xuyen Industrial Zone, Vung Tau, in (what used to be) South Vietnam. After being commissioned into service, their older 1977-built 29.2-metre tug Maungatea (251 gross tonnage) was advertised for sale.
The End of Shell Oil New Zealand
In April 2010 Shell Oil New Zealand agreed to sell for NZ$695 million the Shell retail and distribution network to Greenstone Energy, a joint venture between Infratil and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. After purchase, Greenstone continued to use the Shell brand at a franchise cost of NZ$7 million a year. By May 2011, after much research, Greenstone announced that they would cease using the Shell brand and would instead launch their new “Z” branding. This would eventually remove all visible manifestations of the famous Shell branding from their 226 petrol stations by June 2012. During late 2010, the residual Shell Exploration interests in New Zealand moved out from their Wellington Queens Wharf offices and relocated into the Majestic Centre on Willis Street. Greenstone Energy took over the Queens Wharf Offices and removed all Shell signage, and by June 2011 was having those offices refurbished and rebuilt to incorporate an entrance onto Queens Wharf square, under the sails. The Shell brand was to disappear from hundreds of petrol stations across New Zealand, in a major renaming project, at a cost of about NZ$35 million, with the resulting stations more focused on convenience food. All 2,500 of the staff members would be retrained. It was said that the cost of using the Shell brand, believed to be about NZ$7 million a year, was a factor in the decision.” Television advertisements were to be used to emphasise the company’s local ownership (and guaranteed to irritate former Shell Oil New Zealand employees, who always considered that Shell Oil New Zealand was always a “local” New Zealand company.) “The Z brand will provide a visual point of difference and customers will know they’re supporting a Kiwi company.” Z said that being a Kiwi company was not enough and while the new name and new look would be the most obvious change, Z was aiming to improve service and food and beverages at stations. “The new brand represents visually what will be a complete overhaul of our customer offer.” Greenstone has been working hard to develop new “cafe quality” food and coffee in its stations. The company had not opted for sit down cafes but has ditched Australian pie suppliers and would sell pies made in Hawkes Bay and sell cupcakes. The new branding as Z was not greeted with enthusiasm by brand experts. One said it was a logo more suited to a chocolate bar, while another described it as kindergarten level design. A senior marketing lecturer at Auckland University's business school said it was a gamble to drop the century-old Shell logo in favour of one that would suit a chocolate bar. “I’m not a huge fan of it. The old Shell logo was a classic. The Z doesn’t really mean anything and you could put that logo on a chocolate bar, it’s neither here nor there. The managing director of Interbrand said they were throwing away 100 years of heritage. The Z livery did not sell an easy-to-grasp message, he said. “This is a logo that’s put on a building with rather dreary yellowy-brown colours and trying to impress [upon] New Zealanders this is a New Zealand brand. It’s turned itself from a global brand with a huge heritage into an independent petrol station.” While it was “cupcake cute” he was unsure whether anyone would drive the extra distance to Z. On 3rd June 2011 Z, the fuel chain formerly known as Shell, opened the first of its pilot sites in Auckland with its new look and new food, three weeks after launching its brand. Meanwhile, BP was trying to persuade motorists to feel good about the forecourt with a big “Be road happy” ad campaign aimed at re-establishing the power of its brand. The company also enlisted Dame Alison Holst to improve its edibles and was recently leading the pack in reducing down petrol prices. Also in early June, Mobil announced a deal with Subway, and Gull teamed up with the Night’n Day chain to improve its hot food and coffee. Caltex brand owner Chevron NZ recently sold the last of its chain of service stations. The company wants to slash costs and return to what it says is its core business of pumping petrol. The last detailed study of the service station industry for the Government was done three years ag
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