Former Frigate “Canterbury”
Two years after her decommissioning, the Navy’s last Leander Class frigate, the former H.M.N.Z.S. Canterbury, was signed over to her new owners on 2nd February 2007. The signing of the Sale Agreement between the Crown and the Bay of Islands Canterbury Charitable Trust took place at Te Taua Moana marae.
The frigate was launched by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne (the Princess Royal) on 6th May 1970. She was commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Navy on 22nd October 1971, and retired from active service on 31st March 2005. Canterbury left Devonport (Auckland) in tow on the afternoon of 22nd February 2007, bound for Opua in the Bay of Islands. She was towed out of Auckland in the early afternoon of 22nd February 2007 by Thomson Towing’s tug Christine Mary and arrived Opua about noon next day, 23rd February. She was berthed at Opua for cleaning and stripping of parts prior to scuttling in August 2007.
Happy Chaddy’s Charters and “Rescue III”
In about 1990 “Chaddy” (David Chadfield) advertised a guided trip to take people out to observe the local seal population off the Moturoa and Sugar Loaf Islands (also known as Nga Motu) that make up part of New Plymouth's marine park. To his surprise and delight the first journey attracted over a hundred passengers and so was born the beginning of a life long dream, “Happy Chaddy’s Charters”. Things have progressed since then. Now Chaddy, to quote his promotional materials, can take you to see the seals in his prized ex-British R.N.L.I. life-boat Rescue III, or go fishing for everything from snapper to albacore tuna. He can also tell you everything you’d ever want to know about the unique coastal environment, lecture you on the importance of marine conservation and teach you the difference between a half-hitch and a bowline. If you’re keen, he’ll teach you enough seamanship to prepare you for a lifetime on the ocean.
“Happy Chaddy’s Charters” won the 1995 Taranaki Tourism award and has also received the “New Zealand Coastguard Safety and Services” top award. “So if visiting New Plymouth, whether you have salt in your veins or not, a cruise with Chaddy is just one of the unique ways you can enjoy the many kilometres of coastline that offer some of the best fishing, surfing, windsurfing and picnicking anywhere in the world.”
Tillie Morrison, formerly based at Bridlington on the northeast coast of England, was the second boat of that name between 1953 and 1967. She was named after a generous benefactor of the Bridlington area and was later sold to the Sumner Lifeboat Service of New Zealand, being renamed Rescue III. The Sumner Lifeboat Institution (SLBI) is a completely autonomous, voluntary marine rescue organisation established in the eastern seaside suburb of Sumner, Christchurch. It began rescue work using dedicated lifeboats in 1898 and has continued to this day. A founder member of the Royal New Zealand Coastguard Federation in 1976, it has been instrumental in establishing similar units in other parts of New Zealand. The SLBI currently owns and operates three lifeboats; a 3.8-metre inflatable rescue boat, a 5.8-metre jet-powered surfboat and a 15.5-metre Thames class, ex-R.N.L.I. self-righting offshore vessel. The last mentioned lifeboat is also used commercially as a pilot boat/tug/workboat.
The SLBI is based at the Scarborough Lifeboat Station, Sumner, and the Thames lifeboat is berthed in Lyttelton Harbour ready for immediate response. Rescue III was built at Cowes in 1953 as Tillie Morrison, a Liverpool class lifeboat based at Bridlington, R.N.L.I. No. 525. She was sold to the Sumner Lifeboat organisation and brought out to New Zealand on Gladstone Star in February 1969. She has been owned by David Chadfield since about 1991.
David Chatfield’s Rescue III is stationed on the northeastern area of New Plymouth harbour, where he has built a replica lifeboat shed and launching ramp. The lifeboat is normally stored “in the dry” up the ramp inside the shed, and is launched down the slipway, as was done for real rescue operations. The inside of the lifeboat shed contains much informative and memorabilia material about her past. After taking passengers on cruises, she normally returns to a small jetty to disembark passengers and take more on board for the next cruise, but when finished for the day, and dependant on the tide, she is taken back to the lifeboat’s concrete ramp and run ashore on to it. There a strong wire is attached to her bow and she is winched back up to the top of ramp for safe storage, protected from the elements.
Diana White is another former R.N.L.I. boat, which operates at Tauranga. She was built in 1973 by William Osborne at Arun Shipyards, Littlehampton and is R.N.L.I. No. 999, of the Rother class. She was named Diana White after a lady who donated a significant sum to the R.N.L.I. for her construction. She was stationed at Sennen Cove, one mile from Land’s End in the U.K., for seventeen years from 1974 to 1991. From 1992 to 2000 she served at Sumner, Christchurch. A sister Rother class boat operates at Greymouth as Ivan Talley; formerly Alice Upjohn, and built as R.N.L.I. No. 1047, formerly based at Dungeness. Since 2000 Diana White has been privately owned by John Fairburn and family of Tauranga, and used for cruising, fishing and picnicking. She is based near the Kestrel floating restaurant.
he Lyttelton Harbour Board has appointed Captain A. E. Chrisp, at present nautical survej-or at Lyttelton, as its second pilot for the port. Captain Chrisp, who has held his present position, for the. last five years, was educated in Gisborne and received his. early training In sailing vessels and was then from 1911 to .1927 with the Union Steam Ship Company, working his way up from fourth officer to master. . ■ ' » . .:.
CMA CGM announced the launching of its new service linking Africa, the Middle East, Indian sub-continent, South East Asia, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The new service will be known as NEMO, which represents the New Europe Mascarene Oceania service, and will deploy eleven CMA CGM vessels of 2,800 TEU each, as well as two partner vessels from the French company Delmas and Deutsche Afrika Line. A fortnightly northbound service commenced on the 6th April 2007 from Sydney, but almost immediately changed to a weekly frequency in May 2007. The first vessel, CMA CGM Copernic, (28,150 gross tonnage, built 2007) was renamed from Pona just prior to sailing from Sydney. The vessels will rotate northbound between the ports of: Melbourne, Adelaide, Jakarta, Port Kelang, Madras, Colombo, Djibouti, Jeddah, Suez Canal, Damietta, (Egypt), Malta, La Spezia (Italy) and Tilbury. The southbound service commenced fortnightly on the 23rd February 2007 ex Tilbury, and changed to a weekly frequency in May 2007. The vessels will rotate southbound between the ports of Tilbury, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Le Havre, Fos (near Marseilles), La Spezia, Damietta, Suez Canal, Djibouti, Pointe des Galets (Reunion), Port Louis, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland and Lyttelton. This service is intended to operate in conjunction with the CMA CGM Suez service.
It was announced in mid-March 2007 that German liner operator Hamburg-Sud had upgraded to a weekly frequency its Trident service between Australia, New Zealand and Northern Europe via East Coast North America. The move, which comes a year after the launch of the Trident service, brings Hamburg-Sud into line with competitors Maersk and CMA CGM. The number of ships on the service has been doubled from six to twelve, each of 2,500 TEU, with 450 reefer plugs. At present there is no reference to a partner, although rumours circulating in New Zealand suggest that Hapag-Lloyd had already agreed to join Hamburg-Sud on the Trident service. This would probably mean Hapag Lloyd’s defection from the weekly Suez service it runs in conjunction with CMA CGM and Marfret. The future for this service appears to be threatened by CMA CGM’s launch of NEMO (see above). The upgraded frequencies bring CMA CGM and Hamburg-Sud up against Maersk and its weekly service through Tanjung Pelepas (Malaysia). New Zealand’s reefer exporters are prime beneficiaries of the increased weekly capacity and faster transits.
Maersk Coastal Feeder Service
Late in April 2007 Maersk Line were seeking a declaratory judgment from the High Court to ensure that its coastal feeder service did not breach Section 198 of the Maritime Transport Act. The issue to be clarified relates to whether or not Maersk Line’s coastal feeder service is legal under the Maritime Act, which dictates that an international shipping line can only call at New Zealand ports as part of an international service. New Zealand Shipping Federation manager Paul Nicholas, whose organisation has been included in proceedings, said the section had been “debated since it was written”. “In our belief, it is not particularly well worded.”, he said. “Maersk’s interpretation could well turn out to be quite right.” He said it would be interesting to discover what course of action the Ministry of Transport would take if the declaration were to go against it. “Because, they have asserted over a number of years they understand what it means and if it was to turn against them, would they step in and make it mean what it was intended to mean?”. Mr. Nicholas suggested that even in such event, the Ministry would be “hard pushed” not to grant permission for the service, given it was fulfilling a temperature-controlled transhipment link that no other party was currently able to provide. However, he also observed that as the coastal feeder service was previously scheduled to end in the middle of the year, the High Court declaration could prove somewhat redundant to Maersk Line itself.
As previously mentioned in Vol.54, No.4, the two ships that were intended to operate the feeder service are Orion (21,199 gross tonnage, built 1998, ex-Maersk Lima, etc.) and Maersk Hong Kong (21,199 gross tonnage, built 1997). However, until the latter arrived in late March 2007, Orion was partnered by Maersk Asia Decimo (7,869 gross tonnage, built 1994) for several voyages from mid-January to mid-March 2007. On 3rd May 2007 it was reported that Maersk Line was considering axing its New Zealand Coast and Pacific Island feeder shipping service, which calls at the ports of Wellington, Napier, Nelson and Tauranga. Maersk Line declined to comment, but the speculation in the port industry was that the service might cease.
Port Chalmers and Auckland are increasingly emerging as the two ports where Maersk’s largest services and largest vessels are concentrating. Port Chalmers has the Edendale and Clandeboye dairy plants, two of the world's three biggest plants, in its hinterland. Maersk announced on 3rd May that Napier was to lose the Maersk service that uses the large 4,100 TEU container ships, but would gain another service. From July 2007, Maersk’s NZ1 service, which goes to Asia, will only call at Auckland and Port Chalmers, dropping Napier. Its rotation will then be Tanjung Pelepas in Malaysia, Singapore, Brisbane, Auckland, Port Chalmers, and back toTanjung Pelepas.
Napier is being added to Maersk’s OC1 service to North America, which will call at more ports there. Cargo from the Napier region to Asia will now change ships at Auckland, while freight to North America that previously changed ships at Port Chalmers will now go directly to North America. Napier does not expect any reduction in the volume of Maersk cargo through the port. The rotation of the new OC1 service to North America, effective from July 2007, is Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, New Plymouth, Timaru, Port Chalmers, Napier, Auckland, Balboa, Miami, Philadelphia, Newark, Norfolk, Savannah, Balboa, and Auckland.
Changes to the NZ1 service to Asia include integration of that service with the new OC1 service. Brisbane will be dropped from the direct call list and instead Brisbane cargo will be fed on the NZ1 (South-East Asia/Australia) service to Auckland to connect with OC1. OC1 is maintained by nine ships of 2,226-2,840 TEU and this will not change. The top New Zealand container port, upon which Maersk decided in late 2006 to concentrate its “hub” activities, thus receives three direct calls per rotation. The two-ship coastal/South Pacific (Pacific Express) operation, introduced only in February 2007, reverts to a one-ship, fortnightly, schedule. Coastal connections, with the principal aim of feeding the Auckland hub, will thus be performed in large part by OC1. Pacific Express’s 1,648 TEU Maersk Hong Kong left the service in mid-May 2007 and made an ad hoc positioning voyage in OC1, terminating in Balboa, with sister ship Orion returning to an Auckland, Noumea, Suva rotation. It is unclear what, if any, impact the scaling back of Pacific Express will have on Maersk’s present attempt to ensure its coastal feeder operations do not breach Section 198 of the Maritime Transport Act. Maersk said that the OC1 upgrade gives it the widest port coverage in the Oceania-Americas trade, fastest transits, and dedicated service.
On 8th May 2007 Maersk Line confirmed it was ending its controversial Pacific Island feeder shipping service and replacing it with a service between Auckland and the Pacific. The Pacific Island feeder service called at the ports of Wellington, Napier, Nelson, Tauranga and the Pacific but it was facing a court challenge from unions and the coastal shipping lobby. They argued it was essentially a local shipping service that popped up to the Pacific to avoid operating under New Zealand law and that it took freight from rail. Maersk Line said the service will be reconfigured, although the shipping line will continue to call at all nine New Zealand ports it currently calls at. From July the Pacific Islands will be covered by a dedicated single vessel operating a fixed-day fortnightly rotation of Auckland, Noumea, Suva, Lautoka, Auckland.
Wellington, Napier, Nelson and Tauranga will continue to receive other Maersk services. Maersk said that “Where we previously utilised our Pacific Island service to connect a number of New Zealand ports to our global network we now achieve such connectivity through a combination of our main line services, local feeder and rail.”
Pacifica Shipping Resumes Calls at Timaru
After an absence of four years, Pacific Shipping resumed calls at Timaru when Spirit of Resolution called on 16th April 2007, and will operate to Timaru on a fortnightly basis. She sails from Lyttelton early Monday to arrive at Timaru mid-morning and return to Lyttelton in the early afternoon. The service links with Pacifica’s weekly Lyttelton to Auckland to Lyttelton shipping route, which calls at Nelson on the northbound leg. One of the cargoes carried is containerised grain from South Canterbury to Auckland for processing.
Strait Shipping’s Coastal Service
Details of Kent operating Strait Shipping’s Napier to Nelson service via Wellington were mentioned in Vol.54, No.4. Additional cargo was sought, and a notable load arrived in Wellington from Tauranga on 14th February 2007 in Kent. She carried seventy empty forty-foot Hapag-Lloyd containers on her upper deck for repositioning to Nelson. She sailed from Wellington on 17th February on the Nelson leg of her voyage. Another full load of containers was carried on her upper deck on 6th May 2007.
Whilst bound from Wellington to Picton, Aratere stopped off Island Bay at about 10.40p.m. on 21st March 2007 with engine problems. She drifted slowly offshore with light northerly winds, so was in no immediate danger. She started moving again just before midnight, but only made about six knots. A Wellington tug was placed on standby at midnight as a precaution. It is understood that the problem was of an electrical nature. After requesting a tug to stand by off Steeple Rock, Aratere returned to Wellington at about 2.45a.m. on 22nd March and after discharging at RFT2, berthed at Aotea Quay for repairs. She resumed service on the evening of 23rd March 2007.
During her routine “lay by” day at Aotea Quay in Wellington on 2nd April, a defect was discovered with her starboard lifeboat davit gearing system, and this required her to be turned around at the berth so that two mobile cranes ashore could be used to lift the lifeboat ashore to allow the defective davit equipment to be repaired. She resumed freight sailings early next morning. However, with passengers booked on some of her sailings over the busier Easter period, this reduced lifesaving capacity was insufficient to permit her to carry them, but this was resolved by some interesting inter-ship exchanges. Arahura had surplus liferafts, so on the morning of 5th April, Aratere again laid by-by at Aotea Quay. The 10.35a.m. sailing of Arahura from Wellington that day, with a good load of passengers, cleared her rail ferry terminal berth, then deviated slightly to enable her to berth at Aotea Quay, where a mobile crane ashore quickly lifted off her three surplus liferafts, after which Arahura resumed her voyage to Picton. The liferafts wre quickly lifted aboard Aratere lying further along Aotea Quay, and after a demonstration to Maritime New Zealand of suitable launching capability, was granted a dispensation to safely enable her to resume passenger-carrying service. Aratere had cancelled her 6.00a.m. sailing from Wellington that morning, but was able to make her 2.00p.m. sailing, and this transfer of passengers to other rail ferries reduced disruption and delays to passengers.
Her scheduled timetable was slightly modified from 1st May 2007, and sailings from Wellington were thereafter at 5.50a.m., 2.15p.m. and 9.55p.m., with return sailings from Picton at 1.50a.m., 9.50a.m.and 6.05p.m.
Arahura suffered a mechanical problem at Wellington on the morning of 22nd April 2007, and her scheduled 10.35a.m. sailing was delayed, so much so that when Aratere arrived at Wellington from Picton at 1.00p.m., Arahura needed to leave the berth and go out into the harbour to permit Aratere to berth. Aratere sailed on time at 2.00p.m., but Arahura resolved her problems shortly after this, and followed Aratere out at about 2.20p.m.
From 29th April 2007 Arahura’s 10.35a.m. scheduled sailing from Wellington and her return 2.25p.m. sailing from Picton ceased. She remained available to sail if other circumstances, including cargo traffic, warranted it, but obviously anticipated demand did not require her. She still makes scheduled sailings from Wellington at 1.55a.m. and 6.15p.m. and return sailings from Picton at 5.45a.m. and 10.05p.m. Passengers, cars and road freight are, of course, able to be carried on the scheduled 8.25a.m. from Wellington sailing of Kaitaki and her 1.15p.m. return sailing from Picton.
Apart from bad-weather disruptions and the occasional breakdown, the Cook Strait ferries plod back and forth across Cook Strait without mention. The “highlight” of change is usually when they come off service during the “off season” for routine surveys and drydockings. Scheduled drydockings during the 2007 winter season were Strait Shipping’s Monte Stello in Auckland from 18th to 27th July 2007, followed by Toll Interislander’s Aratere in Auckland from 28th July to 23rd August.
“Challenger” Becomes “Kaitaki”
On 16th March 2007 it was noted that the name on the starboard bow of Toll Interislander’s ferry Challenger had been painted over, leaving only Kaitaki visible. It transpired that she was part-way through the process of being officially renamed as Kaitaki, instead of that merely being her “trading” name. The task involved changing the name on lifeboats, liferafts, lifebuoys, plans, AIS (Automatic ship Identification System) display, etc. She officially became Kaitaki on the evening of 17th April 2007, with her port of registry remaining as Portsmouth, under British flag.
New Wellington Tug “Tiaki”
In late January 2007 CentrePort Wellington ordered a new NZ$9 million harbour tug from Damen Shipyards (based in The Netherlands). To be built at the Song Cam shipyard in Vietnam (which employs about five hundred workers), delivery of the tug to Wellington is scheduled for April 2008. A number of similar tugs are already in service in England and Australia and a further ten tugs of the same design are on order for other international ports. The shipyard is poised for further expansion now that a new joint-venture agreement has been recently finalised with Damen.
Name originally mooted were Tai Oma, Tapuhi or Tiaki, and it was Tiaki, which means to “care for”, “protect” or “look after”, that was finally chosen. She will be painted red, in keeping with the other Wellington tugs.
Tiaki will have an Azimuthing Stern Drive (ASD) instead of Voith Schneider propulsion and will have a bollard pull of seventy tonnes, making her one of the most powerful harbour tugs in New Zealand. She will be two and a half times as powerful as Toia, Kupe or Ngahue. As the new tug arrives, Kupe will be sold, and she was already advertised as for sale from late 2007.
Damen have a continuous improvement philosophy, and each tug is an improvement on the previous unit. Tiaki will be known as a Mark 2 version of the ASD 2411 Class. Plates were already being cut and assembly started in a covered dock at the Haiphong shipyard in April 2007, following completion of three tugs for Adsteam Australia, named Adsteam Colac, Adsteam Otway and Adsteam Kiama,(Hull Nos. 9,10 and 11). She is being built under Damen supervision and they will deliver her to Wellington.
Two other tugs are being built at the same time. Hull No. 13 is named Bream Bay and is for Northtugs, Whangarei. Tiaki is officially Yard No. 512214, but is known for convenience as Hull No. 14 of the class, which is expected to run to over twentyfive vessels. Completion of her is expected in early March 2008, with delivery to Wellington by Easter 2008.
Haiphong is about forty miles upriver and does not have the depth of water or space to conduct the appropriate trials for such tugs. Such trials are based at the port of Cai Lan, near Halong City, near the river mouth, and the trials take place outside the river in Halong Bay. The bare hulls of Bream Bay and Tiaki were floated out of their building dock on the evening of 15th March 2007 to enable construction to start on the next two tugs. Much work remains to be done to both of them to install engines, towing winches and brakes, heavy rubber fendering and associated control systems.
Trans-Tasman Kayaker Lost at Sea
A remarkable attempt to kayak across the Tasman Sea from Australia to New Zealand ended in tragedy when an empty upturned kayak was found eighty kilometres off Milford Sound, Fordland on 10th February 2007. Andrew McAuley was an adventurer who had left Fortescue Bay, Tasmania, on 11th January 2007 for a 1,600-kilometre journey. An earlier unusual radio transmission late at night on 9th February had raised alarm, and an orange kayak was spotted by a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion late in the evening of 10th February. An inflatable boat sent by the cruise ship Clipper Odyssey picked up the Australian’s empty kayak before midnight. Searches during the next few days failed to find any trace of him. His wife and son waited in vain for him to arrive. His sea kayak was fitted with a cockpit cover, offering some protection from the weather, and a solar panel to power instruments and communications equipment.
In 2000 and 2005, Andrew McAuley won Australian Geographic adventurer awards. In 2006 he paddled 850 kilometres to the Antarctic rim. He paddled across Bass Strait three times and the Gulf of Carpentaria once. He climbed in the Himalayas, Patagonia, Europe and New Zealand. Examination of photographs and home videos found on board the kayak showed that he had been able to just photograph the high mountains of the South Island shortly before he disappeared in his attempt to be the first man to take a kayak across the Tasman Sea.
Fishing Boat “Physalie”at Tarakohe as a Café
The old 19-metre fishing boat Physalie, built at Marseilles, France, in 1957, has been in use as a floating café and coffee shop at Tarakohe since January 2007. Her skipper Oliver Mitchell, who lives on board, purchased her in October 2006, and she has proved popular with summer visitors to Golden Bay.
A press report dated12th February 2007 stated that the owner of partly completed luxury yacht Alyssa M.II that had been berthed at Port Nelson for five years was having her towed to China. The owner of the former British navy survey ship (H.M.S. Bulldog) stopped a major luxury refit in Nelson and then put the vessel up for sale when she was damaged by fire in April 2004 after spending a reported $15 million on the work. The ship failed to sell, said ship manager Rocka Romcke, owner of Nelson Yacht Services. Although she was initially for sale at $2.9 million, the price had dropped and the owner would have accepted about $1.8 million for it, Mr. Romcke said. Several potential buyers had not finalised a purchase deal. The ship’s owner, Hong Kong businessman Wing-cheung Fung, said the tow would take about six weeks. He would then have more work done on the ship in China, and would probably turn her into a floating club or restaurant.
It is understood that about NZ$720,000 would have been paid in berthage fees and other costs to moor the ship at Nelson for five years. A welder or gas cutter was thought to be responsible for the fire on the ship, but Mr. Romcke said fixing the fire damage was only about ten per cent of the work involved. He said that before the ship departed, some work would be done on it to make her watertight and safe, and a surveyor would inspect her. However, this preparation work having duly commenced, another fire broke out on board on 16th February 2007. Smoke could be seen spouting from the ship as about eight fire crews attended the fire about 2.30p.m., quickly bringing it under control.
The tug Celeste (347 gross tonnage, built 1981), owned by Island Salvage & Towing Co. Ltd., Papua New Guinea, arrived at Nelson on 22nd February 2007 and sailed on 27th February 2007 with Alyssa M.II in tow, bound for Rabaul initially, and probably then to Hong Kong, unless she was resold en route, in which case her destination could change to China or the Philippines.
Antarctica Shipping Dramas
There was much media news concerning the annual Japanese whaling expedition to Antarctica during February and March 2007. Japan planned to harpoon up to 935 minke whales and ten fin whales under its scientific research programme in the 2006-2007 Antarctic summer season
In early February, two anti-whaling activists went missing in the Antarctic Ocean in their inflatable boat while in pursuit of the Japanese whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru. Two Sea Shepherd ships, the converted fishing trawlers Farley Mowat and Robert Hunter, had been following the Japanese whaling fleet just north of the Ross Sea for over six weeks. The ships lost contact with the inflatable after a sudden change in the weather brought fog and drizzle into the area, and both ships dropped their pursuit of the whaling fleet to concentrate on searching for the two crew members. The Sea Shepherd ships issued a distress signal and contacted the Australian and New Zealand search and rescue organisations, as well as the American Antarctic base at McMurdo on the southern end of Ross Island. The two missing men were found safe and well after eight hours.
A few days later came news of a collision between Robert Hunter and Kaiko Maru in position 65027’S.,1640E., which is near the Balleny Islands. Then early on the morning of 15th February 2007 came news that a fire had broken out below decks on board the factory ship Nisshin Maru and left one crew member dead and the ship immobilised. The ship had a crew of 161. All but twenty, who stayed on board to fight the fire, were evacuated to other ships in the Japanese whaling fleet. Early reports indicated the ship was not in danger of sinking. Weather and sea conditions in the Ross Sea were good, with no swell and light winds. The Greenpeace ship Esperanza, which had been searching for the whaling fleet, answered the distress call, but was stood down as other ships were closer.
By this time Robert Hunter and Farley Mowat were very low on fuel and were already returning to Australia. There was much media comment from New Zealand politicians concerned about “an environmental disaster” if the Nisshin Maru, with about 1,300 tonnes of heavy fuel oil “and other chemicals” on board, sank and spilled oil into the Ross Sea one hundred nautical miles off the coast of Antarctica, near large penguin colonies. Hundreds of kilometres of pristine Antarctic coast were stated to be at risk of a toxic environmental disaster. “Experts” warned that the oil and other chemicals could wash on to Ross Sea beaches within days if it leaked. Japan’s Cetacean Research Institute, said another Japanese vessel, the tanker Oriental Bluebird (8,725 gross tonnage, built 1979), was alongside Nisshin Maru assisting, and had the capability to tow her out of the Antarctic if that was required The catcher vessels also assisted her. The fire was extinguished, damaged cables between the bridge and engine room were temporarily replaced, and after all the Japanese vessels refuelled from the Oriental Bluebird, by 24th February 2007 Nisshin Maru restarted her engines and the whaling fleet commenced their voyage back to Japan.
Farley Mowat was stripped of her Belizean registration hours after she left Hobart, Tasmania, on 29th December 2006. She declared herself a pirate vessel and flew a modified “Jolly Roger” flag.
Ferry Hit by Storm ‘Never in Danger’
A storm-tossed Cook Strait crossing left ferry passengers sick and frightened, but the skipper took the correct decisions during the ten-hour voyage, a safety report found. A Maritime New Zealand investigation into the Interislander ferry Challenger's voyage on 24th October 2006 backed the Master’s decision to sail from Picton and then seek shelter off the South Island and delay entering Wellington Harbour until conditions eased. “Although it was definitely an uncomfortable crossing, which was frightening to some on board, the vessel, passengers and crew were not placed in any danger during the voyage”, the report said. MNZ launched the investigation after passengers told reporters of scenes of children being sick, a crescendo of smashing plates, and chairs and people crashing across cabins. One wave that struck the Challenger’s bow was so large the Master asked for an inspection of windows in a forward passenger area, though no damage was found. Wellington woman Sherrie Macintyre, one of 852 passengers on the sailing, was surprised the report had praised the skipper. While hospitality staff was faultless, passengers were not kept informed of events and many wondered why the ferry did not return to Picton once it encountered rough conditions. “The minute we hit the Strait, the waves started.” She was sent flying after the ferry pitched from one wave, and passengers began fearing for their lives. “We kept thinking that’s extreme, that you shouldn’t think like that, but then you’d crash down from the top of a wave.”
A Blenheim woman who endured the stormy ten-hour crossing was shocked the decision to sail had been approved by a safety report. “He or she (the report writer) clearly wasn’t on the boat,” Louise Percy said. Ms. Percy praised the crew who she said did their best to make passengers comfortable, but she believed the ferry should not have sailed and passengers should have been warned the sailing might be rough. The report also recommended Interislander ensure fittings were secured during rough weather, and the company review procedures for informing passengers of a potential rough crossing.
Challenger left Picton about 1.30p.m. and sailed into Cook Strait an hour later. Soon after, with a southerly swell and winds of 90 to 110 kilometres per hour recorded at the entrance to Wellington Harbour, the ferry’s Master decided to take shelter in Clifford Bay on the South Island's northern coastline. She eventually berthed in Wellington about 11.15p.m. An Interislander spokeswoman said it was pleasing the crew’s actions had been praised. The company would put more signs at its Picton and Wellington terminals to warn of rough weather and would launch a text service to update passengers on Cook Strait conditions.
Giant “Colossal Squid” Caught off New Zealand
On 23rd February 2007 it was announced that the world’s best specimen of an adult colossal squid had been hauled to the surface by a New Zealand longliner fishing for toothfish in Antarctic waters.
The squid was eating a hooked toothfish when it was hauled from the deep by the Sanford Ltd.-owned fishing vessel San Aspiring (1,508 gross tonnage, built 2001), and was initially landed frozen into a Timaru cool store. “It is likely that it is the first intact adult male colossal squid to ever be successfully landed”, Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said. Examination of it would help to answer basic questions such as such as how large the species grows and how long it lives. The squid, regarded by experts as the world’s largest and most aggressive species, was later transferred to the Museum of New Zealand in Wellington for scientific study. The squid weighed about 450 kilograms and was barely alive when it reached the surface and the vessel’s crew thought it would be very unlikely to survive if released. Only a handful of colossal squid have previously been sighted. The new specimen was captured by use of a cargo net, and a Government fisheries observer who acquired the specimen as a “sample” with the help of the fishing company. It is thought to be the most intact of the seven specimens recorded, most of which were found in the stomachs of sperm whales, Colossal squid are not related to giant squid. Both species grow up to twelve metres long, but colossal squid have a much larger body and smaller tentacles than the giant squid, and are a much heavier animal. The colossal squid has swivelling hooks in the suckers at the tips of its tentacles, suggesting it is an aggressive hunter, while giant squid have suckers lined with small teeth. The animal was first described in 1925 from just two tentacles found in the stomach of a sperm whale: The colossal squid makes up three quarters of the diet of large sperm whales and there are thought to be large numbers of them in Antarctic waters.
Nelson to Scuttle Seized Vessel
In late February 2007 it was announced that Port Nelson was to scuttle a fishing boat it seized and failed to sell, which could prove a costly move. The Cook Islands-flag 59–metre Szap5 (1,390 gross tonnage, built 1978) has been for sale by tender since the middle of 2006 but nobody wanted it, said Port Nelson chief executive Martin Byrne. The vessel, owned by Tasmanian businessman Harold Adams, has been berthed in Nelson since September 2004 when it arrived to discharge her fish catch. It was arrested by Port Nelson in April 2005 for non-payment of berthage back-fees, and the port company later put her up for sale to recover tens of thousands of dollars owed. Mr. Byrne said Port Nelson hoped to dispose of the vessel at sea within two to three months. Port Nelson had approval from Maritime New Zealand to sink the ship in waters near Wellington where other vessels had also been scuttled, he said. Mr. Byrne said the port company was still working out how much it would cost to get rid of the ship at sea but it would be a “significant amount”. He said there had been a number of inquiries about the ship from potential buyers, but given her poor state taking it on would have been too expensive for them. Various people looked at buying the ship to sell for scrap metal, but even the costs associated with that, such as towing the vessel overseas, were too high, he said. Having the ship scuttled was a last resort for Port Nelson. Before this was done she had to be stripped of all equipment or items on board that could float up and become a navigation hazard, he said.
The Szap5 has a troubled past. She was formerly the Russian deep sea fishing vessel Komtek 2, which was arrested in Napier in 1997, and in 2002 there was a dispute between her operator at the time and three of her senior crew, two Russians and a Ukrainian, who claimed they were owed thousands of dollars in wages. For months two of the crew, the Master and a navigator, were living aboard the ship which had been towed to Port Nelson for repairs, before Mr. Adams bought her. She was built in 1978 as Kantemir at the Sudostroitelnyy Zavod “Baltiya” shipyard at Klaypeda.
“Queen Mary 2” at Auckland in February 2007
The Cunard liner Queen Mary 2 (148,528 gross tonnage, built 2004) is the biggest ship ever to visit New Zealand, so big that she had to berth at Auckland’s Jellicoe container wharf when she arrived on 17th February 2007. But that meant the crowds that flocked for a closer look after her early-morning arrival had to peer through padlocked gates for a glimpse. Commanded by New Zealander Captain Christopher Rynd, the ship is nearly four football fields long and almost twice the size of the original Queen Mary. She can carry up to 3,090 passengers and 1,253 crew and has a casino, ballroom, nightclub, five swimming pools and even a planetarium. The cost of cabins starts at NZ$370 a night per person, but a trip around the world in a suite will set you back NZ$260,000.
Among the 100 New Zealanders on board were Auckland couple Bill and Anne Cannon. Highlights for the Cannons, who had boarded what they called the "floating palace" in San Francisco two weeks before, included being served tea in bed every morning and dressing up for balls and formal functions. At afternoon tea, waiters wearing white gloves served tea and scones on silver platters while a harpist played.
Captain Rynd, originally from Waiuku, south of Auckland, said he was enormously proud to be in command of a ship he described as “magnificent”. Sailing her into a New Zealand port was a highlight. “The greeting we got from Auckland this morning was truly extraordinary. Thousands flocked to claim the best vantage points at first light.” She sailed for Sydney late that night, and was farewelled with a fireworks display over the harbour.
Her arrival naturally attracted much interest, as is obvious from media reports of the day. “The giant Queen Mary 2, one of the world's largest passenger ships and the largest ship to visit Auckland, glided up Rangitoto Channel this morning with a fleet of welcoming small craft. Queen Mary 2 is in Auckland for the day as part of an eighty-day around the world trip. Before sunrise a flotilla of small craft was out on Waitemata Harbour to welcome the giant ship. As she went past Rangitoto Island, several planes and helicopters flew overhead. Vantage points around the harbour were jammed with thousands of cars, full of people eager to catch a glimpse of the famous visitor. As the ship entered the harbour it sounded its horn to the several thousand people on North Head who had been there since before daylight to watch the arrival. Ahead of the ship was a craft which fired two huge water spouts to port and starboard as she made her way slowly up the channel towards the wharf. It sounded its horn again, a sound that reverberated around the harbour as a helicopter hovered just above. Scores of small craft, including two former America’s Cup yachts, welcomed her into Auckland. She cannot berth at the international cruise liner terminal at Princes Wharf because she is too long. Instead it will berth at a container wharf and passengers will be taken through a high security area and bussed into town. The ship was due to leave late tonight. Its departure will be marked by a large fireworks display. Because the ship was oversize and so big, port authorities insisted the pilot fly to Tahiti to join the ship for familiarisation. Hundreds of small craft turned out for the welcoming flotilla. Several ferries and large private yachts anchored outside the channel east of the harbour bridge and small craft of all shapes and sizes went out before dawn for the welcome. One of the few steam tugs still operating in New Zealand, the William C Daldy, also turned out and waited on the northern side of the channel with a wisp of black smoke coming from its funnel as the Queen Mary glided past. Few passengers could be seen on the ship, although about twenty people stood on the very top deck for the arrival.”
Details of Queen Mary 2 were given in Vol.51, No. 4. She made her maiden voyage from Southampton in January 2004, and it is the first time that she has visited New Zealand. She is 345 metres length overall. Although a Cunard liner, Cunard is today part of the Carnival Corporation group, together with other well-known companies such as Costa Crociere (Italy), Holland-America Line (Netherlands), P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises (U.S.A), Aida Cruises (Germany) and others.
“Queen Elizabeth” at Auckland in February 1942
The event recorded above was not the first time that such a large passenger ship had called at Auckland. Sixtyfive years earlier, the giant Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth (83,673 gross tonnage, built 1940) had sailed from Sydney on 6th February 1942, after being at anchor there since 16th December 1941. She arrived at Auckland on 8th February 1942 and sailed two days later for Esquimalt, on the west coast of Canada, where she arrived on 23rd February and entered drydock. The aerial photograph reproduced herewith was taken at noon on 8th February 1942 in the Hauraki Gulf. Thirty years later, the ship caught fire on 9th January 1972 whilst refitting off Hong Kong. She burnt-out and sank, and was later broken up where she lay.
Swire Shipping Expansion Plans
An article about Swire Shipping’s future plans was published in “Lloyd’s List” on 27th February 2007: “Swire Shipping is mulling plans to introduce larger vessels and improve operational efficiencies this year on its New Zealand and Australia breakbulk and container services. The moves follow the addition of a fifth vessel on its Westabout Round-The-World Service linking Auckland with Noumea, Papua New Guinea and Europe, which has increased frequencies and service schedule reliability. Swire Shipping has also introduced regular fortnightly calls at Marsden Point near Whangarei in New Zealand’s far north at the end of last year. Swire Shipping trans-Tasman service general manager Stuart Craker told Lloyd’s List that these service changes were “in line with our commitment to providing a sustainable service for breakbulk cargoes across the Tasman”. He added: ‘We are currently reviewing our tonnage deployment and are aiming to deploy larger vessels within the year. The increasing costs of landing cargo in Australia mean that we are also considering ways of improving the efficiencies of cargo handling to enhance the cost effectiveness of our service.’ Swire Shipping, controlled by China Navigation, the Hong Kong-based shipping subsidiary of John Swire & Sons in London, was launched as a new entity last year. The company consolidated the traditional trading brands of Bank Line, Chief Container Service, Crocodile Line, Indotrans, Indotrans Pacific and New Guinea Pacific Line. Three other carriers, including Tasman Orient Line and Greater Bali Hai, have retained their own identities because they are joint ventures with other companies. Mr. Craker said ‘A number of customers have asked simply why we took so long to implement what is perceived as a logical development following the period of growth we have gone through in the last three years.’ Swire Shipping saw a ‘solid year’ on its three trans-Tasman services and Mr. Craker remained optimistic about the coming year. He said: ‘Our west coast North America service is, in addition to its base cargoes to and from Australia, also servicing the New Zealand import and export requirements for break-bulk cargoes. The former Bank Line westabout round-the-world service has recently been upgraded to a five-vessel framework and is calling at Auckland regularly for breakbulk and container cargoes.’ The fifth ship (mentioned above) was the 1985-built, 22,845 dwt Anatoliy Kolesnichenko, which is the same class of ship as the four other Bank Line vessels on the service although the ship has not been converted for deeptanks. Swire Shipping saw box volumes rise from New Zealand to Noumea last year, leading the former Bank Line to take space on Tasman Orient Line’s north Asia service. But container liftings on the Australia-New Zealand leg dropped as a result of changes in the supply and logistics chains for some of its customers. Breakbulk cargoes such as steel and wood products have remained strong with volumes increasing to match the growing worldwide market for steel plus the continued demand for timber and other forestry products in Australia. Mr. Craker said Swire Shipping has also benefited from the withdrawal at the end of last year of ANZDL’s last ro-ro ship (Rotoiti) and the removal of the 1985-built 2,980 dwt Sofrana Bligh from the trade. As a result, Swire Shipping has seen its market share of some breakbulk cargoes increase in recent months. While Mr. Craker remained optimistic about future prospects, he said the recent entry of new container carriers and the revamping of services by existing lines had created overcapacity on some New Zealand trades and depressed rates substantially.”
Seven men were killed after a helicopter crashed into Morecambe Bay, England, on the evening of 27th December 2006. The Dauphin Eurocopter AS365N carrying five passengers and two crew members, came down twentyfour miles offshore. All on board, two experienced pilots and five gas rig workers were killed. The helicopter took off from Blackpool Airport just after 6.00p.m. and was taking staff from the gas rigs in the bay back to shore, and was making its last call at the rigs when it ditched into the sea at 6.40p.m., near the South Morecambe platform. Workers waiting to be picked up saw the helicopter veer into the sea about 500 yards from the platform. The helicopter, which was pitched forward at an angle of thirtyeight degrees and banked over to the right, also at an angle of thirtyeight degrees, levelled out, but continued to gain speed. It began to roll over to the right again and when it hit the water it was travelling at a speed of around 126 knots. Police said the weather was normal for the time of year and that the witnesses said they saw nothing unusual with the helicopter.
Gas was discovered in the area in 1974 and extraction operations began eleven years later. There are many staff working on the platforms at any one time. The six men whose bodies were recovered suffered multiple injuries, an inquest later heard. The body of the seventh was never found. The wreckage of the helicopter was subsequently located, recovered and landed at Heysham by the Diving Support vessel Vos Sympathy (2, 567 gross tonnage, built 1982), formerly Searanger of Wellington-based Seaworks until sold in July 2005 (see Vol.53, No.4). A preliminary report into the crash found no evidence of major mechanical failure.
Seaworks, the Wellington-based maids-of-all-marine work, have a new acquisition. Seapatrol arrived at Wellington on 22 March 2007 from Auckland for Seaworks. She is the former inshore patrol craft Hinau, ex-R.N.Z.N., and will be used by Seaworks for Cook Strait Cable Zone patrol duties. She has retained her Navy-gray hull colour, and is intended to replace Seasurveyor (180 gross tonnage, built 1978). (HMNZS Hinau and Moa were decommissioned by R.N.Z.N. on 23rd January 2007).
Seawatch (125 gross tonnage, built 1978) arrived at Greymouth from Wellington on 8th February 2007. She had been chartered from Seaworks of Wellington by Seafield Resources Ltd. for a search for gold on the sea floor off the West Coast from Karamea to Jackson Bay. Seafield consultant John Youngson came up with the idea of offshore glacial gold deposits a decade ago, and recently gained the backing of De Beers Marine, which is connected with South Africa’s diamond empire. Seawatch was used to carry sophisticated equipment from South Africa to map the sea floor in the hope of striking gold deposited out to sea by the same West Coast glaciers that left behind on shore the gold of the 1860s gold rushes. She had four scientists and a crew of nine on board for the duration of the charter, and was based at Greymouth for a couple of months. Her catamaran hull provided a stable platform and could work in shallow water. Equipment used included a type of seismic air gun towed astern, which sends acoustic pulses down through the sediment. There was also acoustic profiling equipment and a magnetometer, which measures magnetic fields. A side scan sonar and a swathe bathmetry system also helped to map the sea floor. It would take several months to process the data after completion of the charter. Seawatch arrived back at Wellington on 30th March 2007.
Seaworks’ landing-craft Brandywine (181 gross tonnage, built 1977) was chartered to lay new submarine power cables and to lift old cables at Opua between 6th and 13th February 2007, before returning to Wellington.
Tory Channel Leading Lights
In March 2007 the Historic Places Trust announced their intention to register the leading lights in Tory Channel as a Category 1 Historic Place.
During March 2007 oil production company Prosafe took delivery of its Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) converted tanker Umuroa FPSO for use in the Tui Field. She left Keppel Shipyard in Singapore and headed out to New Zealand, where she is scheduled to start producing oil from the Tui field by the end of June 2007. Prosafe have a five-year contract with the field operator, New Zealand Oil & Gas, plus five years of options. The FPSO can store 773,245 barrels and is capable of producing 120,000 barrels per day of fluids, of which 50,000 bpd can be oil and 118,000 bpd of water. Steaming from Singapore under her own power took two-and-a-half weeks at about twelve knots, and she arrived at the offshore Taranaki site on the evening of 21st April 2007. The Umuroa site is in 39025’S.,173014’E., and connecting up to the oil field took several weeks. The FPSO was converted from the 1981-buit, 119,900 tonnes-deadweight tanker Ionikos (67,684 gross tonnage, built 1981). She was built as Kyokawa Maru, was further renamed Star Trader in 1989 and renamed Ionikos in 1993. She had arrived at the shipyard in Singapore in March 2006 for the conversion.
Investigators are checking whether a New Zealand-owned barge was adequately lit when a cabin cruiser ran into it off the West Australian coast on 18th March 2007, leaving four elderly people dead. A New Zealand tug skipper and his crew were reported as devastated at the marine tragedy.
Four people were on a fishing trip when their seven-metre boat Norma Jean struck the eightfive-metre long, New Zealand-owned barge Sea-Tow 61, anchored about five kilometres off the coast of the small town of Carnarvon, 900 kilometres north of Perth, just before dawn. One body was found in the water and the other three were found in the cabin after the boat sank in about eight metres of water beneath the barge. The barge had been anchored by its New Zealand skipper and crew before they went by their tug Kurutai into Carnarvon for supplies and to arrange for minor repairs. Owners Sea-Tow Ltd in Auckland said the barge was properly lit and had a permit to be anchored. Their managing director in Auckland said the skipper of the tug and his five New Zealand crew were devastated by the tragedy. The Transport Accident Investigation Commission in New Zealand (TAIC) said the Sea-Tow tug crew left the barge anchored off Carnarvon while the tug went into port as stated and learnt while they were in port the barge had been hit by the cabin cruiser and four people had died.
The Sea-Tow tug Kurutai and the barge Sea-Tow 61 are stationed in the Dampier area of Western Australia. Sea-Tow 61 is 85.34 metre registered length. There was a photograph of Sea-Tow 61 at Greymouth in Vol.53, No.2.
Shipping Giant Moves to Tauranga from Auckland
German shipping giant Hamburg-Sud is moving its North Island call to Tauranga from Auckland, boosting the value of port company's shares. Hamburg-Sud said in March 2007 it will move its southbound Trident service call to Tauranga, consolidating both the south and northbound calls in Tauranga from 11th May 2007. The Trident service provides weekly departures linking North Europe, the North American east coast, Australia and New Zealand. The route also links with Hamburg-Sud's Latin American network. The Trident service also calls at Timaru.
The port of Tauran