- Watts Shipping Register
- Watts Shipping Register
Nautical News October 2007
compiled by michael pryce with the assistance of s. berry, m. berthold, a. calvert, i. j. farquhar, d. gardner, n. kirby, r.j.mcdougall, and from the newsletters of the hawke's bay and bay of plenty branches of the society.
Strait Shipping’s freight ferry Kent arrived at Wellington on 12th June 2007 operating on just her port engine. Examination of her starboard engine revealed a broken piston and damaged bearing, and further investigation revealed the need to install a replacement crankshaft. She continued to operate her services from Wellington to Nelson and Napier on only her port engine whilst this work was carried out. Kent later lay at Wellington from 27th June 2007 having a new crankshaft fitted to the starboard engine, and resumed commercial service on 15th July.
Monte Stello sailed from Wellington on 15th July 2007 to Auckland for routine drydocking in the Devonport drydock. She arrived back in Wellington on the evening of 2nd August and resumed commercial sailings on 3rd August. We mentioned in Vol.54, No.4 that her paint lines gave her the appearance of being “down by the head” when in fact she was not. That had been rectified during her drydocking by the red boot-topping line being made to run higher at her bow, restoring the appearance of her trim to “normal”.
Aratere sailed from Wellington on 29th July to Auckland for routine drydocking in the Devonport drydock. Unusually, because of adverse north easterly gales forecast in the area between East Cape and Auckland, she sailed west through Cook Strait, northwards past Taranaki, around North Cape and southwards to Auckland, where she arrived on 31st July. She arrived back at Wellington on 20th August and resumed commercial service on 21st August. A notable exterior difference was that her stern door, previously white, had been painted the same bright blue as her boot-topping.
On 23rd August 2007, both Maritime Safety Authority (Maritime N.Z.) and Transport Accident Investigation Commission published reports of their inquiry into a sailing of Aratere in heavy weather in Cook Strait on 3rd March 2006, some seventeen months previously. The Maritime N.Z. report called for a reconsideration of the way Cook Strait ferries operate in heavy weather, after a horrific sailing that damaged railway wagons, smashed cars and injured passengers.
Maritime N.Z. made fourteen safety recommendations after Aratere’s gruelling journey between Wellington and Picton on that date. The ferry, with 391 people on board, was hit by waves of up to fourteen metres. It twice slewed violently and heeled over an estimated fifty degrees. Experienced crew thought the ship was about to capsize. The recommended measures include random checks on the competence of ship masters, a review of the decision-making regarding whether ferries should sail in extreme conditions, and a new cargo-lashing system on Aratere. Maritime N.Z. director Catherine Taylor said the recommendations were all now in place. The final report was said to have watered down references from investigators to the ship’s “almost capsizing”, which had appeared in a draft version that was leaked to “The Dominion Post” newspaper in November. That said the Aratere came “extremely close to capsizing. If more cargo had shifted and/or downflooding had occurred, she would have done so”. Those lines were removed, and replaced by: “It is not possible to describe or precisely quantify with mathematical precision the margin of safety when Arateresheered and rolled heavily.” The title of the draft report was “Incident Investigation - Near Capsize.” That became in the final report, “Incident Report - Heavy Weather/Cargo Shift.” The general manager of maritime operations at Maritime N.Z., Captain John Mansell, said the draft was changed after investigators did further analysis and talked to international experts. “The draft was always a working draft. It’s unfortunate it was leaked.” The report had also taken into account recommendations by operators Toll. Ms. Taylor said technical evidence “appears to conflict with reports the ship was in serious danger. This was still a very serious incident which was understandably very upsetting and uncomfortable for many on board.” Another report, by the Transport Accident Investigation Commission, also found Aratere had not been in danger. Investigator Captain Iain Hill said the rolls “would not have been pleasant” for passengers or crew.
Aratere passenger Kevin Harrington was on the starboard side as she lurched over. “I remember thinking that water looks awfully close to the porthole; it only seemed inches away. I know it must have been further, but that’s what it seemed like.” But he never thought the ship was going to “go over”. Interislander’s group general manager said it had reviewed its operations.
Aratere’s ordeal began at 4.44p.m. when she was hit by a wave estimated to be fourteen metres high. The ship sheered to port and rolled fifty degrees to starboard, crew members reported. Several rail wagons were toppled by the roll. By 5.05p.m. the Master was worried by how close Aratere was to Cape Terawhiti. He turned to port, but the move stalled the ship, leaving it rolling heavily for three minutes. At 5.39p.m. Aratererolled to starboard again, tipping more wagons over, and causing a six-degree list. When Aratere limped into Picton at 10.26p.m., the crossing had taken seven hours and thirty minutes, 4½ hours longer than usual. Four passengers and a crew member were injured. Six rail wagons and their contents, thirty two private cars and fifteen other vehicles were damaged.
AP Moller-Maersk Staves Off Lindø Yard Closure
On 29th March 2007 an article in “Lloyd’s List” announced that early delivery dates for super post-panamax container ships were being offered to potential customers as AP Moller-Maersk strives to save its Lindø shipyard. The Danish group’s shipbuilding subsidiary is deep in the red with a commercial order book that continues only through to the end of 2008. Apart from a navy order for 2011 delivery, Odense Steel Shipyard’s Lindo shipyard will run out of work in less than two years unless more orders can be secured soon. AP Moller-Maersk’s chief executive Jess Søderberg refused to accept that the Lindø yard has no future. “Hopefully, we can increase productivity, get costs down, and win orders”. The Lindø yard is building a series of container ships for sister company Maersk Line which are the largest in the world, and would be prepared to accept orders from third party owners for similar-sized vessels, said Mr. Søderberg, who is also chairman of Odense Steel Shipyard. The division owns several yards apart from the Lindø facility. The group said that the 2006 result from shipbuilding was “very negative”, with cash flow also hit by the decline in prepayments for new orders compared with 2005. This did not concern contracts signed with Maersk Line, but the failure to land anticipated orders from outside the group, said chief financial officer Søren Thorup Sørensen. AP Moller-Maersk expects the shipyard’s financial result for 2007 to be better.
The cost of constructing large container ships in Denmark is probably about five to ten per cent higher than in Asia, experts estimate. But with Asian yards very full and a number of global lines urgently looking for slots, Lindø is hoping the promise of 2009 delivery could prove a lure. The fifth in a series of 11,000TEU container ships built at Lindø was named Ebba Maersk on 21st May 2007, and was followed by the sixth, Elly Maersk, with two more to come to complete the class of eight ships.
Another New Container Crane for Otago
Port Otago has received its second new Zhenhua Port Machinery Company (ZPMC) ship-to-shore crane in just over a year. Shipped from Shanghai by the converted 241-metre oil tanker Zhen Hua 16 (50,577 gross tonnage, built 1982), the 1,200-tonne and 97-metre-high crane arrived in port about mid-afternoon of 14th June 2007. Following an unloading operation that took four days, the crane, which has the capability of working post-panamax container ships, was then to undergo a six-week commissioning process. The purchase was part of the port company’s ongoing plant replacement programme. At the moment, Port Chalmers has one ZPMC crane and two of the original container cranes put in during the late 1970’s. Once the new crane was operational, they would operate the two ZPMC cranes and one of the older ones, and decommission the other. Capable of lifting up to 70 tonnes, the new ZPMC crane will also combine with the existing model in offering Port Otago twin-lifting capabilities.
Wellington’s Overseas Passenger Terminal to be Revamped.
On 20th June 2007 news was announced that Wellington’s “’biggest white elephant” was set for a NZ$32 million makeover that will create about seventy flats, shops and cafes on the waterfront. Plans to rebuild the Overseas Passenger Terminal by 2010 will be presented to Wellington City Council for approval. The upgrade is planned to include a mezzanine-level viewing platform and a specially-designed, water-level, wharf extension for fishing. Mayor Kerry Prendergast said the terminal had been “in limbo” since it was built fortythree years ago. “This proposal will rejuvenate that area and bring what should have been quite a magical building back to life.” The terminal wharf will be repaired and strengthened, and the interior of the building will be rebuilt as apartments and, at ground level, shops and public areas. But the upgrade will keep the original maritime-themed design of the building, with its hull-shaped roof and tall spire. Sir Michael Fowler, who designed the building, is impressed with the proposed revamp. “I am delighted with the scheme, absolutely delighted.” Because of the declining popularity of sea travel, the terminal was virtually obsolete by the time it opened. “I was party to the design of the biggest white elephant that Wellington ever built.” He was flattered that Athfield Architects had kept his nautical-themed design and said people would be drawn to visit it. “It has been an iconic building in Wellington, without much purpose.”
Developers Willis Bond and Co. will pay Wellington Waterfront NZ$32 million to upgrade the site, with a 125-year lease. About NZ$16 million will be spent repairing the ageing Clyde Quay wharf and the remaining NZ$16 million will be given to Wellington Waterfront in cash and work to be done on the project. The wharf, built in 1906, is in poor condition and repair work on piling will be demanding, as it needs to be done at low tides. Willis Bond director Mark McGuinness said the redesigned terminal could house seventy apartments, though that was not finalised. He would not disclose the full project cost, but said the revamped terminal would be worth NZ$100 million.
Ms. Prendergast was confident councillors would approve the plan and it would then need resource consent approval before construction started.
North Island Ironsands Survey
In mid-June 2007, one of the world’s largest mining companies began an airborne survey of 1,200sq.km. of mineral-rich ironsand deposits along the west coast of the North Island. The Rio Tinto company is managing the hunt for iron and other metals in a joint venture with Iron Ore New Zealand, which won the prospecting permit from the Crown Minerals Group in the Ministry of Energy. As the survey aircraft yesterday flew low and slow over the permit area, at Mokau, north Taranaki and the west coast of south Auckland, iwi and environmental groups and the Auckland Regional Council sought more information about the venture. Fears were expressed for the impact of any dredging on the maui’s dolphin, a species considered critically endangered, found only off the west coast from Northland to New Plymouth. Ngati Te Ata environment manager Karl Flavell said he had scant information about the prospecting. “We have not been consulted although we are the tribal authority for the area from Manukau Heads to Maioro, the north side of Port Waikato Heads.” There was concern any mining interference with the build-up of the Auckland construction industry’s future sand supplies in the Kaipara Harbour. A further concern was the effect of sand extraction on Franklin’s surf beaches - Sunset Beach, at Port Waikato and Karioitahi. Kiwis Against Sand Mining (Kasm) spokesman said they felt the Rio Tinto joint venture was more “ominous” than previous seabed prospecting bids on the west coast because of the powerful company’s environmental record in its operations internationally. Kasm raised 15,000 signatures for a petition calling for a blanket ban on ironsand mining of the seabed. The petition was presented to Parliament in February 2007 and is being considered by the Local Government and Environment Committee. The site, within the Auckland Coastal Marine Area is of about 480sq. km., extending from the northern side of the Waikato River mouth along the Awhitu Peninsula to the South Head of Manukau Harbour.
Westport Cement Ship Decision Postponed
In early June 2007 it was announced that a decision on a replacement for one of the two cement ships that Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd. uses to distribute cement throughout New Zealand had been postponed until mid 2009 at the latest to allow the company further time to determine how it will meet future growth in demand for cement. Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd. is exploring options to replace one of its two vessels, Westport.(3,091 gross tonnage, built 1975) A project team has been working on plans for a replacement self-discharging bulk cement carrier which will have the capacity to deliver future cement requirements to Holcim depots throughout the country. A number of alternatives have been considered, and the team is now refining two designs, one for an 8,000 tonnes deadweight vessel, and another of 12,000 tonnes deadweight capability. The postponement on determining which vessel will be built comes after Holcim announced recently that it was focusing future cement supply investigations on two long term options (a new cement plant in either Westport or Weston, near Oamaru) and one medium term cement supply option (continuation of the existing Westport plant with an appropriate maintenance and capital works programme, in combination with supporting imports on a bulk basis). “Shipping is an important element in each of the cement supply options we are investigating, so it makes sense to allow more time for that decision to be made first so that we can choose the most appropriate vessel for the job”, said Holcim’s Jeremy Smith. Based on present lead times, a decision on ship design made by mid-2009 will allow for a replacement ship to be operational in 2012. A review of the scheduled repairs and maintenance programme for Westport was to be undertaken by July 2007 to ensure her availability through to 2012. “Until we have a decision on our Cement Supply Options Project, which is not expected before 2008 at the earliest, we will continue to develop and refine plans for both options in conjunction with our shipping team and the appointed naval architect”, Jeremy Smith said. “We will also continue to work with the relevant port authorities to get all necessary approvals in place for operating in New Zealand, and at the same time we will maintain a watching brief on the availability of marine engines and shipyard space.” Opportunities for bare boat chartering of a suitable ship will also be considered as a possible interim measure.
But later in June 2007 former Westport harbourmaster Captain David Barnes was imploring Holcim to build a new coastal cement vessel suited for the Westport Harbour bar rather than establish a new cement plant elsewhere. “Holcim is exploring options to replace one of its two vessels, while also considering whether to upgrade its existing Westport operation or create an entirely new plant at either Weston or Westport. I think Westport Harbour deserves better mention and doesn’t really have the perceived problems”, said Captain Barnes. “This is a bar harbour and you really have to make the ships fit the harbour. If you want to work Westport Harbour, your draught must be between 4.8 and 5.2 metres.” Captain Barnes said Westport, which Holcim is considering replacing, has a fully-loaded draught of 5.6 metres and Milburn Carrier II has a fully-loaded draught of seven metres. “Consequently, the Milburn Carrier II has worked all her life at fifty per cent capacity. Don’t blame Westport Harbour for that factor -- they’ve built a ship that doesn’t fit the harbour.” Having had input into several new vessel design proposals over a twelve-year period, Captain Barnes said that he feared the current 8,000-tonnes deadweight and 12,000-tonnes deadweight vessel options being considered by Holcim were not practical for bar harbours. “Don’t forget, you’re not just talking about Westport here. You’re also talking about Onehunga which is a bar port and that is where fifty per cent of Holcim’s tonnage goes through.” A Holcim spokesperson had previously been reported as saying delays at Westport Harbour had been created by a combination of weather and bar conditions, not merely draught alone.
Responding specifically to Captain Barnes’s vessel-related comments, Holcim marine operations manager Paul McGrath said his company had not been involved in the design of the now eighteen-year-old Milburn Carrier II. “I think part of the reason was that it was designed to fit into the Lyttelton drydock, so was narrower than it would normally have been. The two ships that we have at the moment more or less match current plant capacity and we are looking at new ship designs for wider beam ships.” While understanding of the local response to Holcim’s decision to review its cement supply options, Mr. McGrath said the move was necessitated by the market having outgrown current production capacity at New Zealand cement plants. Regarding the possibility of Holcim relocating its operation to Weston, Mr. McGrath said it was “one of a number of options”. “That is all we can say. We don’t know what the outcomes are yet. We are looking at a decision at the earliest in 2008.”
As part of its Westport evaluation, Holcim New Zealand strategy and development general manager Paul Commons said the company was currently investigating energy, geology and limestone reserves as well as reviewing port operations and logistics. “While there is a lot of information as a result of the fifty-year operation of the existing limestone quarry, we need an accurate understanding of the geology of the wider area in order to provide robust and accurate estimates of the volume of limestone and other materials that would be available to support a long-term cement operation” he said. “Part of the work involves looking at the geochemistry of the raw materials, as cement-making requires specific chemical components.” Meanwhile, in preparation for the pending resource consent hearing on its Weston plant option, Holcim has recently distributed about 8,000 copies of its latest newsletter to households in the Oamaru district. “We have been reviewing the resource consent submissions in preparation for the August hearing and have identified a number of topics that community members have mentioned”, said Mr. Commons. “Where possible, we are engaging with people or groups directly to provide them with the information they are seeking. The newsletter also provides a summary of information for the many of thousands of other community members interested in the cement plant proposal.”
Establishing a new plant at Weston was extensively evaluated by the company twentyfive years ago and land acquired and the required zoning and consents granted. However, a lack of confidence in the cement market at the time was a major factor in the plans’ being shelved. An updated appraisal of the site has recently been conducted.
Loss of “Pamir”
In late June 2007 an article was published in a German newspaper that claimed “German ship which sank killing eighty was ‘rust bucket’ that should not have sailed.” The article went on to claim that “she was one of the world’s last working square-rigged sailing ships and the pride of Germany’s post-war merchant navy, but fifty years ago this month Pamir set sail on a voyage that ended with her sinking in an Atlantic hurricane with the loss of all but six of her eightysix crew. The tragedy is Germany’s worst maritime disaster in peacetime. An inquiry found Pamir’s loss was due to faulty stowage of the cargo of Argentine grain, which led the vessel to capsize.
“But new evidence which surfaced shows the four-masted barque, was a ‘rust bucket’ with badly leaking decks and manned by an inexperienced crew of teenagers and elderly men who left the portholes open when the hurricane struck”. The evidence in archives discovered in Bremen led “Der Spiegel” magazine to conclude “The 80 men lost on Pamir died a senseless and avoidable death. The ship should never have been allowed to leave harbour.”
Pamir was one of the last in a generation of fast square-rigged steel sailing ships built by imperial Germany before the Great War. Impounded by the British after 1945, the ship was bought back by post-war Germany and became a sail- training ship. Eightysix German sea cadets, most of them in their teens, set sail in Pamirfrom Hamburg in June 1957 on a voyage intended to bring back nearly 4,000 tons of grain from Buenos Aires. Letters from the previous captain showed that the ship’s steel decks were in such a poor state that the wooden planking laid on top buckled when it rained. “The deck is so badly corroded ... that it is no longer possible to make it watertight,” he wrote. But to save costs, the owners decided against repairs. Johannes Diebitsch, the sixty-year-old captain, had never been the Master of a similar square-rigged ship. Other officers were also deemed too old.
Pamir took on her cargo of grain in early August, but because of a strike by dock workers, the inexperienced crew had to load the ship. The grain shifted in the subsequent hurricane. The ship’s radio officer apparently failed to take heed of American radio warnings about an impending hurricane that were sent out fourteen days before it struck the ship. He also failed to receive hurricane warnings issued by at least two passing German cargo ships and omitted to send out an S.O.S. message until Pamir had already started sinking.
The archives show when Hurricane Carrie struck Pamir on 21st September 1957, the ship was still carrying twelve sails and the crew had failed to shut the portholes. At 1p.m. that day, Pamir capsized, forcing the crew to take to lifeboats, many of which had been badly damaged. The first rescuers arrived three days later. The then princely sum of 2.4 million marks was paid out in insurance to cover the loss. Pamir’s owners, who feared that they would be plunged into debt as a result of the ship's high running costs, suddenly found that they were in profit. Karl Otto Dummer, who was cook’s mate in Pamir, was one of the few survivors. Now aged seventyfour, he was plucked from a damaged lifeboat after spending three days watching his shipmates die of thirst and exposure. “One is left with the impression that the owners had bargained with the ship’s loss,” he said.
“Der Spiegel” magazine seemed to be following the modern genre of “sensational headlines” and “never let the facts spoil a good story”. There appears to be little “new” evidence at all. From the book “The Pamir Under the New Zealand Ensign” by Jack Churchouse:- “Between 6th and 20th January 1958, an enquiry was held into the tragedy which found that: The Pamir carried all topsails, the foresail and several staysails and sailed close-hauled on the starboard tack, when the wind in a short time increased severely after having blown with force 9 Beaufort. With those sails set, the yards close-hauled, her state of loading and her ballast tanks not flooded, the stability was not sufficient, so that the vessel got a heavy list to port. Because the angle of the slope was exceeded, the barley which for the greatest part had been loaded loose (i.e. unsacked) and had settled during the voyage, began to move in spite of the erected shifting boards and was going over to port in an increasing degree. Furthermore water poured into the superstructures which were not closed everywhere and which were already immersed on the port side so that their buoyancy was lost. In this way the vessel capsized. “Difficulties, which have existed for many years, have influenced the manning of the vessel with a master, officers and a nucleus crew. It is possible that an unfavourable effect was caused by the master's lack of thorough knowledge of Pamir's special sailing qualities and her stability as well as by the chief mate’s limited experience in sailing vessels.
“Her regular master had suffered ill-health and had been replaced by Captain Johannes Diebitsch, who prior to the Great War had served eighteen months in the barque and had spent twelve years in sail commanding small craft. The mate had no previous experience in sailing ships prior to joining Pamir as second mate two voyages previously. The complement totalled eightysix of whom fiftytwo were cadets, half of them making their first voyage.”
“Queen Elizabeth 2” to be Floating Dubai Hotel
On 19th June 2007 it was announced in Lloyd’s List that Cunard’s legendary cruise ship Queen Elizabeth 2 had been sold to Dubai World in a US$100 million deal which would see the ship transformed into a floating hotel and leisure centre. Queen Elizabeth 2 (70,327 gross tonnage, built 1968), which is nearly forty years old, is due to be delivered to Dubai World in November 2008 and, following a refurbishment to recreate the ship’s original interior, will be moored at a purpose-built pier at the man-made island of Palm Jumeirah.
Cunard president and managing director, Carol Marlow, denied that new SOLAS regulations coming into force in 2010 had anything to do with the sale of the vessel. However, industry insiders said that the prospect of any necessary costly refurbishment to ensure compliance with SOLAS 2010 is bound to have had an impact when considering a possible sale. SOLAS rule changes will affect not only the design of new ships, but safety procedures on board as well as requiring the use of non-combustible materials in certain applications. The demise of the classic cruise ships of yesteryear is being widely predicted as the costs of making the necessary changes prove prohibitive for many companies.
Queen Elizabeth 2 was purchased by Istithmar, which is Dubai World’s investment arm and wholly owned by the Dubai government.
Ms. Marlow said that strict criteria had to be met for a sale of the ship which would guarantee the future of the vessel, maintain the ship in first-rate condition and preserve its history and heritage. According to Dubai World chairman, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, “Queen Elizabeth 2 is without a doubt one of the wonders of the maritime world, and is easily the most famous serving liner in the world today. I am delighted we will be able to create a home for her on the newest wonder of the world, the Palm Jumeirah. Queen Elizabeth 2 at the Palm Jumeirah will become one of the ‘must-see’ experiences of Dubai and the Middle East. We are investing in creating a truly global tourism destination.”
Queen Elizabeth 2 was launched in September 1967 on the Clyde and is the longest-serving ship in Cunard’s 168-year history, having carried more than 2.5 million passengers and crossed the Atlantic more than 800 times. She is scheduled to sail on her farewell voyage to Dubai on 11th November 2008.
During June 2007 the small tug Seasurveyor (180 gross tonnage, built 1978, ex-Geomarine) was sold by Seaworks Ltd., Wellington, to Hobart Marine Constructions and Towing Services, Hobart (operated by Dennis Jarvie). She was renamed Ocean and sailed from Wellington on 13th August 2007 for Hobart. She was replaced on the Cook Strait cable zone patrol work by Seapatroller.
Contrary to the original intention, Hinau was renamed Seapatroller, registered in Wellington, instead ofSeapatrol as previously reported. Her sister ship Moa was sold privately to Picton builder Mr. Steve Woledge, who renamed her Flightless, and is apparently intended for use in the Marlborough Sounds.
The large 275-metre bulk carrier Taharoa Express (74,364 gross tonnage, built 1990) regularly calls at New Zealand from China to load ironsands at the offshore Taharoa Terminal, south of Kawhia. Ironsand slurry is pumped offshore through pipelines on the seabed using powerful centrifugal pumps. Piles to prevent upwards or sideways movement anchor the pipelines to the seabed. Flexible rubber hoses connect the pipeline ends to the Single Point Mooring (SPM) buoy that Taharoa Express moors to by the bow, and other flexible rubber hoses come aboard the ship near her bow. When slurry is loaded into holds Nos. 1,3,5,7 and 9 of the ship, excess water builds up and overflows through discharge ports in the vessel’s bulkheads. When loading is completed, free water lying on top of the ironsand concentrate is decanted through the same ports. The final dewatering occurs through filter panels built into the bottom of the bulkheads, a process which continues throughout the ensuing voyage. The cargo is unloaded by conventional iron-ore grabs. Nos. 2,4,6 and 8 holds remain empty, as the vessel loads down to her load line marks with cargo only in the other holds a fairly common practice on many standard nine-hold bulk carriers loading iron ore and similar cargoes.
It is understood that problems were encountered on Taharoa Express on 19th June 2007 whilst loading a first cargo at Taharoa since coming out of a routine drydocking period at Zhoushan, China. It would appear that some fittings had not been replaced correctly and during the loading operations, instead of excess water overflowing through the discharge ports, it leaked into and progressively flooded her duct-keel. The duct-keel is a long space at the bottom of the ship, high enough to stand upright in and several metres wide, that runs along the length of the ship from forward of the engine room to the fo’c’s’le. It usually contains ventilation fans, lights, water-ballast pipelines, and often carries hydraulic piping and electrical or manual controls to the ballast tank valves. It is designed to stay dry. The effect of accidentally flooding the duct keel was to render the electrical ballast valve controls inoperative, and render the manual ballast tank controls inaccessible. It is understood that loading was stopped, but the usual dewatering process could not be carried out because of the problems with the ballast tank valves. When she had to discontinue loading on 20th June because of bad weather and sail for shelter in Tasman Bay, the thousands of tonnes of excess water that were not intended to still be in the holds but were unable to be pumped out eventually caused the cargo to shift during very heavy rolling due to the bad weather.
En route to Tasman Bay, on 22nd June 2007 she reported to Maritime N.Z. at 2.30a.m. that she had a problem after her load of iron sand had shifted while in rough seas in a five-to-six metre swell about fortytwo nautical miles southwest of Cape Egmont. She was intact and was not taking on any water, but was listing about twenty degrees to starboard, with duct keel flooded.
All twentyfive crew were safe. She had about 45,000 tonnes of ironsand on board. The Taharoa pilot/loading master was on board the ship and was invaluable for communicating as she headed for the more sheltered waters of Golden Bay. Her twenty-degree list was as measured in a static condition, and in the bad weather she was rolling probably fifteen degrees either side of this, and some photos showed her shipping seas when rolling further to starboard.
She arrived in Tasman Bay in the late afternoon of 22nd June and anchored about seventeen nautical miles north of Nelson, still with a twenty-degree list to starboard. Her crew obviously had a serious problem to overcome. She was nearly at her maximum loaded draught of seventeen metres on her starboard side, which would preclude her from entering most New Zealand ports to effect remediation work.
Over the next few days, work was done to pump out the water in the duct keel and restore the operation of her ballast valves, and then to slowly discharge water ballast from her starboard ballast tanks in order to reduce her list. As anticipated, progress was slow. By 23rd June her list was reported at eighteen degrees, by 26th June it had been reduced to fourteen degrees, and by 27th June to eleven degrees. Pumps from Nelson were lifted on board by helicopter to start to pump out the excess water from the cargo holds. She was virtually upright on 2nd July, but with her port ballast tanks full and her starboard ballast tanks empty.
A press release on behalf of Hachiuma Steamship Co. Ltd., her technical ship managers, said that at 1.30p.m., local time, 21st June Taharoa Express was loading a cargo of slurry ironsand off Taharoa. Due to worsening bad weather, the local pilot recommended loading be stopped and the vessel taken offshore to wait out the heavy weather, a normal procedure in such cases. On the way from Taharoa to Cook Strait, in 39045’S., 172059’E., at the west entrance to the Strait, the vessel developed a list to starboard which, despite the crew’s immediate attempt to rectify it by adjusting its ballast water, continued uncorrected. The Master assumed that, despite the cargo operation having gone smoothly and according to regulations, there must have been some side slip of the cargo, due to the free-water effect of the cargo and the worsening bad weather conditions. With the safety of the crew his first priority and to prevent any damage to the ship, the Master and the local pilot then agreed it would be in everyone’s interest to anchor in Tasman Bay. By 6.40p.m., local time, same day, the vessel safely anchored at the Tasman Bay anchorage and the crew continued in their attempts to rectify the problem by continuous adjustment of the ballast tanks and discharging of the free water from the cargo holds. The vessel was always fully operational and in no danger.”
The press release further stated that all actions taken had been approved by the vessel’s classification society, NK, who have a representative at the site, and New Zealand’s Maritime Authority.
Once the water in the holds had been pumped out, the remaining ironsand cargo needed to be levelled off as much as possible to ensure that the least amount of counter-ballast was required to keep the vessel upright. Mechanical diggers (four bobcats and four excavators) were flown out to the vessel via heavy-lift helicopters, also from Nelson, to help even up the cargo. Damage to some of the vessel’s electrical systems caused by the fresh water leakage during loading also needed to be repaired before it can depart she could resume her voyage.
A further statement issued by Hachiuma Steamship Co. Ltd., on 7th July stated: “Leveling of the ironsand cargo in the ship’s hold completed by last night and removal of the equipment completed at 11.40a.m. today. Repair of the partially-damaged electrical system also completed at 11.15a.m. today, according to NK class specifications. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the ship’s classification society will inspect the ship tomorrow morning, to be followed by an official application to Maritime N.Z. to leave the anchorage and the ship is expected to sail tomorrow.”
Taharoa Express sailed from Tasman Bay on the afternoon of 8th July and headed back to Taharoa Terminal to complete loading, where she arrived on the morning of 9th July. She completed loading on the morning of 11th July, and after dewatering, sailed that afternoon for Qinhuangdao, China.
Taharoa Express arrived for the first time at Taharoa on 19th April 1999 from a Japanese shipyard, and after loading her first cargo of 125,139 tonnes into her nine holds, sailed on 22nd April for Kakogawa, Japan. She was not a brand-new ship, but had been specially converted from a standard bulk carrier for the loading of ironsands slurry. She was built in 1990 by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd., Ulsan, as Stellar Cape, a bulk carrier of 74,364 gross tonnage and 146,859 tonnes deadweight, owned by Dakila Ocean Navigation Corp. and registered at Manila. She is 269.00 metres length overall, 43 metres beam and 17.417 metres summer draught. Owned by Pacific Transport Trading SA and managed by Hachiuma Steamship Company, she was on charter to NYK Line, Tokyo, and flies the Panamanian flag. She is of standard bulk carrier design with nine cargo holds located forward of the accommodation superstructure. Propulsive power is provided by a 5-cylinder B&W 5S70MC diesel engine of 11 974 kW driving a single fixed pitch propeller which gives the ship a service speed of fourteen knots.
Wellington City Council Sticks with Cobham Park for Indoor Sports Centre
On 28th June 2007 Wellington City Council announced that it will continue with a 2006/07 Annual Plan decision to build a twelve-court indoor community sports centre at Cobham Park, adjacent to Evans Bay. Mayor Kerry Prendergast said that investigative work on a proposal to build the sports centre at Harbour Quays at the northern extremity of the port had highlighted issues that could not be resolved. Councillors voted to stick to the original plan to build the sports centre at Cobham Park in Kilbirnie. “It is with great reluctance that we have come to this conclusion”, Mayor Prendergast said. “Wellington City Council, CentrePort and Greater Wellington Regional Council have worked closely together and have weighed up every possible option. While all believed it was a fantastic location, Harbour Quays would have cost at least NZ$65 million, around NZ$20 million more than Cobham Park, and presented more complex site issues that would have been expensive to resolve and delayed construction. A new consultation round would also have been required, delaying the project even further.” Mayor Prendergast said it was important that Council investigated the Harbour Quays site, which only became a viable option after initial investigation work had started on Cobham Park. Its proximity to Westpac Stadium and the transport hub had made it a very attractive proposition. CentrePort chairman Nigel Gould said they were disappointed that the complex will not be established within its Harbour Quays development area but understood the Council's reasons for choosing the Cobham Park option. “The evaluation of the CentrePort site has involved some incredible work by those involved and has had significant value in focusing on future opportunities both for the City and CentrePort.” Work would now progress on Cobham Park with construction likely to start within the next ten months. “Cobham Park is still an excellent site and there are a number of benefits related to locating the centre there. It will enable a twelve-court facility with sufficient on-site parking to be developed that is not constrained by land area or site shape. It will have a greater community focus and not be affected by large-scale events at the Westpac Stadium, as Harbour Quays would have been. It’s also close to around forty schools and 14,000 students compared to twentyone schools and 8,000 students at Harbour Quays.”
The centre at Cobham Park is now estimated to cost NZ$46 million, NZ$6 million more than initially thought due to increased construction costs and more detailed design work. It is likely it would be completed by February 2010 in time for the start of the first school term. The site also has the potential to increase by three further courts in the future. The Council will work closely with the local community to work through issues of concern. Initial investigations have shown that the effects of increased traffic, which local residents were concerned about, could be resolved with only minor improvements.
Historic Deal Struck for Tank Farm
On 29th June 2007 it was announced that an historic agreement had been reached which will see Auckland’s tank farm developed into an iconic centre by the sea. The multi-billion dollar plan includes a mixture of marine industry, shops, apartments and public space. The centrepiece is a 4.25 hectare public headland park that will be jointly managed by the Auckland Regional Council and Auckland City Council.
The agreement between the Auckland City Council, Auckland Regional Council and Auckland Regional Holdings will include NZ$230 million of public funds, while Auckland Regional Holdings will be seeking a multi-billion dollar investment from private investors for the commercial area. The planned development will take place in four stages over the next twenty to twentyfive years, beginning with the building of Te Wero bridge to link the tank farm to the Viaduct next year.
The tank farm has been at the centre of political controversy. It caused a rift between the regional council and the city council in 2006 when Mayor Dick Hubbard threatened to walk away from the project after claiming Ports of Auckland’s price tag for the neighbouring Halsey Street wharf was too high. But Auckland Regional Holdings chairwoman Judith Bassett hailed the deal. Mr. Hubbard added: “We’ve listened to the people of Auckland who have clearly said they want us to get on with providing greater access to the water’s edge.” A.R.C. chairman Mike Lee said the plan included public space while maintaining the marine sector in the area. “The A.R.C. has been at pains to ensure that the marine industries are protected and can flourish into the future”, Mr. Lee said. Business lobby group Heart of the City last year slammed the city council over the level of secrecy surrounding the project. The plan to develop the tank farm will go out for public consultation as part of a district plan change in the next few weeks.
Key features of the deal include 2.4km of public access to the waterfront, a site earmarked for an unspecified “iconic building” and 7 hectares of public space, including a 4-hectare headland park.
By mid-July 2007 Transit New Zealand was considering plans to incorporate the construction of the Auckland city end of a NZ$3 billion harbour tunnel below the proposed tank farm redevelopment. That would allow two mega-projects to be dovetailed through the 35ha prime waterfront precinct, which is earmarked for NZ$2 billion-plus worth of above-ground developments. A proposal to double the width of Daldy Street. to forty metres and turn it into an 800-metre-long park through the spine of the tank farm would leave Transit enough underground space to extend the tunnel from the harbour to a possible motorway connection near Cook Street on the so-called “Spaghetti Junction”. The tunnel could emerge through a portal next to the southern end of the NZ$320 million motorway tunnel which Transit intends digging through Victoria Park by 2012 for harbour bridge traffic. Transit has also suggested that an underground bus or even light rail station could be built beneath the tank farm during development work expected to last twenty to twentyfive years. Regional manager Peter Spies said the Daldy Street corridor would be wide enough for a cut-and-cover tunnel to be dug with four lanes – two for public transport and two for general traffic, although Transit would also look at other possibilities in a joint study with the Auckland Regional Council and other parties. He compared it to the Britomart tunnel and allowances made in designing that project for ambitious building projects above ground, although the reverse order would apply to the waterfront development, which is expected to start next year. A harbour tunnel would not be built until at least 2020. “For the development of Wynyard Quarter it is probably likely you would have the reverse”, Mr. Spies said. “So as they design the buildings and their basements, simplistically one side of the basement could be for car parking and the other side of the basement wall will be the wall for a tunnel.” He said the tunnel would be designed as immersed tubes dug into the bed of the harbour from Northcote, before climbing towards Wynyard Wharf, through which it would become a cut-and-cover project. Buildings would be kept clear of the corridor under proposed district and coastal plan changes already lodged by the regional council and Auckland City, and the Daldy Street park would be redeveloped above it.
Mr. Spies said sites for a possible underground station, whether for buses or for light rail, were also being considered in discussions between Transit and other parties to the study such as the city council and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority. A station could be built near a possible bus entry and exit point for the tunnel at Fanshawe Street, with lifts and stairs for passengers to get to and from Wynyard Quarter, or close to an entertainment zone to be developed along Jellicoe Street at the upper end of the tank farm. That second location could “future-proof” (jargon) the station for the possible eventual development of a light-rail system, for which a branch tunnel could then be dug under Viaduct Harbour to Britomart. Mr. Spies said Transit had been close to applying for a designation to safeguard the route through the tank farm before agreeing to working with the Regional Council, the transport authority and Auckland and North Shore cities on a joint study of that and other options between now and March. He confirmed that the possibility of a tunnel between Mechanics Bay and Bayswater was one of many options likely to be looked at, although opposition from North Shore would be taken into account. Regional Council chairman Mike Lee is keen on a harbour tunnel to Stanley Street on the eastern side of Auckland’s central business district, although starting at Northcote.
“SZAP 5” Scuttled in Cook Strait
We mentioned the saga of the trawler SZAP 5, lying in Nelson, in Vol.55, No.1. She left Nelson on the afternoon of 28th June 2007 in tow of the Picton-based tug Kokiri. After towing through Cook Strait, she was scuttled by use of explosives about 3.00p.m. on 28th June in position 41043’S., 175000’E. and sank in about 1,700 metres of water.
Maersk Coastal Service
Maersk Asia Decimo (7,869 gross tonnage, built 1994) made her last coastal voyage in early July 2007. Orion(21,199 gross tonnage, built 1998) made her last visit around the coast in mid-July 2007, after which the short-lived Maersk coastal service ceased. The larger Maersk Niigata (37,902 gross tonnage, built 1991) was replaced on the Japanese service by Nedlloyd Juliana (26,833 gross tonnage, built 2003) from late July 2007. After a brief re-introduction on the Auckland and Tauranga to New Caledonia and Fiji service, Maersk Asia Decimo was replaced on that service in mid-August by Maersk Radford (9,966 gross tonnage, built 2007), one of the CV1100 class, and a sister ship to ANL Yarrunga and Vega Gotland. Maersk Radford was built by China’s Jinling Shipyard.
The Sinking of “Hautapu” in Wellington in 1966
On 13th July 2007 an article was published in the “Dominion Post” newspaper regarding the sinking of the old trawler Hautapu in Wellington in 1966: “For fort
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