Port Marlborough Wins Contract to Ship Wind Farm Parts
At the end of August 2007 it was announced that Port Marlborough had won a contract worth more than NZ$1 million to ship equipment for Meridian’s new wind farm near Wellington through Shakespeare Bay. Seventytwo metre-high towers with forty-metre-long blades would arrive from overseas and be stored at Shakespeare Bay. From there they will be barged thirtytwo nautical miles across Cook Strait through Tory Channel to Oteranga Bay for the Makara wind farm. The Shakespeare Bay project will begin in July 2008 and last for up to eighteen months. The wind farm will be a sixtytwo turbine development generating from 140 to 150 megawatts, more than enough to supply every household in Wellington city. As well as export log storage Shakespeare Bay is used as a base for pipe spooling activity associated with Origin Energy's Kupe oil and gas project. Pipe spooling would be completed by March 2008.
Cuts in Fish Quotas Likely to Result in Job Losses
Job losses looked likely in the fishing industry after sharp reductions in allowable catches of many fish stocks were made, but the Government said catch rates had to be cut to sustain the numbers of fish in New Zealand waters. Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said the decision to reduce hoki catches in particular had been difficult for him “as I know hoki cuts may mean job losses in some South Island regions”. Catch limits were reduced including for orange roughy, hoki, and South Island red cod. Other species are also affected to protect the sustainability of fish stocks. Orange roughy catch limits were being reduced by thirtyeight percent in one area, ten percent in another while a third area was being effectively closed. The hoki fishery reduced by ten percent while the catch on the western stock was being reduced by nearly fifty percent. The catch limit of South Island red cod reduced by sixtythree percent with further reductions possible. The quota cuts were announced on 25th September and came into effect on 1st October 2007.
Inshore fishermen say the massive flatfish and red cod cuts will be the death knell of small quota-holders. The industry says the orange roughy decision will hurt twenty to thirty small South Island operators. It was a mystery why stocks of some species were so depleted and that it was not only a result of overfishing. The 10,000-tonne reduction in hoki to 90,000 tonnes a year was worth between NZ$20 million and $30 million, and the reduction of orange roughy was worth about $5 million out of a total fisheries industry of about $1.3 billion.
In a bid to prevent fishermen breaking the limits, the Government has increased deemed values, or the price per kilo fishermen are charged for catching more than their entitlement. The Ministry of Fisheries and the Navy had been instructed to step up detection and enforcement measures.
Nelson-based Talley’s, one of the South Island's largest quota-holders, said the hoki cut was a pragmatic balance between good stocks seen by fishermen and conservative scientific estimates. Director Andrew Talley said the impact on company operations would be clearer in a few months, but the hoki cut would affect twentyfive Nelson fishermen. It was a powerful argument to ensure hoki catches were allocated solely to New Zealand fishing ventures. Talley said the effective closure of the orange roughy grounds was based on an outdated and “alarmist” scientific view.
Sealord's freezer/trawler Paerangi (3,553 gross tonnage, built 2003) was sold in September 2007 by its Norwegian half-owner Volstad to another Norwegian company. Initially on demise charter to Sealord, Paerangiwas fifty per cent purchased by Sealord in early 2005. Paerangi left Dunedin on her last fishing voyage on 13th September. With the cutback in the hoki quota announced recently, Sealord decided not to replace her, andPaerangi returned to Nelson on 15th October after her last fishing voyage for Sealord. Paerangi called outside Wellington Heads on 24th October 2007 waiting for her registration papers, and she sailed later that day bound via the Panama Canal to Bremerhaven. Her new Norwegian owners evidently plan to convert the ship for the South Georgia and Antarctic krill fishery. Fewer than half of the Sealord crew affected by the sale ofPaerangi were redeployed within the Sealord fleet, but the company was doing what it could to help them to find jobs.
New Timaru Tug “Aoraki”
PrimePort Timaru announced in September 2007 that it was to build a new harbour tug at Bengbu, in China, for delivery in March 2008, and to be named Aoraki. The new tug will be in addition to the existing tug Te Maru which has been in service at the port for 23 years.
Work commenced on 2nd October 2007on breaking-up the barge Dixie II, the one berthed upstream of the other barge, Dixie III. The work was done by Jurgens Contractors and Demolition, under contract to Molten Metals Ltd., Wanganui, who bought the barges late last year, and the steel was trucked to Port Taranaki for shipment overseas. Contrary to usual shipbreaking methods, cutting torches were not used and work commenced using a large and powerful hydraulic metal cutter, so that Dixie II’s bow was literally cut and torn apart by this means. The method is untidy at best and very messy at worst. Three days later she was almost gone, with the only barge parts visible being large jagged chunks at bow and stern, with just muddy water in between, and demolition was completed by 9th October 2007. Work started on scrapping Dixie III on 9th October and was completed by 17th October. All the scrap steel was trucked to New Plymouth and loaded on board the bulker Pontonostos (16,725 gross tonnage, built 1990) and exported to Inchon.
The now-nameless but former No.11 Green is still berthed at Castlecliff, looking quite derelict.
On the afternoon of 30th September 2007 the tanker British Swift (63,661 gross tonnage, built 2003)anchored about five kilometres off Wanganui, where the pilot launch Wanganui went out to bring four crew ashore to allow them to go on leave. British Swift had been loading oil condensate at the Umaroa FPSObut with only about 26,000 tonnes loaded, bad weather forced her to seek shelter. Unable to take the crew into Port Taranaki, the ship moved on to Wanganui, and later returned to Umaroa to finish loading the Tui field condensate, bound for Australia.
The riverboat Waimarie was back in service again on 1st September 2007 after her annual survey and maintenance, which included repainting her funnel red, after many months of it being un-painted. Her up-river turn-around place at Upokongaro has been having the landing jetty there replaced after it was swept away in floods a couple or so years ago. On 28th September 2007 Waimarie and Wairua both took parties of guests up to the new jetty, which was then formally opened by the Mayor of Wanganui, amid some celebrations. Once again passengers on the riverboats can go ashore at the village of Upokongaro for scenic walks or refreshments if time permits.
New Coastal Tanker “Torea”
Completion of the 37,000-tonnes-deadweight tanker being built in South Korea to replace Taiko was delayed by a strike at the shipbuilding yard that would delay her completion until at least February 2008. This was too late for Silver Fern Shipping Ltd., so instead they modified their plans and acquired a sister ship from the same shipyard.
Nyathi (25,400 gross, built 2004), owned by Southern Tanker International Ltd. (Unicorn Lines group), was to be renamed Torea for coastal trading, with a New Zealand crew. She was built by Sina Shipbuilding at Tongyeong, South Korea, and is 175.9 metres length overall, 31.03 metres beam, 10.5 metres summer draught and of 37,069 tonnes deadweight. She was to be operated by a new Silver Fern Shipping company called Coastal Oil Logistics Ltd.
Nyathi sailed in ballast from Houston late in the evening on 6th October 2007 (when she commenced a “short charter” to Silver Fern Shipping Ltd.). She transited the Panama Canal on 12th October and arrived at Marsden Point on the evening of 1st November. She then carried out five coastal voyages around the New Zealand coast with her own crew on board but with some of her future New Zealand crew on board for familiarization training. Nyathi was berthed in Auckland on 1st December 2007 so that her New Zealand crew could join her. Her funnel was repainted in Silver Fern colours, and she was renamed Torea on 7th December, registered at Wellington. Her hull will retain the current blue and orange colours until next drydocking. Toreawill carry white products (petrol, diesel, jet kero) whilst trading on the New Zealand coast. Kakariki will carry any black oils (and up to 2,800 tonnes of bitumen). Kakariki lay at Queens Wharf, Auckland, from 20th to 30th November to carry out extensive survey work.
At the same time as Torea received her new name, ASP Ship Management Group acquired the Wellington-based Silver Fern Shipping ship management and crewing business previously owned by the oil companies BP, Chevron, Mobil Oil and Shell. Torea and the existing Kakariki are being time-chartered to Coastal Oil Logistics, established to manage local tanker scheduling and port-related matters on behalf of the four oil companies. In keeping with the Silver Fern vessel naming tradition, the newly-introduced double-hulled tanker was named after the New Zealand native bird, Torea (pied oystercatcher).
“Willift Falcon” Floats-Off Oil Rig in Admiralty Bay
Part of Admiralty Bay in the outer Marlborough Sounds was off limits to all vessels for four to five days while a drilling platform was floated off a transporting ship. The Norwegian flag semi-submergable heavy-lift shipWillift Falcon (51,807 gross tonnage, built 1981) arrived from Singapore off Port Taranaki on 7th October 2007 for customs clearance, and arrived in Admiralty Bay on 8th October, where she was to “float-off” the rig. She was built in 1981 as the tanker World Zeal, was renamed Nile in 1990, renamed Nilos in 1995 and converted into her present role in 2006. The rig that she transported was Ensco 107. It will drill wells into the Kupe reservoir three kilometres below the surface, about thirty kilometres off the Taranaki coast. During the drilling campaign, about 100 workers will live on the rig. Displacing about 16,000 tonnes, Ensco 107 is 157 metres high and 63 metres wide.
On 10th October bad weather and strong winds around the Admiralty Bay area delayed the floating-off of the drilling rig off the heavy lift ship, and it was 11th October when the floating-off operation took place. Assisted by support vessels Pacific Warlock and Yeo Tide and the Port Taranaki tug Tuakana, the drilling rig was first off-loaded at Admiralty Bay in the Marlborough Sounds prior to being towed to the oilfield location about thirtyfive kilometres off Hawera. Prior to commencing drilling, Ensco 107 will be used to install the lower part of the production platform, which has been tied up on a barge at Port Taranaki since August, as well as the topside module which is due to arrive soon. Port Marlborough’s Shakespeare Bay is also serving as the spool base for the preparation and loading of the pipelaying vessel Apache. Assisted by the construction vesselRockwater 2, which is due to return to Port Taranaki in early 2008, this vessel will lay about twentytwo kilometres of pipe from the Kupe platform to the South Taranaki coast where stabilising concrete mattresses are in the throes of being built on the port’s eastern reclamation. Due to be in full production by mid-2009, the Kupe oilfield is expected to produce 254 petajoules of natural gas, 1.1 million tonnes of LPG and 14.7 million barrels of light oil (condensate). A large part of the gas from Kupe will go to Genesis. After a lengthy wait for good weather, it was 29th October before Ensco 107 was able to be towed to the drilling area south of Taranaki.
The latest ship to join the Wellington-based Seaworks fleet is Seawind (492 gross tonnage, built 2005) which arrived in Wellington on 2nd November 2007 from Darwin. The vessel is the ex-Australian flagged Mermaid Venture. She was built in 2005 by Shin Yang Shipyard SDN at Miri, Sarawak, as Yard No.204 for Mermaid Marine Australia Ltd. Dampier as Mermaid Venture. She is of the landing craft type and is to be used in connection with construction work with the Westwind wind turbines project west of Wellington. She is 46 metres length overall, 3.2 metres beam, and is of 453 tonnes deadweight.
Seawind sailed from Wellington on 17th November and arrived at Timaru on 19th November. She was chartered to Leslie Shipping for a round-voyage to the Chathams, taking drilling machinery out and bringing back most of the islands wool clip in containers. She sailed from Timaru on 19th November and arrived back there from the Chathams on 25th November, then sailed back to Wellington, where she arrived on 26th November. Her registered owner is Sea Lander Ltd., a joint venture between Seaworks of Wellington and Daniel Smith of Kaiapoi.
Frigate ‘Canterbury” Scuttled
The former frigate Canterbury was towed from Opua (where she had been stripped of salvageable items and cleaned of contaminants) on 30th October 2007 and preceded at about five knots to Deep Water Cove near Cape Brett at the entrance to the Bay of Islands. Once anchored there, explosives were fitted on board. Bad weather had delayed planned scuttling on 13th October.
Controlled explosions blew holes in her on 3rd November 2007. She took four minutes to sink in the calm waters after Opua teenager Lucy Hamnett triggered a detonating device on the charter launch Acheron, moored 500 metres away. The ship settled slightly by the bow when explosives blew pre-cut plates out of the hull. After a minute she settled stern first with a list to starboard.
Canterbury was the last steam warship in the Navy when it was taken out of commission. The scuttling was not be able to be seen easily from shore, in the way that previous ones have, as there is no road access to the land around Deep Water Cove, near the outer end of the Cape Brett peninsula. The sinking attracted a huge crowd of between 2,000 to 2,500 recreation boats of all sizes, commercial boats, charter boats, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. She joined two other navy ships, her sister ship Waikato and the former navy oceanographic ship Tui, both sunk near Tutukaka, and the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior at Matauri Bay, as major international dive attractions. Sister ship Wellington is at Island Bay, Wellington. Canterbury was expected to add millions of dollars to the tourist economy of Northland as divers did package tours, taking in a number of dive sites.
Former British Railway Coaches to New Zealand
Four former Mk.2 British Railways passenger coaches arrived at Auckland on 10th May 2007 on board Buzzard Bay (10,381 gross tonnage, built 1992), and were unloaded at Bledisloe Wharf. They had been purchased by Mainline Steam, based at Plimmerton, north of Wellington, and shipped from U.K. to New Zealand for refurbishment to expand their coaching stock. Because of the narrower New Zealand railway gauge, the coaches, nos. 3433, 5915, 5939 and 6149, were trucked south from Auckland to Plimmerton. They arrived in Virgin Train’s “Kit Kat” (biscuit) colour scheme and were stored up on blocks at Plimmerton to await refurbishment. It is understood that four more similar coaches are to be acquired.
Plan for Upgrading Tarakohe Welcomed
In early October 2007 Tasman District Council announced that it was investigating spending millions of dollars on upgrading Golden Bay’s indebted Port Tarakohe, which port users say is not before time. A detailed business plan for the port will be presented to the new council to consider. It includes proposals to build a new 170-berth floating marina and replace the port’s condemned wooden wharf. If the marina is built, it would eventually replace the port's existing 60-berth marina. Council property manager Jim Frater said substantial opportunities existed to develop the council-owned port and expand the business, especially with the earmarked expansion of the mussel industry in the district. The proposals in the business plan were "significant" and had been well researched, he said. The plan was also focused on promoting the port to expand its recreational side.
Port Tarakohe is $2.9 million in debt and has had problems with its water supply, stormwater and wharf structures. Upgrading electricity and water supplies, building a boat storage compound and sheds, improving parking, extending the western inner arm by fortyfive metres and building a new boat ramp are included in the plan. Mr. Frater said the council envisaged that user charges would fund the development. It did not intend to use ratepayer money, and hoped the marina would eventually provide a return to ratepayers. He said the work could start in the 2008-09 financial year and be spread over ten years.
Council enterprises subcommittee chairman Stuart Bryant said councillors were supportive of the plan, although some felt an upgrade was taking too long.
A detailed costing had not been done, but the project could cost up to $10 million, he said. Marine Farming Association chief executive Graeme Coates welcomed the move, but said an upgrade should have happened earlier. The mussel industry had paid the council an annual line levy of about $40,000 for the past four years, which was more than it paid in Marlborough, where port facilities were far more sophisticated, he said. “The services are pretty few and far between, and we keep getting told it's going to be upgraded.” This summer was expected to be busy at Port Tarakohe, with a variety of users, including the oil industry, so there was a degree of urgency for the upgrade to happen, he said. Mr. Coates said the mussel industry was eager for the council to replace the condemned wharf, which it shared with businesses exporting minerals and other general cargo.
New Zealand Marine Farming Association president Rob Pooley said the port was vitally important to the industry and was a critical servicing facility for spat-catching. Up to forty percent of spat caught in the top of the south came from Golden Bay, he said. Solly’s Contractors, which ships dolomite and rocks from the port, is one of its main commercial users. Manager Merv Solly welcomed the council's decision to look at developing the port, saying it would be an important asset for Golden Bay in the future. Golden Bay Community Board chairman Joe Bell said upgrading the port was an issue the board had been pushing for a long time, but he did not want to comment further until he had seen the financial details of the proposal and how the council intended to fund it.
End of Bitumen Deliveries by Tanker at Burnham Wharf, Wellington
Shell’s bitumen tanker Plagiola (11,007 gross tonnage, built 1954) made the first bulk delivery of bitumen from Curacao to Shell’s Burnham Wharf bitumen tanks when she arrived on 21st July 1959, after a five week voyage from Curacao via Panama with bitumen. From Wellington she sailed to Western Wharf (Freeman’s Bay), Auckland. New Zealand’s third bulk bitumen plant was opened in Lyttelton on 2nd September 1959 by Shell’s bitumen tanker Paludina (6,414 gross tonnage, built 1949) On 12th December 2006, Taiko (21,187 gross tonnage, built 1984) discharged a last cargo of 741 tonnes of bitumen to Shell’s Burnhma Wharf tanks. Thereafter bitumen was supplied to Wellington by road from Napier. Demolition of some of the bitumen storage tanks was underway in November and December 2007.
Several tugs owned by Sea-Tow Ltd., New Zealand, have called at Fremantle. Kurutai has visited Fremantle several times before but her arrival there from Dampier early on 20th August 2007 was last under Sea-Tow ownership. She was sold by Sea-Tow and on 20th August 2007 was delivered to her new owners, Heron Construction Co Ltd., of Papakura, New Zealand. The tugs’ crew of six were signed-off and flown home and a new crew sent by Heron took over the tug. After all necessary preparations the Kurutai sailed on 23rd August 2007 bound for Auckland. No changes to name or colour scheme had been made prior to departure.
The Sea-Tow tug Karori (255 gross tonnage, built 2001, ex Tajam – 2004) arrived at Albany 16th June 2007 towing the empty barge Sea-Tow 17 to await employment prospects. The barge was anchored in King George Sound and then Karori berthed at the Albany Town Jetty, a public facility normally used by fishing and charter vessels these days. Tug and tow remained laid-up at Albany until nearly the end of August when a cargo contract from Fremantle was secured. On 27th August 2007 Karori departed Albany and after taking the Sea-Tow 17 in tow subsequently departed for Fremantle but rough weather delayed her arrival until 2nd September 2007. The tug and tow berthed at the Australian Marine Complex, south berth in Jervoise Bay where the barge was prepared and then shifted to a “Mediterranean”-style mooring for loading. The cargo which was driven onboard the barge on the back of low loader trucks was a new ship-loader facility, belt feeds and containers of equipment bound for installation on the new Fortescue Metals Group iron ore loading jetty currently under construction at Port Hedland. After completion of loading Karori and barge departed on 6th September 2007 bound for that port. The 29.20m length-over-all Karori was built by Wuxi Shipyard, China, and purchased by Sea-Tow Ltd. in 2004. Registered owners are Orchard Maritime Services Pte Ltd., and port of registry is Singapore.
Ex-Sea-Tow tug Kurutai arrived at Lyttelton on 9th November 2007 with the barge WH761 and dumb dredgerMaciavelli in tow, from Timaru. All three entered the port under the aegis of 'Heron Construction'. Machiavelli is to dredge the ditch for the sinking of the sewer outfall pipeline off New Brighton and WH761 to place aggregate over the area on completion. The aggregate is to be loaded into WH761 using the large metal bins used for loading scrap, via one of the container cranes.
Fijian Ferry “Sinu-I-Wasa III”
On 8th October 2007 the Fijian passenger roll on, roll off ferry Sinu-I-Wasa III (1,721 gross tonnage, built 1964) was damaged by fire at Levuka. It appeared that the fire was started by a worker with a gas-burning torch conducting rust prevention works. Twelve firefighters from the Levuka fire station initially responded to the fire on the vessel, which had been moored in Levuka for several months. The fire which started in the afternoon quickly spread through the upper accommodation areas of the ship producing large volumes of black toxic smoke forcing fire fighters to used breathing apparatus. It was intended to repair the ship. Sinu-I-Wasa III is ex-Adi Savusavu which was surveyed in Lyttelton in 2005 and also at Whangarei in 2003. As Adi Savusavu, a photograph of her at Lyttelton appeared in Vol.53, No.3.
New Hardware on Military Wishlist
In mid-October 2007 the Defence Force unveiled an ambitious NZ$1 billion shopping list for more ships, planes, a new fleet of armoured trucks and new weapons over the next decade. The proposals could add $1 billion to the extra $1.3 billion committed to new military hardware under the 2002-2012 long-term defence plan. Most of that has or is being spent on new ships, helicopters, aircraft upgrades and army equipment ordered or due to come into service in the next five years. But tentative plans for more expensive acquisitions - beyond what has already been approved - were outlined at a Defence Industry forum in Wellington. But Defence Minister Phil Goff says the Government is yet to commit to the plan. The Navy, which will have seven new ships by next year and is also getting NZ$500 million to upgrade its two Anzac frigates, has signalled it needs to replace its tanker Endeavour and dive support ship Manawanui by about 2016.
The Air Force wants to buy a new fleet of transport aircraft to replace its old C-130 Hercules in about ten years time. The Army has begun planning to replace its trucks at an estimated $500 million. Assistant chief of Navy Captain Fred Keating outlined the Navy’s plans for upgrading its two frigates. They are presently being fitted with new mini-Typhoon automatic guns to give them protection against fast inshore attack craft. Its Phalanx gatling guns, designed as a last line of defence against missile attack, are also being upgraded and modified at a cost of NZ$25 million to enable them to hit surface targets. From 2012 the navy is set to begin a NZ$434 million programme to upgrade combat systems on the ships.
Cunard Orders New “Queen Elizabeth”
In mid-October 2007 Cunard Line placed a U.S.$700 millionorder at Fincantieri for a new Queen Elizabeth to debut in autumn 2010. To be constructed at the Monfalcone shipyard, the new liner will be 92,000 gross tonnage and have capacity for 2,092 passengers, slightly larger than Cunard’s Queen Victoria. According to Cunard president Carol Marlow, “The decision to order another ship for Cunard has been taken as a result of the strong booking response to the new Queen Victoria.” She noted that the order will allow Cunard to return to three-ship fleet size, following the departure of Queen Elizabeth 2 in November 2008. (In June 2007 Carnival Corporation-owned Cunard sold the 1969-built Queen Elizabeth 2 to Dubai World). Following an extensive refurbishment, the new owners will re-open the Queen Elizabeth 2 in 2009 as a floating hotel, retail and entertainment centre. The new Queen Elizabeth will not be named Queen Elizabeth 3, but will revert to the original ship name. “We are delighted that Her Majesty the Queen has given her blessing to our calling this new Cunarder Queen Elizabeth, after our first vessel of that name,” said Carol Marlow
The ironsands bulker Taharoa Express arrived off Taharoa on 12th October 2007, but bad weather prevented her from berthing, and she steamed south to Tasman Bay to anchor, arriving on 14th October 2007. En route it became apparent that "various welding repairs" had been carried out by the crew on board, but her Classification Society had not been advised, consulted or authorised anything. It is understood repairs were to cracks in 1 starboard ballast tank, and to No.6 “ballast” hold. When Maritime New Zealand became aware, she was refused approval to go back to Taharoa to load until Classification approved the repair work. Various authorities boarded by helicopter on17th October. Class surveyor approved the repairs, and she sailed from Tasman Bay on the evening of 18th October for Taharoa, where she arrived about noon on 19th October to load. However, by the afternoon of 21st October, she was back at anchor in Tasman Bay to shelter from more bad weather. She left Tasman Bay again for Taharoa Terminal on the evening of 24th October, and berthed there to continue loading on 25th October. She completed loading and sailed from the buoy in the late morning of 28th October to go to anchor to continue dewatering, and sailed at daylight on 29th October bound for Qinhuangdao, China.
Patrol Vessel “Wellington”
The 85-metre patrol vessel Wellington was launched on 27th October 2007 by the Royal New Zealand Navy. She is the third ship to be built as part of Project Protector, the Government’s NZ$500 million upgrade of the Defence Force. Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias launched her in Williamstown, Melbourne. Wellington will join sister ship Otago in patrolling New Zealand’s Economic Exclusion Zone, with a focus on border patrol, counter-terrorism missions and enhancing New Zealand’s presence in the Pacific. The ship has a core crew of thirtyfive, but is equipped to carry thirty extra troops as well as flight and customs personnel. The offshore patrol vessels are designed for flexibility. At three-quarters the size of an ANZAC frigate, Wellington and Otagohave a 6,000-mile range, are helicopter capable and ice strengthened. Wellington will remain being fitted-out at Melbourne until she is officially commissioned in its name-sake city in 2008.
Kent continued her work on developing a coastal service. On 30th October 2007 she sailed from Wellington to Lyttelton, where she arrived on 31st October and loaded several hundred campervans for Auckland. After discharging these in Auckland, she loaded containers for Napier and Wellington.
The Napier trawler Pacific Bounty (692 gross tonnage, built 1989), laid up in Wellington for most of 2007, was sold by Pacific Trawling Ltd. and Ngai Tahu Fisheries Ltd. in late October 2007 and renamed Ocean Bounty. She sailed on 2ndd November 2007 for Namibia via Albany, with new owners Bluetoon Enterprises, Belize flag.
The Napier trawler Baldur (484 gross tonnage, built 1975), also laid up in Wellington for most of 2007, was sold by Ngai Tahu Fisheries Ltd. to Dunedin owners in late October 2007, but was still in Wellington in December 2007.
Scuttling Ends the Sorry Saga of “Miss Mataroa”
Thirty-five-year-old Miss Mataroa (911 gross tonnage, built 1972), the derelict cargo ship that had sat idle at the Avatiu Harbour for nearly two years, was scuttled on 29th October 2007 The rusting cargo ship was also used as a rubbish bin of convenience to dispose of 250 cubic metres of hazardous asbestos roofing material. The Cook Islands Investment Corporation came up with the waste disposal solution for the asbestos which had been removed from schools and other Government buildings over the past four years. The plan had been to bury the material in accordance with international best practice, but land availability has been a problem for government. Both the asbestos and the ship had needed to be disposed of before the cyclone season began on 1st November 2007. The scuttling is the final chapter in the ship’s chequered history of financial and operational problems that resulted in the company being put into liquidation in September 2007. She was scuttled seven nautical miles from Rarotonga, in about 3,500 metres of water. She was purchased for just over $300,000 by Mataroa Shipping & Trading’s Apii Piho in 2000 after the then Fetu Tokelau was seized in Nelson by a ship repair company for unpaid docking debts of over $200,000. Nautilus Shipping (Samoa) which operated the vessel between New Zealand and the Cooks ceased trading soon after. Fetu Tokelau(formerly Hajnowka) had been operating a New Zealand-Cook Islands service since 1999. Even after the Mataroa Shipping take over, the ship was still plagued with operating problems. In October 2001, she had engine problems between Rarotonga and Aitutaki and had to turn around and return to the harbour. Exactly a year later, Miss Mataroa had to be pulled off rocks outside the harbour by tug after an unsuccessful attempt to enter the harbour. That same year there was a claim against Mataroa Shipping for nearly $150,000 in unpaid dry-docking fees by Nelson company TNL International Ltd. Property developer Tim Tepaki invested in Mataroa Shipping not long after, but he later pulled out of the business as it continued to struggle to keep afloat. Piho, his wife Mehau and Papa Solo Williams were the remaining shareholders in the company. Piho said they had hoped to resurrect the business but banks were hesitant to loan them money. In February 2005, the company left up to 100 people stranded in Penrhyn amid rumours of financial problems after it did not return to the island. The ship has taken up sixty metres of what can be described as prime berthing space since 28th August 2005. Although exempt from wharfage fees due to being an inter island shipping service, it would have cost $200,000 to berth at the harbour for the past two years if it was any other vessel. Mataroa Shipping and Trading went into receivership after a petition by the Ports Authority for the winding up of the company was granted. The petition was initially lodged after Mataroa Shipping failed to pay port fees of just over $20,000. In March the company liquidation was the subject of a parliamentary discussion, since Piho is also the MP of Manihiki. Mangaia MP Winton Pickering said the inter-island cargo vessel’s failure to keep running was also the fault of government. “Government should be blamed for its failure. It should be a priority to improve shipping services to the outer islands,” said Pickering. Piho said at the time that he had no intention of asking government to bail the company out of its financial ruin to resurrect the shipping service. The Ports Authority board recently exercised its powers under section 54 of their 1994-5 Act to sink the vessel. Deemed a wreck, the public was given the chance to strip fixtures from the Miss Mataroa before her sinking, and the end of a sorry story. The northern group community were planning a final farewell ceremony. It is understood many in the north, especially Piho's island of Manihiki, are grateful for the services the ship provided to their isolated communities in recent years. Ironically, with airfares now almost prohibitive for northern group islanders, and shipping services struggling, the scuttling ofMiss Mataroa seems to be a sign more of doom, than hope. The ship featured in the article ”My First Command” in Vol.55, No.1.
Coastal Sea Freight Tipped to Double
In early November 2007 Transport Minister Annette King unveiled Sea Change, a draft strategy aimed at revitalising coastal shipping, which she called the poor cousin of the transport sector. The amount of domestic freight was forecast to double during the next decade, driving the need for reorganisation, she said. The roading network had a limited capacity to handle that.
About fifteen per cent of domestic freight is transported by sea. Sea Change wants to double that to thirty per cent by 2040. To help achieve this, the Government will set up a maritime liaison unit in the Transport Ministry. It will promote awareness of coastal shipping and help domestic coastal shippers and ports apply for government financial assistance. Ms. King said that financial aid could involve grants to establish new shipping services. She already had a Budget bid in, to provide this type of funding for 2008-09. Shippers or ports applying for grants would have to demonstrate the economic viability of their proposal at some point in the future. The strategy will take effect against a backdrop of large international shipping lines moving to larger container ships, calling at fewer New Zealand ports. “We have got to make sure we are utilising smaller ports to the best of their ability and seeing how they can be integrated into our rail work and our road work. “We are trying to get ahead of decisions that might be made to New Zealand by planning for the future and expanding our coastal shipping capacity.” Shipping Federation president Rod Grout welcomed the draft strategy, saying the thirty per cent target was the biggest boost to New Zealand coastal shipping that he could recall. One of the things the federation had sought was modal neutrality between road, rail and coastal shipping. Increased funding for coastal shipping would help achieve that, he said. Mr. Grout, also chief executive of New Zealand's biggest domestic shipping company Pacifica, said as international shipping companies called at fewer ports they would have a choice of using road, rail or coastal shipping to move containers to the larger ports.
“If coastal shipping is competitive with road and rail then we’ll get a look in”" he said. “If we’re not, we won’t.”
Additions to Fullers’ Fleet
At the end of October 2007 it was announced that Fullers had purchased a NZ$2 million high-speed catamaran to increase its fleet of passenger vessels servicing the North Shore. The new acquisition is to be used on the Birkenhead, Northcote Point, and Auckland City service. To be renamed Wanderer when it arrives in December 2007, the 24-metre ferry, with a capacity of 180 passengers under cover, was bought from World Heritage Cruises Tasmania, which operates cruises along the Gordon River. Its sister ship, renamedAdventurer, arrived in Auckland in late 2006.
Pike River Coal Shipping Plans Dashed
In mid-November 2007 the West Coast Coal Company (WCCC) said its shipping plans for Pike River coal were on track. WCCC chairman Roy Weavers, who is also chief executive of Port Taranaki, said the Rolls Royce engine and electronics package for two new ships to carry Pike River coal had been ordered. The shipbuilding had yet to begin. WCCC is to be contracted to Pike River Coal (PRC) to provide transport of the coal from the Pike River mine, fortysix kilometres north of Greymouth, to the Port of Taranaki, New Plymouth, from where it will be exported. Four shareholders in that company provide different legs of the coal transport. They include TNL which will truck the coal from the mine to the Port of Greymouth and Norwegian shipping company Jebsen which will carry the coal in two ships from Greymouth to Port Taranaki. Mr. Weavers said the first ship to carry coal from the Port of Greymouth to the Port of Taranaki would be delivered at the end of 2008. It would take twelve to fourteen months to build. The hull for the first ship had not yet been laid down. Jebsen would have the ship built in a shipyard just north of Shanghai. Each ship had a capacity of about 12,000 tonnes of coal and could transport about 800,000 tonnes of coal annually. Mr. Weavers said the coastal shipping part of the coal transport deal was secure and WCCC was not about to lose that option. Coal production in 2008 from the Pike River mine was estimated to be about 60,000 tonnes. An interim transport option would be used while the first ship was being built. He said the most likely interim transport option of the 60,000 tonnes of coal was by barge from Greymouth to New Plymouth. Transport by rail to Lyttelton was another option. The decision was for PRC. Production at Pike coal mine would steadily grow over the first three years. WCCC was contracted to carry up to 1.3 million tonnes a year. PRC managing director Gordon Ward said the firm was confident of its ability to transport all the coal. It was waiting for WCCC to finalise its funding arrangements.
However, on 27th November 2007 the devastating news was announced that Pike River Coal had signed an eighteen-year contract with Solid Energy NZ Ltd. to rail up to 1.3 million tonnes of its premium hard coking coal to Lyttelton for export. The agreement to use rail superseded the proposed transport arrangements with West Coast Coal Company Limited (WCCC) which were based on coastal shipping of Pike River coal from the port at Greymouth to Port Taranaki for export. In Vol.55, No.2 we gave details of the proposal, eight years in the making, to upgrade port facilities to export Pike River Coal from Greymouth to Port Taranaki by coastal shipping. The whole project was undermined by the new rail contract, effectively consigning Greymouth’s port to a slow oblivion, dependant on a few fishing boats for now. Any future prospects of resumption of the shipping of coal from Westport were also greatly reduced. More bad news followed on 30th November with the news that Holcim had been granted interim Resource Consents to build a new cement plant at Weston, near Oamaru, linked by rail to Timaru, from which port cement would be shipped out by sea. West Coast cynics suggest that Holcim will build the new cement plant at Weston, and then gradually find reasons not to upgrade their existing cement works at Cape Foulwind, near Westport, and eventually close it down. This would then coincide with a decision not to replace the coastal cement ship Westport (3,091 gross tonnage, built 1975) with one capable of using Westport harbour, thereby making Westport unviable as a commercial port. These events have the potential to seriously degrade the sustainability of the West Coast and Buller areas.
By mid-November 2007 Jurong Shipyard had almost finished converting the tanker Andaman Sea (53,287 gross tonnage, built 1980) into a floating production storage and offloading vessel for Tanker Pacific Offshore Terminals. She had been at Singapore since December 2006. The FPSO was named Raroa and is scheduled to be operating on the Maari oil field offshore New Zealand for Austrian firm OMV in 2008. On board, Jurong installed the internal turret mooring system and added three boilers on the deck to generate 24 MW of power. It also renewed all of the piping and electrical systems to extend the life of the ship for another fifteen years. The main part of the conversion was the installation of the processing facilities, water injection and chemical systems. Once deployed on the Maari field, off North Island, the FPSO will be able to store 646,000 barrels of oil and produce up to 40,000 barrels per day.
Wellington Trawler Hulks Scuttled in Cook Strait
The stern trawler James Cook (499 gross, built 1966) was built in Norway as Sea Harvester I. Owned by New Zealand Sea Products Export Ltd, together with her sister-ship Sea Harvester I, they were based at Nelson. However, the company was short-lived. She was renamed James Cook in 1969 when purchased by the Ministry of Fisheries as a research trawler. She was used until replaced by the larger research vesselTangaroa (2,291 gross tonnage, built 1991) in 1991. Thereafter she had a succession of owners, many of which were put into liquidation. James Cook’s last arrival Wellington was in tow from Nelson on 7th May 1997. She twice broke-free from her moorings during storm-force northerlies and had to be towed off the rocks near Miramar Wharf (in October 1998 and in August 2007). She had also been set on fire a couple of times.
The stern trawler Szap 8 (505/74) was built in France as Cape Norman. She had fished out of Wellington asNan Hai before getting her present rather unusual “name” in 2002. She had broken-down in Cook Strait in December 2002 during a fishing voyage from Nelson and was towed into Wellington with engine damage. The engine damage was found to be more serious than at first thought, and despite various schemes to fit a second-hand engine, no engine repair work was ever carried out.
Both vessels were towed out of Wellington by the tug Toia on 2nd December 2007 and were scuttled in Cook Strait in a position 410 45’S, 1750 00’E, in a depth of 1,700 metres of water.