New Zealand Defence Forces
During November 2007 a newspaper article reported some concerns about the strength of New Zealand’s Defence Forces. “The Army’s largest fighting units, its two infantry battalions, are way below strength. In June 2007, the first battalion based at Linton had just 232 troops and the second battalion at Burnham had 193, according to figures given to Parliament’s foreign affairs and defence committee. The Defence Force later issued figures saying that at the end of October 2007 its two battalions had more than four hundred troops each. The ideal battalion size is at least five hundred.. National Party defence spokesman Wayne Mapp said the figures presented to the committee showed the Army was seriously undermanned and was not able to do what the Government needed it to. It meant New Zealand could not deploy and maintain a battalion of troops as it did in East Timor between 1999 and 2002. “It’s clear that the army needs to build up the numbers so it can do what the Government asks it to do,” Mr. Mapp said. “The Army is run down. It has got to be able to do reasonable foreseeable tasks, and the Defence Force’s answers indicate it can’t. They are not even meeting Government objectives." Defence chief Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae said that with so many troops now serving in Afghanistan, East Timor and the Solomon Islands, it did not have a battalion available for any other contingency. However, some units were available if required for a critical short-notice deployment in the region. General Mateparae said battalion strength numbers could be misleading because when people were deployed or being trained they were posted out of the battalion but essentially they were still part of it. But troop deployments and a rising attrition rate were limiting the army’s plans to build capabilities. By 2011 the Army wanted to be able to deploy a battalion and a company concurrently – “that’s beyond our capacity”. He said the Defence Force now had 13,640 staff.
The Royal New Zealand Navy's new patrol vessel OTAGO at Melbourne. OTAGO will patrol N.Z.'s Economic Exclusion Zone with a focus on border patrol, counter-terrorism and enhancing Neew Zealand's presence in the Pacific.
There were 4,000 in the Army. Numbers were up on last year but attrition rates appeared to be rising again. General Mateparae also said there were issues with the Navy’s new multi-role ship H.M.N.Z.S. Canterbury, which were being discussed with the shipbuilder. There was a potential problem with the propellers coming out of the water when the ship pitched in rough sea. There had been no problems, but there was concern this could affect the ship’s machinery. The Navy had also spotted a possible fatigue problem with landing-craft fittings used to lower the boats over the side of Canterbury. He said the loss of a rigid-hulled inflatable boat, torn from Canterbury’s quarterdeck by a big wave, was also being addressed. Inquiries are under way into the loss of the boat, and also into the subsequent death of an Able Seaman ,who was killed when a similar boat capsized as it was being towed alongside Canterbury. A report in late December 2007 said that the Navy’s new ship, Canterbury, lost one of its rescue boats overboard because of a design problem that was apparent before the ship was built, an inquiry has found. But the Navy was not told of the risk till just three weeks before it took delivery of the ship. Defence Minister Phil Goff called for a review of the purchase and introduction of Canterbury. Design and operational issues highlighted by the inquiry had been taken up with the shipbuilder, Tenix. The Crown Law Office was also asked to assess whether there were any questions of liability. A court of inquiry into the loss of a rigid-hulled inflatable boat during a storm in the Bay of Plenty in July 2007 revealed it was torn from its mooring when a wave crashed into the ship. The inquiry said another inflatable boat was damaged in the same storm. The loss and damage, estimated at NZ$305,000, is the subject of a warranty claim to the ship builder. The inquiry said the boats were swamped and damaged in rough seas on two previous sea voyages, while the ship was being delivered to Melbourne, and on its first passage to Lyttelton. Immediate action was needed to reduce the high to extreme risk to the boats, the inquiry report said. Options included closing the alcoves, or stowing the boats in a less vulnerable location on the ship. Eliminating the risk “will require significant design and constructive work”. The report said the risk was well known and documented during tank testing. “Both incidents occurred as a direct result of the design of the ship. The alcove position, relatively close to the water line, combined with the roll characteristics and resulted in the ingress of a significant amount of seawater, which had sufficient force to rip the rigid-hull inflatable boats out of their stowage.” The alcoves are 3.3 metres above the waterline, but waves during the 10th July 2007 storm were over six metres. A second inquiry, into the death of an Able Seaman on 5th October 2007 when an inflatable boat capsized alongside Canterbury, was due in early 2008. However, Mr. Goff said he had been advised it was caused by the failure of a quick release shackle, which was now being replaced on all naval vessels. Safety must always be the first priority, he said. “I have asked that all safety factors and concerns relevant to the operation of the ship be reviewed to provide certainty and confidence about its design and performance” An article in mid-December 2007 said that the Royal New Zealand Navy faces “the very real probability” that its ships will be stranded at port because of an exodus of specialists, an internal memo has revealed. Chief of Navy Rear Admiral David Ledson has introduced a NZ$45,000 bonus for sought-after marine technicians who agree to stay for three years after a retention crisis threatened the navy's ability to set sail. The technicians run and maintain crucial engine and power systems. A frigate requires twentyeight technicians and inshore patrol craft, such as the four bought under the NZ$500 million Project Protector scheme, need three. In a briefing sent to all naval staff, Ledson said there was pressure on all naval trades, but the shortage of marine technicians was critical. “The attrition rates and personnel shortages within the marine technician (MT) trade have now reached the point where if I do not intervene, then there is a very real probability that ships will not be able to go to sea,” he said. “That trade very directly affects our ability to have ships at sea over the next few years. “If our ships have to stay alongside the naval base, then this will have a negative effect on just about everyone in the navy -- and on our reputation.” The note said Defence Force chief Lieutenant General Jerry Mateparae has approved a retention scheme that will see marine technicians given a lump sum in return for committing to three years service. The Deputy Chief of Navy, Commodore Bruce Pepperell, said the NZ$45,000 payment would be delivered after the three years. The scheme was targeted at the leading hand and petty officer ranks, where the attrition rate was “particularly serious”. A leading hand marine technician has an annual salary of NZ$48,600, as well as pension and other financial and non-financial benefits. Commodore Pepperell said the marine technician shortage was due to the tight labour market, which had hit other parts of the armed forces. The retention scheme was a short-term measure while other initiatives, such as a recruitment drive, took effect. The Navy has 323 marine technicians, including those in training. In his note, Rear Admiral Ledson said the fleet’s programme next year, including deployments and the introduction of new Project Protector ships, depended on how many technicians were in the retention scheme. Project Protector will see six new ships, two offshore patrol craft and four inshore, delivered to the Navy next year. Some have already been launched but are undergoing trials by the provider, Australian firm Tenix. The multi-role vessel Canterbury, also part of the seven-vessel project, was commissioned in June 2007. In newspapers on 1st December 2007 an advertisement offered for sale by tender the two remaining RNZ Navy patrol craft Kiwi and Wakakura. Tenders closed on 25th January 2008. Both ships returned to the Devonport Naval Base for the last time on Friday 29th November 2007 after two weeks patrolling the Hauraki Gulf as far north as the Bay of Islands. They were decommissioned on 11th December 2007. The former Wakakura arrived in Wellington on 18th February 2008 and took up her old berth inside Queens Wharf. All names, pennant numbers and identification had been removed. She had been initially purchased by Wellington-based Seaworks (who earlier purchased Hinau and renamed her Seapatroller) but Wakakura was resold to Mr. Rick Lucas of Helipro. Kiwi suffered some flooding of her hull whilst laid up at Devonport in early March 2008 and needed to be slipped for examination. Rotoiti, P3569, completed sea trials off Whangarei early in December 2007. The second of class, Hawea, P3571, was transported from the Tenix shipyard at Port Whangarei about one kilometre to the launching slipway on 9th December 2007, and was launched without ceremony on 12th December 2007. A formal naming ceremony was held on 15th December 2007. The third, Pukaki, P3568, is well advanced in construction and assembly of the modules, and is due for launching in April 2008. The fourth, Taupo, P3570, is to be launched in July 2008.
Cruise Ship “Explorer” Sinks Off Antarctica
Early on the morning of 23rd November 2007 the small cruise ship Explorer (2,398 gross tonnage, built 1969) reported in 62024’S, 57016’W (near King George Island in the Antarctic Ocean, near the South Shetland Islands) that she had struck ice and was taking water into a cabin through a small hole. The water subsequently leaked into an engine room separator room, causing her to loose all electrical power, and she was abandoned by her passengers and crew into open lifeboats. One hundred passengers and fiftyfour crew were picked up by the Norwegian cruise ship Nordnorge (11,384 gross tonnage, built 1997) after about four hours. After listing to almost ninety degrees to starboard, virtually lying on the ice, she later flooded through her starboard side windows and sank. Explorer was engaged in making two-week cruises around the Antarctic, costing around US$9,283 per cabin. The group had embarked from Ushuaia, on Argentina's southern tip, on 11th November 2007 for a nineteen-day “Spirit of Shackleton” cruise through the Drake Passage. Explorer was built as Lindblad Explorer, was renamed Society Explorer in 1985 and was renamed Explorer in 1992. She was owned by Toronto-based Gap Adventures. Built in 1969 by NystadVan A/B in Finland as Lindblad Explorer the now-lost ship paid many visits to New Zealand ports during the southern polar summer seasons, from 1971 well into the 1980s, after making her first New Zealand call at Bluff on 4th February 1971 from Antarctica. Other ports and locations have included Greymouth, Lyttelton, Stewart Island and Wellington.
“Anatoki” and Transport Logistics Ltd.
The Japanese coaster Kaijin Maru No.18 (171 gross tonnage, built 1992) was purchased in Japan by Transport Logistics Ltd. The single-hatch, single-hold coaster was originally registered at Kochi (on Shikoku Island) and is fiftythree metres length overall, 8.3 metres beam and 5.1 metres draught, and of 447 tonnes deadweight capacity. She had been used to carry steel products on short voyages in Japan. Her gross tonnage was likely to substantially increase when re-measured for operation in New Zealand. It is understood that she is intended to transport dolomite from Tarakohe to Wanganui, then empty milk containers back to Nelson. She was issued with a provisional Certificate of New Zealand Registry on 17th December 2007 to enable her to sail from Japan to New Zealand. Before sailing from Japan, she was renamed Anatoki, after Anatoki Range, Anatoki Peak, near Takaka. She arrived at Nelson on 23rd January 2008, and on 2nd February was slipped at Nelson for inspection and painting, and was expected to enter coastal service by mid-February 2008. However, the owner experienced some approval complications, and after coming off the slipway at Nelson on 13th February, lay alongside the wharf nearby completing other work. By mid-March 2008 some extra accommodation had been added on the port side, abaft the bridge and under/alongside the funnel, enabling a higher level of manning than was required in her short-haul trading in Japan. She was scheduled to sail from Nelson in mid-April 2008 to enter coastal service. She was to be operated by newly-established company Coastal Bulk Shipping, led by Transport Logistics owner Doug Smith. “The service is to be based out of Nelson and is principally designed to move bulk product that has in the past partly or wholly been moved by road” he said. The vessel was launched in 1992 and has previously been used to carry steel and pipe. Her draught will enable her to service ports such as Tarakohe, Wanganui, Westport and Greymouth, as well as the larger regional ports.”
“Atlantic Trader 1”Scrapped
During early January 2008, scrapping work started on Atlantic Trader 1 (2,033 gross tonnage, built 1969) berthed alongside at Titan Marine’s slip, Auckland. Initial work involved stripping the accommodation area. Evidently they will be into the topsides from the inside out with metal nibblers from late January 2008. Atlantic Trader 1 first arrived in Auckland on 15th June 2001 and her saga has previously been mentioned in these columns. An article in the “New Zealand Herald” on 22 January 2008 said that “co-owner Ken Fell says higher steel prices should make the work worth it Soaring scrap-metal prices have prompted a start on cutting up a condemned ship which has been berthed on the Auckland waterfront for more than seven years. Atlantic Trader 1 was brought to New Zealand to compete for Cook Strait freight in June 2001. But on the delivery voyage from Miami to Wellington, she started taking on water and was diverted to Auckland. There, Maritime New Zealand inspectors found the structural condition of the thirtytwo-year-old ship was poor and refused to allow her to sail. She has been berthed at the Freeman's Bay wharf of Titan Marine Engineering ever since. New owners Ken Fell and William Mulholland say improving scrap-metal prices due to heavy demand for steel from China and India now make it worthwhile to try to recover the ship’s 2,000 tonnes of steel. A team of five, using the latest plasma cutting gear, would take four months to break the 10 millimetre-thick hull into two metre square pieces for sale. The ship’s two engines, each weighing fifteen tonnes, would be hauled out by crane once the deck is removed. “It’s of a daunting size but it’s just a matter of dissecting it”" said Mr. Fell. He said the ship would be cut off right down to water level and then brought up the slipway for further dissecting. When the sand-blasting contractor first saw the rusting vessel, he thought it a prospect for a year’s work. “But I was told it was way beyond sandblasting.” Demolition work had cut her down to the uppermost continuous deck by the end of March 2008. Rail Line Plans for Marsden Point During November 2007 railway infrastructure agency Ontrack and the Northland Regional Council formed a joint venture to advance the designation of land needed to build a new sixteen kilometre rail line south of Whangarei. The proposed line would link the existing Northland-Auckland line at Oakleigh with the new deep-water port at Marsden Point. Taharoa Terminal Taharoa Terminal, situated about seven miles SW of the entrance to Kawhia Harbour, is where the bulk carrier Taharoa Express (74,364 gross tonnage, built 1990) loads ironsand slurry at a large mooring buoy, has had Maritime New Zealand as its “harbour authority” for the last decade or so. In December 2007 Maritime New Zealand gave notice that they would cease “harbour management” of Taharoa Terminal in April 2008 and this would revert to Environment Waikato. It is understood that the operators of the ironsands facility are looking for replacements for the current Taharoa Express in the next few years.
After numerous attempts thwarted by engine breakdowns, the former Ukrainian fish factory Malakhov (2,554 gross tonnage, built 1972), now under the St Kitts & Nevis flag (registered at Basseterre), was escorted out of Lyttelton by the local tug Blackadder on 6th December 2007 after being sold to Indian breakers at Alang. She was ex-Malakhov Kurgan, ex-Sapun Gora. She was planned to sail via Cook Strait, the Great Australian Bight and Colombo for bunkers. However, the following day, prior to passing Kaikoura, her engineers had to close down one of her only two operating generators due to an oil leak, and this reduced her speed to two knots. After contacting her agent, she slowly made her way back south to a position some twenty kilometres northeast of Banks Peninsula. Shore engineers carried out repairs at sea on 9th December and also supplied spares for her engineers to fit, and she finally got under way again from off Banks Peninsula on 15th December, but by this time Maritime New Zealand has withdrawn permission to pass through Cook Strait and she had to go south of New Zealand and south of Tasmania. She managed to limp across the Tasman, but by 31st December 2007 she was reported broken down off the east coast of Tasmania in 42007’S, 150033’E. After drifting whilst more repairs were made, she got under way again on 8th January 2008, but on 15th January 2008 broke down yet again near Nelson (Australia)and was towed sixty kilometers east back to Portland, Victoria and anchored off the port. The local newspaper carried a story detailing her sad saga on 29th January 2008. “Portland residents pulled together to get food and supplies delivered to the disabled Malakhov, stranded for days several kilometres out to sea. It was not quite the voyage of the damned, but fortwentyone Indian seamen stranded in Portland Bay, one hardship was close to unbearable. Their broken-down ship was dragging its anchor. They were forced to build a cooking fire on the deck and their food supplies were putrefying. The people of Portland sent out emergency rations to save them from starvation, but the Indians remained tormented: they could not follow their national cricket team’s thrilling (and victorious) third Test with Australia. The ship’s generators were out of commission, the crew could not go ashore and the television screen on board was blank. Malakhov and her crew have been at anchor several kilometres out to sea on Portland Bay since the old Russian-built fishing factory vessel lost all power two weeks ago. Its captain sent out a distress signal on 15th January when, fiftysix nautical miles west of Cape Bridgewater, the ancient 83-metre ship lost the second of its two generators. It had been steaming from New Zealand, heading around southern Australia on its final voyage to India, where it was to be cut up for scrap metal. The first generator packed it in somewhere between New Zealand and Australia, but the captain apparently gambled that the ship could limp to Fremantle on the remaining dynamo. He lost his bluff. The Portland harbourmaster and senior pilot, Captain Vijay Vijayapalan, went to the rescue aboard a Portland tug and towed the stricken vessel back to the relative safety of Portland Bay. But he could not bring the ship into harbour: he had been forced to tow the Malakhov with one of its anchors dangling fortysix metres deep because there was no power to pull it up, and it would have been dangerous to try to dock a ship that had no winches or windlasses working. It also had no clearance from the quarantine service or customs. Captain Paul Bennett, chairman and treasurer of the Mission to Seafarers in Portland, learned of the Malakhov crew’s plight and arranged to take food out on the town’s Coast Guard cutter. The town pulled together, the Christian group Loaves and Fishes and ship chandler Haebich Provedoring arranged rations, and tug company North Western Shipping & Towage offered a second boat for the food run. Captain Bennett discovered the crew had been reduced to pulling apart wooden cupboards and desks for a cooking fire on the deck. There was no refrigeration and all water had to be boiled. He tossed aboard cooked chickens, canned and dried food, fresh fruit and vegetables, soft drinks, ice and bottles of water. On a second mercy trip, Portland’s good folk sent out a twin burner gas stove, and soon a portable generator was hoisted on to Malakhov. It was just big enough to power a few lights, allowing the men to get to work on repairing the ship’s generator. A few days ago one generator fired into life. It brought some cheer to the crew, Captain Bennett said: they could watch the cricket again. Three Russian engineers and an Indian technician are expected to fly in to Portland this week to try to get the Malakhov working well enough to limp off to its Indian graveyard.” Hopes that repairs would only take a few days proved over-optimistic, and she was towed into port on 11th February 2008 and berthed alongside. However, she had returned to the anchorage by 24th February 2008, and was still there on 3rd April 2008, with the Portland harbour authorities no doubt seriously concerned about being “lumbered” with a derelict.
“Argos Georgia” Broken Down in Ross Sea
On 23rd December 2007 the fishing vessel Argos Georgia (897 gross tonnage, built 1998) broke down in 67040’S, 176025’W, in the Ross Sea, and requested by radio that spare engine parts be supplied. She was still drifting in ice on 3rd January, awaiting spare parts being shipped on the Antarctic cruise ship Professor Khromov (1,764 gross tonnage, built 1983, trading as Spirit of Enderby), which sailed from Lyttelton on the afternoon of 1st January. On 5th January 2008, on its third attempt, a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircrafte from Christchurch dropped supplies and the necessary spare engine parts. Argos Georgia’s engines were repaired and operating by the following day and she resumed fishing operations. Argos Georgia is registered in St Helena and owned by Argos Holdings based in the Falkland Islands. The Argos Georgia Ltd fishing company recently joined two New Zealand fishing companies, Sanford Ltd and New Zealand Long Line Ltd, in applying for an assessment of the Antarctic toothfish longline fishery in the Ross Sea by the Marine Stewardship Council. The fishery is made up of twentyone vessels from nine countries. A number of British fishermen were among the twentyfive crew on board the ship, and other crew members included New Zealanders, South Africans, Spanish and Russians.
Edmund Vestey Dies at Seventyfive
In late November 2007 Edmund Vestey died, aged 75, Chairman of the once well-known refrigerated cargo liner company Blue Star and President of the General Council of British Shipping. He was of the third generation in a family business which was renowned as a classic of business vertical integration, which controlled the U.K.’s biggest butcher’s chain, a vast panoply of meat processing works around the world and extensive agricultural holdings in Australia, New Zealand and South America. Blue Star Line, a fleet of elegant and well maintained ships, well-known for their distinctive funnel markings, were the maritime links in this far-flung empire. Edmund Vestey joined the family business after leaving the Army, eventually taking over the shipping company at a time when it was re-equipping with containerships, as part of the ACT Consortium. It retained a sizeable tramp reefer business for many years. He served as President of the General Council of British Shipping (which was to become the Chamber of Shipping) in 1980. He was a quiet, courteous person, who was embarrassed by the revelations surrounding the Vestey group’s spectacular tax avoidance arrangements, and during the nineties, the family disputes which hit the headlines as the fortunes of the much diversified group were seriously diminished. He was an enthusiastic foxhunter, who, as the chairman of the Masters of Foxhounds Association, was active in defending the sport against those who wished to see it outlawed.
“Australia Star” and “New Zealand Star”
Hong Kong-based Zim Integrated Shipping Services subsidiary Gold Star Line launched a trans-Tasman service in late February 2008, servicing Auckland, New Plymouth, Timaru, Melbourne, Sydney, and back to Auckland. Their ANZAC service was especially focused on westbound reefer cargo and was to employ two CV1100-type sisters, the 1,118 TEU Australia Star (9,940 gross tonnage, built 2008), build-name Yangtze River, owned by Yangtze River CV, and managed by Universal Marine BV, Netherlands, Cypriot flag) and New Zealand Star (intended to be Fesco Argun, (9,957 gross tonnage, built 2008, owned by Far Eastern Shipping Co, Russia; Cypriot flag). However, the company twice rejected acceptance of Fesco Argun and instead chartered El Zorro (9,948 gross tonnage, built 2006, ex- USL Hawk) which took the New Zealand Star name. Due to the late delivery of the second vessel the service launched with just one ship on a fortnightly frequency but was to improve to a weekly using both ships by late March 2008. Originally known as Zim Israel Navigation Co. Ltd., the company is now part of the large shipping group owned by Ofer Brothers (Holdings) Ltd., which includes Zodiac Maritime Agencies Ltd. (U.K.) and Tanker Pacific Management Singapore (Pte) Ltd., Singapore. For Timaru, the new service was to complement the existing international carriers of Maersk, Hamburg Sud and Tasman Orient that already used the port and which carried a record 77,000-TEU of containers through the port in the last financial year. “We see the South Canterbury plains as the food basket and we have seen an opportunity with cargo moving north and south out of the region for shipment”, a company spokesman said. Gold Star saw opportunities in Timaru, as exporters would be looking for efficiencies in getting their cargo to ports. Companies such as Fonterra, Talleys vegetable processing, McCain Foods and Ullrich Aluminium were said to have been the catalyst. Australia Star arrived at New Plymouth from Auckland on 24th February 2008 from Auckland, then sailed for Timaru. Höegh Autoliners Merges Kiwi Car Carriers Norwegian-based Höegh Autoliners absorbed subsidiary Kiwi Car Carriers from 1st January 2008. Integrating the resources of the two companies was expected to increase efficiencies and result in improved services to customers. The official name of the regional company changed to Höegh Autoliners New Zealand, but the brand name Kiwi Car Carriers continued to be used. Acquired by Höegh Autoliners in 2001, Kiwi Car Carriers is understood to be New Zealand’s largest used vehicle shipping company. It operates dedicated roll-on roll-off vessels between Japan and the local ports of Auckland, Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Lyttelton and Brisbane. It has shipped over 600,000 equivalent units in the twelve years it has been servicing the New Zealand automotive industry. Founded in 1927, Höegh Autoliners operates a fleet of sixtyseven modern vehicle carriers and carries about 1.9 million equivalent units annually. Ships include Kiwi Breeze (20,961 gross tonnage, built 1978) and Kiwi Auckland (37,841 gross tonnage, built 1985, ex-Cosmo Spirit 2005)
The former New Zealand FPSO Whakaaropai arrived at Sembawang as BW Endeavour in November 2006 and underwent extensive refurbishment and repair for six months. She had been intended for an offshore contract off Nigeria, but during her refit period her name was changed to BW Peace (72,247 gross tonnage, built 1976) for a contract in the Indian Ocean. However, that contract was lost prior to the completion of repair work and she went back into lay-up at Pasir Gudang in September 2007, reportedly initially as Whakaaropai before resuming her BW Endeavour name.
Sea-Tow The tug Koranui (491 gross tonnage, built 1997, ex-Sea-Tow 25) ) arrived at Picton on 22nd December 2007 with the barge Sea-Tow 60 in tow, with the barge intended for an “indefinite lay-up” at No. 1 anchorage, Picton. Koranui then sailed to New Plymouth on 23rd December, where she bunker and then sailed for Bataan, Philippines. Koranui was sold to Seaways International LLC, of Dubai UAE with delivery in March 2008; and was renamed Seaways 18. It is understood that Sea-Tow are disposing of some of their tugs and barges in order to pursue other offshore activities. Maersk Line Challenges In late December 2007 it was reported that Maersk Line could be toppled from its number one spot without a dramatic improvement in customer service, much lower overheads and a far more careful selection of cargo. That was the blunt message from chief executive Eivind Kolding as he prepared a recovery programme for Maersk. His analysis of Maersk Line’s position, explained in three letters to staff circulated in early December 2007, revealed an organisation in far worse state than any inside and outside the company had realised. He frankly admitted to being “taken aback” by many of the findings, and demanded a fundamental change in thinking. Maersk Line “was at a crossroads”, Mr. Kolding warned, and would not regain its growth unless the company “can be turned round”. The Danish carrier has been ranked the world’s largest container line for many years, helped by two major acquisitions with the takeover of Sea-Land Services in 1999, and then more recently P&O Nedlloyd in 2005. Maersk has also been at the forefront of ship design and development, leading the way with the introduction of super-sized vessels. But in recent times, two European rivals have been closing the gap on Maersk and could threaten its pre-eminent position. Over the past five years, Maersk fleet capacity has expanded from just under 790,000 TEU to 1.6 million TEU. At the same time, second-ranked Mediterranean Shipping Co has grown its fleet from 511,000 TEU to 1.2 million TEU and has a larger new building plan than Maersk. French line CMA CGM has leapt from number six to third place over the same period, as capacity has shot up from 262,000 TEU to more than 700,000 TEU, with a further 500,000 TEU on order. Mr. Kolding has left staff in no doubt about Maersk’s precarious position and the risk of being pushed from the top of the league without radical internal reform. The competition “will take over the leadership position”, he told the workforce. As AP Moller-Maersk’s container shipping division sank deep into the red in 2006, the situation was blamed largely on the introduction of a new but not fully ready IT system at the same time as the integration of P&O Nedlloyd. Many of the complaints Maersk faced from customers probably could be traced back to software issues. For example, twenty per cent of all invoices were incorrect. Possibly driven by the need to fill its huge ships, Maersk had not been securing the best-paying cargo. By early January 2008 Maersk Line announced that it was to axe ten per cent of its workforce, with between 2,000 to 3,000 jobs going out of a total of 25,000 to go over the next few months. This was the biggest round of staff cuts in the history of Maersk Line, with just 1,500 redundancies in the immediate aftermath of the P&O Nedlloyd takeover in 2005. AP Moller-Maersk’s container transport division is to be split into three separate businesses, with Maersk Line separated from Maersk Logistics and from other services such as trucking, rail and stevedoring. Globally, the number of regions will be reduced from fourteen to eleven, but there were no plans to trim Maersk’s fleet or the route structure. Ship capacity was likely to remain roughly unchanged in 2008 and then expand again in 2009, and the top priority was to fill ships with profitable cargo. When AP Moller-Maersk stunned the shipping world in 2005 with the takeover of P&O Nedlloyd, promises of minimal job losses were greeted with scepticism. Staff was told that only 1,500 positions would be cut out of a total combined container transport workforce of 33,000. Many questioned why the Danish conglomerate would want to merge its own Maersk Line with P&O Nedlloyd if it was not aiming to gain efficiencies through smaller staff numbers. As Maersk struggled to absorb P&O Nedlloyd and the world’s biggest containership operator plunged into the red, critics of those early pledges have proved correct. Maersk’s container shipping division posted a US$902 million loss in the nine months to September 2006, though it managed to eke out a small profit, US$32.3 million, in the same period in 2007. Maersk Line’s New Zealand operations would be controlled from Singapore instead of from Sydney. Maersk dominates shipping in New Zealand, carrying about forty per cent of the seaborne trade, and employing about two hundred people.
Successful trials of the tug Tiaki took place in Halong Bay, Vietnam, on 16th and 17th December 2007. Tiaki sailed from Haiphong on 13th January 2008, and with four Dutch delivery crew on board, passed Zamboanga on 21st January, called at Madang for bunkers on 29th January and arrived at Wellington on 13th February 2008. After a thirty-day, 5,760-nautical-mile delivery voyage from Vietnam, the new tug took the chance to show off its capabilities on the harbour when she arrived The NZ$9 million Tiaki replaced the tug Kupe (302 gross tonnage, built 1971), which was reported sold in March 2008. CentrePort’s Marine Manager, Captain Charles Smith, said the tug was needed to help cope with an increasing number of larger ships visiting Wellington. Tiaki has more than twice the pulling power of the port’s other tugs, Toia, Ngahue and Kupe, all of which are more than thirty years old. Tiaki features a fully automated engine room and a state-of-the-art control system. Captain Smith said Tiaki would go into service once tug crews had been trained and certification had been obtained from Maritime New Zealand. Tiaki began life in September 2006 when her first plates were cut in the Song Cam Shipyard, Haiphong, Vietnam. The plates and frames were built into modules in a covered shed. At that time the vessel had no owner but was being built “on spec”. CentrePort signed a contract to purchase a Damen 2411 tug on 28th January 2007. By early 2007 these modules were joined together in the yard’s graving dock and the vessel started to take shape. Until April 2007 the vessel was known simply as Yard No 512214 (5122 is Damen’s code for the Song Cam yard followed by 14 which indicates that Tiaki was number 14 in the series). During April a public competition seeking confirmation of some selected names came out clearly in support of the name Tiaki. Another short debate decided what colour Tiaki would be, and it was no surprise that red was chosen! Final launching occurred on the 2nd of December 2007 and builder’s trials were undertaken in Halong Bay in the Gulf of Tonkin in mid December, when she exceeded all contractual requirements. On the 13th of January 2008 Tiaki left Haiphong on her month-long delivery voyage to Wellington. Very bad weather was experienced in the China Sea. An average speed of 8.2 knots conserved fuel consumption on her delivery voyage. Since the tug Kupe first arrived at Wellington in 1971, CentrePort has always used Voith Schneider tugs. These were chosen as they represented the only safe alternative to towing ships when compared to screw tugs. The Azmuthing Stern Drive(ASD) concept has been refined and this form of propulsion now offers a competitive option to Voith Schneider. It offers high static bollard pull, high manoeuvrability in free run, side stepping and towing conditions, excellent braking capabilities, and competitive pricing. The Damen Shipyard Group was established in 1927 and now has over thirty yards and related companies. The Damen concept of ‘standard design’ was introduced in 1969 allowing the company to stock workboat hulls which can be adapted to an owner’s requirements and thus offers short delivery times. The group builds a wide range of ships, from naval vessels, cargo ships, fast ferries to tugs. The present standard ASD tug range covers from twentyfour to thirtytwo metres in length with bigger ships planned. In 2002 Damen Shipyards decided to design and build the 2411 series after increased enquiries for a compact, robust, powerful and straightforward vessel suitable for harbour work with minimal crewing. As well as the features described above, other features included in this 2411 design was proven technology, low noise and vibration levels, high comfort levels for crew, low maintenance construction and good course stability. Tiaki is number 14 of the series and as of the date of this ceremony hulls 27 onwards are well into construction, all pre sold. The uptake by industry proves that this 2411 design meets the requirements of tug operators all around the world.
After a similar voyage from Vietnam, the tug Bream Bay arrived at Whangarei on 28th February 2008. A naming ceremony for her was held at Marsden Point on 4th March 2008. Bream Bay is a sister tug to Tiaki, built by the same shipyard, but with the major difference being that she has a blue hull. The twentyfour-metre-long and eleven-metre-beam tug is to replace Hauraki (254 gross tonnage, built 1985) which is to be sold. Powered by 360-degree independently-rotatable propeller units and two 5600-horsepower Caterpillar main engines, Bream Bay is said to be “highly manoeuvrable and powerful” with a compact wheelhouse providing unobstructed views. NorthTugz staff chose to name the vessel after the bay which extends twenty kilometres south from Bream Head at the entrance to Whangarei Harbour to Bream Tail. Captain James Cook is understood to have named the bay in 1769 in reference to its abundance of bream fish (although it is now considered likely that fish was actually snapper). A joint venture between Ports of Auckland and Northport, NorthTugz provides pilotage and tug services for ships calling at Marsden Point’s two facilities, the New Zealand Refining Company’s oil refinery and Northport berths. NorthTugz owns one other modern tug, Takahiwai, a smaller older tug and two lines boats.
“Jody F Millennium”
Claim Settled On 28th December 2007 the “Gisborne Herald” carried an article announcing that legal claim by owners and insurers of the log-carrier Jody F Millennium (15,071 gross, built 2000) had been settled. “The multimillion-dollar Jody F Millennium case has been settled and Gisborne’s ratepayers are off the hook. Gisborne District Council chief executive Lindsay McKenzie advised of the settlement but it was not made public until after the final papers were filed in the Supreme Court just before Christmas 2007. Mr. McKenzie said the settlement was a confidential one and he did not know any details. But he had been told the council did not have to make any financial contribution. One major effect of the settlement is that the council’s wholly-owned trading company, Gisborne Holdings, no longer has to operate as a port company. The company had kept this role after the port was sold to Eastland Infrastructure because Tauwhareparae farms, which it operates, had been part of the port company and the asset was available, if needed, to raise funds to meet a successful law suit. The council has been told that there will be changes early in 2008 to finally dissolve the port company. Although it was widely believed that insurance would cover any possible claim, the announcement is still a relief and a Christmas present for the district. The settlement removes a risk that has hung over Gisborne District Council for four years. In February 2003, a year after the ship ran aground at Waikanae Beach on 7th February 2002, hers owners Twin Bright Shipping Company and its parent company, filed a claim naming Port Gisborne as the first defendant and the council as the second. The claim was made in several currencies and was estimated to have a value at that time of NZ $23 million. The port company was sold to Eastland Energy Trust and now is one of the Eastland Infrastructure group of companies, but the endowment farms at Tauwhareparae were retained by the council, which formed Tauwhareparae Farms Ltd. that company became the defendant. The case has seen a number of developments. The council was discontinued from the action in 2005 but that decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal. The council had appealed to the Supreme Court. Presiding judge Justice Williams filed a minute setting a date for the trial in February 2008, with four weeks set down. The defendants were the farm company, the council pending its appeal, Svitzer Harbour Ltd (the parent company of Adsteam tug company which was the port’s pilot at the time of the stranding), and Eastland Moorings. The existence of the claim and fears that the council might be financially exposed has hung over the district since the claim was filed. Mayor Meng Foon said it was great news that the case had been settled and there were no liabilities for either the District Council or Tauwhareparae Farms Ltd. The insurers for these two parties had reached a settlement with the plaintiffs. The council had only to pay a few thousand dollars in legal fees. “I am pleased it is behind us. It is past history now and we can get on with life,” said Mr. Foon. It was with sadness that we noted the death of Society member Captain David Hancox in Australia on 23rd March 2008. Captain Hancox was the salvage master involved with the successful refloating of Jody F Millennium. His work in the salvage business started in 1967, and he worked for SELCO Salvage Ltd. at Singapore in the 1970’s and 1980’s. He had been involved in 149 major salvage operations and 115 wreck removals.
“Around the World in 40 Feet”
, or “On the Road and Inside the Box” The following article was published in Lloyds List on 5th October 2007. “What an exotic life the humble container enjoys. Yes, that’s right, that oblong metal box that to many represents the least glamorous side of shipping. Boxships, their decks piled high with anonymous containers full of everyday consumer goods and confined to scheduled services, have never captured the public’s imagination in the way that supertankers or luxury passenger liners have. “Numerous attempts by container lines over the years to raise their profile and impress on the outside world that globalisation would be impossible without this vast network of regular and reliable shipping services have generally fizzled out. Now NYK of Japan has taken up the challenge with a book that traces one particular container as it criss-crosses the world carrying an assortment of cargoes from alarm clocks and electric pianos to whisky, pharmaceuticals, coffee beans and more. “Around the World in 40 Feet follows the progress of Box NYKU596070-1 on its epic 125,000 kilometre voyage as it sets off from Shenzhen with a consignment of household items such as dinner place mats and barbecue tongs, finally returning to that part of the world two hundred days later when the container is discharged at Yokohama after calls in all six continents. ‘The movement of a shipping container is, for most of us, a crucial yet unexciting part of our business,’ NYK senior managing director Hiroyuki Shimizu frankly admits in the foreword to the book. ‘Around the World in 40 Feet’ provides us all with a wonderful opportunity to see things differently.’ And it certainly does, with British writer Richard Cook and Canadian photographer Marcus Oleniuk bringing to life an adventure that goes largely unnoticed by those who barely give the container revolution a second thought until caught behind a slow moving truck completing the final leg of a door-to-door delivery that has brought goods to a local department store from the other side of the world. For Cook and Oleniuk the book started out as ‘a vague, almost comic idea,’ but one that, ‘through a combination of our blind determination and the far-sighted vision of NYK’s senior management, eventually became reality’. The project also brought the pair into contact with the unsung heroes of the global economy, seafarers. ‘No matter the nationality or rank, all of the countless NYK mariners we crossed paths with; and often inconvenienced with eccentric requests as they tried to carry out their daily tasks, showed us nothing but hospitality and respect,’ Cook and Oleniuk recall from their long and often gruelling project. But the real star of the show is Box NYKU596070-1 as, on the first leg of its circumnavigation, it is loaded aboard NYK Kai in Hong Kong and heads off across the Pacific, where it arrives in Los Angeles twelve days later. There its contents are transferred to a domestic trailer and on to a train that will eventually deliver the merchandise to a distribution centre in Knoxville. The container, meanwhile, picks up a cargo of raw cotton, is loaded on to NYK Libra and heads back across the Pacific to Singapore where it is transhipped on to a small feeder bound for Indonesia. Next comes a consignment of electric pianos to be shipped from Jakarta, through the ‘surreal’ Suez Canal, for final delivery in what, to the British reader at least, may seem the least glitzy of destinations, Milton Keynes. By then it is Day 57 of the trip, and fortyeight hours later the pianos will be on display in a central London music store. There is no rest, however, for Box NYKU596070-1, which is soon on a windswept dock in Clydeport ready to be packed with 20,000 bottles of twelve-year-old whisky to be exported to Thailand. In Bangkok microwave ovens are stuffed into the container for a voyage across the Java Sea and through the Selat Sunda Channel, along the eastern edge of the Indian Ocean and on to the Australian ports of Fremantle and Sydney. “Thirty days later the container is still in Australia, waiting to be loaded with 28,224 bottles of chardonnay for the Netherlands market. Day 131 finds the container back in Singapore and being transferred to a Europe-bound ship, NYK Lynx, arriving at NYK’s Ceres Paragon terminal in Amsterdam for discharge before being moved to Germany to be crammed with drums of pharmaceuticals and barged back to Rotterdam, then hoisted on to the Cape Charles for a transatlantic crossing to a freezing New York. Soon, though, the container is heading south to the warmer climes of Brazil on Day 169 of this marathon with a cargo of resin compound. From Santos the container transits the South Atlantic packed with 440 bags of unroasted coffee beans. The ship runs into congestion outside Durban in South Africa and has to anchor for a couple of days before a berth comes free, but there are few complaints with beautiful weather to enjoy, giant turtles to watch and a family of whales basking nearby. Finally the container is heading north on the final leg of this journey, arriving in Yokohama on Day 200 and filling the air with the aromatic smell of coffee as its valuable cargo is discharged. The book not only throws light on the hugely complex web of multilateral trade, with a clear illustration of what different countries export, but also shows how much effort goes on behind the scenes to deliver goods to market in the timely, efficient and no-nonsense manner that we all take so much for granted. At each stage of the voyage Cook interviews and Oleniuk photographs those responsible for making sure these supply chains that stretch half way round the world do not fracture. As for Box NYKU596070-1, there was just time for a wash, fresh coat of paint and minor repair to a small dent in one corner. Then, as maintenance welder Toshio Kosugi remarked, ‘It is good for another few thousand kilometres’.” “Southern Salvor” By late 20007 Pacific Dive Company had become the owner of former oil-rig supply tender Southern Salvor, (544 gross tonnage, built 1968), having purchased her with a plan to convert her to a static dive base. However, these plans did not eventuate, so after the ship spent the 2007-2008 summer at Great Barrier Island, she was sold in early February 2008 for scrap in India, and it was planned to tow the old barge Hinuwaka (673 gross tonnage, built 1944) from Auckland for scrap also. Southern Salvor, with Hinuwaka in tow, sailed from Auckland on 10th March 2008, bound for Nelson, where on 15th March she collected the long-laid-up former fisheries research vessel Marara (389 gross tonnage, built 1973) and added her to her tow to Indian breakers.
Steam Locos from Zimbabwe
In early January 2008 two ex-Zimbabwe steam locomotives arrived at the Plimmerton base of Mainline Steam. They were 14A class Garratt locomotive, No. 509, and ex-South African Railways 19D class locomotive, No. 2695. Both were originally destined for scrap in Zimbabwe, but Ian Welch of Mainline Steam purchased them and had them both overhauled in Bulawayo. They were eventually moved out of Zimbabwe into South Africa, and there loaded at Durban onto ships bound for New Zealand. The smaller components came from Melbourne in the car carrier Trans Future 5 (60,414 gross tonnage, built 2005) which arrived at Wellington on 22nd December 2007. The heavy components, weighing approximately forty tonnes, came on board Illawarra Chief (5,988 gross tonnage, built 1993), which arrived at Wellington on 29th December 2007. It was necessary to break the two locomotives down into under-forty tonnes components to be able to rail them from Bulawayo to Durban. Both locomotives were shipped from Durban to Melbourne, and then they were transshipped to Wellington.
New Bunker Barge “Awanuia” for Auckland
In early February 2008 it was announced that Ports of Auckland and SeaBiz had formed SeaFuels Ltd, a joint venture company to provide a new fuel bunker barge service on the Waitemata Harbour from early 2009. Ongoing security of fuel supply at the Port of Auckland was the main consideration in the decision to form the joint venture and build a new modern oil bunker barge, to be named Awanuia. Awanuia will operate a new delivery system, loading bunker fuel from Marsden Point, where a priority berth is to be built for her, and then transferring it directly into ships at their berths in the Auckland.
Fourth Voyage in Hunt for “General Grant” Gold
A maritime entrepreneur - and fifty friends -visited the Auckland Islands for a fourth attempt to find gold from a ship that sank 142 years ago. The General Grant foundered on the remote sub-Antarctic islands on 14th May 1866, along with its cargo of gold. The group left Bluff on 8th February 2008 led by Bill Day, of Wellington, who has tried to find the wreck of the General Grant three times. Over twenty other salvage attempts have been made since 1866. Mr. Day said the trip was as much about showing friends and family the beauty of the islands and sub-Antarctic region as finding gold. “It’s such a majestic place. Having said that, there are definitely a couple of sites I want to check out.” He chartered a Russian icebreaker for the mission, Professor Khromov (1,764 gross tonnage, built 1983, trading as Spirit of Enderby). Mr. Day was accompanied by his wife and two sons. Information about the wreck was confusing, possibly because wily shipwreck survivors gave misleading accounts while planning to salvage the gold themselves, he said. Mr. Day has swum the Auckland Islands coastline twice to spot likely shipwreck sites, but modern technology has also helped. “Who’d have thought a few years ago you could sit in Owhiro Bay with a trim latte, read newspapers from 1865 and look at the Auckland Islands on Google Earth?” General Grant had 2576 ounces (73kg) of gold on its manifest, worth around $2.4 million today. The group arrived back in New Zealand on 19th March 2008, with the gold of the General Grant still eluding them.
Lifeboat from “Holmglen” Bound For Netherlands
The coaster Holmglen (485 gross tonnage, built 1956) sank after leaving Oamaru in November 1959, and all fifteen of her crew on board were lost. Her starboard lifeboat was recovered. The “Dominion Post” of 9th February 2008 reported that “A lifeboat saved from one of New Zealand’s more inexplicable marine accidents is heading across the globe to be restored where it was built. For the past twelve years the boat’s home has been the Portside pub at Petone, Wellington. Investigators believed that Holmglen was struck by a freak wave, causing it to roll but her wreck showed no signs of hull damage. The empty lifeboat was the ship’s only debris found above water. When Carlin Cotgrove bought the Portside pub in July 2007 he decided he could do without the old lifeboat. “I love the boat, but it didn’t sell any beers, live bands do.” The boat also took up a large amount of space in the small bar. The boat’s owner, Mike Stewart, than arranged with friend Case Van Traa to list the lifeboat on Trade Me. But there were no offers. However, Mr. Van Traa got an e-mail from a Dutch Rowing club in the town of Tollebeek, where Holmglen and her lifeboats were built and where the ship was launched in 1955. “They’ve even got a member who was a shipbuilder who helped build Holmglen. He’s agreed to act as a consultant for the boat’s restoration.” Mr. Van Traa said the lifeboat was a clinker type, which is a popular class for competitive rowing in the Netherlands, with crews of between eight and ten. After six months of negotiations, Mr. Stewart accepted the club’s offer. The rowing club planned to have it on the water by 2009 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Holmglen’s sinking. (Holmglen was built by Bodewed Scheepswerven at Martenshoeck, Hoogezand, Holland). The lifeboat left Wellington on a truck on 8th February for Tauranga, and was loaded onto Emmagracht (8,448 gross tonnage, built1995), which arrived there on 16th February 2008, bound for Flushing. Trawler
“Atlantic Elizabeth” Scuttled in Cook Strait
Another rusting hulk, the derelict stern-trawler Atlantic Elizabeth (661 gross tonnage, built 1975) which became a familiar sight moored near Te Papa in Wellington, was scuttled in Cook Strait on 21st February 2008 in 1,700 metres of water after being towed out by the CentrePoint tug Toia. The Wellington Harbourmaster said the sinking went well, and after the scuttling valves were opened she took thirtythree minutes to sink She now lies on the seabed twenty kilometres southwest of Cape Palliser in 410 46’S, 1750 00’E. She was built in 1975 for fishing in Canadian waters off Newfoundland and was purchased for fishing in New Zealand in late1993. She was in the news when she collided with the concrete Steeple Rock light beacon on 18th May 1999, tearing a large hole in its port bow and badly damaging the beacon. The trawler’s skipper was prosecuted and fined by the then Maritime Safety Authority. Since then a series of owners went into liquidation, and she has not fished since being detained by the Ministry of Fisheries in June 2004. All oils, contaminants and floatable objects such as nets were removed before she was scuttled. Her sinking followed the scuttling of James Cook and Szap8 in the same area on 2nd December 2007.
The split-hopper trailing suction dredger Pelican (942 gross tonnage, built 1979) has been used for dredging at Lyttelton and Timaru for many years, operated by Van Oord Ship Management BV. On 26th January 20