- Watts Shipping Register
- Watts Shipping Register
Nautical News April 2010
Compiled by Michael Pryce with the assistance of M. Berthold, A. Calvert, I. J. Farquhar, N. Kirby, R. J. McDougall, and from the newsletters of the Hawke's Bay and Bay of Plenty Branches of the Society
At 10.30p.m. on 16th December 2009, whilst upright and loading ironsands at Taharoa Offshore Terminal into nos. 3 and 7 holds, the large bulk carrier Taharoa Express (74,364 gross tonnage, built 1990) experienced a shudder with heavy vibrations and took a sudden eight degree starboard list. She had been experiencing slight to moderate rolling during the loading operation in a south-westerly swell. Loading was stopped immediately and checks done around her to ascertain the cause of the list, which seemed to be due to shift of cargo. Two investigators from the Transport Accident Investigation Commission later boarded the ship to carry out an investigation. She had twentyfive crew on board and had loaded about 65,000 tonnes of ironsand. The 275-metre bulk carrier was supposed to have sailed to China, but was diverted to sheltered waters in Tasman Bay so its cargo could be redistributed and the list corrected. Before sailing from Taharoa, all free water was discharged from her holds. She arrived at an anchorage in Tasman Bay on the evening of 18th February, where bulldozers were flown out to her by helicopter and used to “restow” her shifted ironsands. This was completed by the early afternoon of 20th December 2009. She sailed from Tasman Bay in the early hours of 21st December 2009 and anchored off Taharoa on the morning of 22nd December whilst various authorities decided on the next course of action. Eventually, she berthed at the Taharoa buoy on the afternoon of 23rd December 2009, completed loading on the evening of 24th December and anchored nearby to complete dewatering operations, and on an even-keel draught of 16.00 metres. She finally sailed on the late evening of 25th December for Qingdao, where she arrived on 12th January 2010 to discharge. She arrived back at Taharoa on 4th February 2010. After loading and dewatering, and after some delay caused by investigation of some leaks, she sailed from Taharoa on 10th February 2020 for Tomogashima, Japan. It is understood that a replacement ship is being considered to replace her on the trade within the next two years.
“Forum Samoa II”
We recorded the grounding of Forum Samoa II (7,091 gross tonnage, built 2001) off Apia on 29th August 2009 in Vol. 56, No.4, and further details are now to hand. When alongside at Apia, local divers inspected the damage and reported several tanks had been breached including her pipe tunnel, so consequently the ship had no ballast or fuel pumping systems, and was, in effect, floating on her tank tops. A decision was made to take her to Singapore for drydocking and repair. Before departure temporary repairs were made to stop the leakage of oil. He forward cargo oil tanks were converted into temporary fuel tanks and a new pumping system fitted for the fuel to be transferred to the engine room. To alleviate pressure on the tank tops the ‘tween deck hatch lids were lowered into the lower holds and welded into place. The Classification Society for the ship imposed a “condition of class” that she was to proceed at suitable speed and avoid seas of more than 2.5 metres to avoid stress on the ship’s weakened hull. Also new bilge alarms were fitted in the hatches in case of any sudden ingress. She sailed from Apia on 19th October 2009 and proceeded via the Bismarck Archipelago, North of Papua New Guinea, then through Sagewin Strait, Ceram and Java Seas. The Torres Strait was ruled out in case of leakage of oil. She anchored off Singapore on 9th November 2009 after a 5,500 mile voyage, where all surplus oil was pumped into an oil barge, prior to going to West Jurong for docking on 10th November. She was 0.4 metres too long for the dock, so was put in stern-first and a section of the dock chipped-out to accommodate her. Her rudder was put hard-to-starboard to help her fit. When the dock was pumped out, damage revealed included a 6.5 metre split in one of her double bottoms, and repairs were expected to take about three months. She was still at Singapore on 23rd February 2010
Pacific Forum Line Changes
In January 2010, Pacific Forum Line (PFL) announced a rationalisation of its New Zealand-Fiji-Samoas-Tonga offering and new joint-venture service to-Rarotonga. It is understood voyage 83 of Forum Fiji II (5,025 gross tonnage, built 1999) will commence sailing Lyttelton, Napier, Auckland, Lautoka and Suva on a nine or ten-day rotation, with Lyttelton and Napier omitted every second sailing. The newly-introduced Southern Lily (9,422 gross tonnage, built 1998) provides a fixed-day sailing from Auckland to Tonga, Samoa and American Samoa every second Thursday from late January 2010, with Forum Avarua (2,545 gross tonnage, built 1999) to be laid up. In a media statement, PFL said the global recession had heavily impacted shipping lines’ capabilities to operate their own vessels within the Pacific region. It said these changes would ensure the “highest possible service level as well as provide sufficient return on investment to continue a sustainable service”, with the Southern Lily also providing higher frequency and faster transit times.
PFL and Pacific Direct Line (PDL) withdrew their respective vessels Forum Avarua and Southern Phoenix (2,588 gross tonnage, built2006) from the New Zealand to Rarotonga service and will jointly deploy the larger Forum Pacific. She will commence sailing from Auckland to Nuku’alofa, Vava’u, Niue and Rarotonga on a 25-day rotation from mid-March 2010.
Pike River Coal Ltd.
In late January 2010 it was stated that the drilling of roadways through a faulted, or graben, area of the Pike River Coal Ltd. mine had delayed the start of hydro-mining to June or July from the March quarter but the mine still expects its first export shipment to leave Lyttelton in February 2010. The private sector mine on the West Coast has employed 150 people and intends to employ ten more to support hydro-mining. Coal has been extracted to date by the machinery developing the mine. The mine has experienced delays from a rockfall and from the need to drill through a graben area, now confirmed to be 150 metres wide. The main shaft goes through the Hawera fault to a pit bottom area. Roadways drive upward from the pit bottom and water and gravity is used to move the coal down to the pit bottom. On a drive out to a hydro-mining area the graben was encountered last year. The coal seam dropped about twenty metres below the graben. It was decided to drill and blast through the graben area to avoid mining below the pit bottom level. Roadways have now been constructed through 106 metres of rock in the graben and work on getting through the graben is expected to be finished by early February 2010. Meantime there have been no further fault areas encountered in inseam drilling in the mine. One drill hole went 400 metres into the seam on the western boundary of the graben without intersecting any faulting. The timing of the first hydro-mining is dependent on progress through the graben. The delay in commissioning of hydro-mining will defer the mining of 120,000 to 150,000 tonnes of coal production to the September quarter. The company has been storing coal at Ikamatua for transport by rail to Lyttelton. The first export shipment of about 20,000 tonnes of coal will be worth about NZ$3.4 million. Coal prices are rising due to demand in China and the company noted reports that the price for premium hard coking coal could rise by forty per cent in the year starting on April 1, 2010 compared to the current year.
Pike River Coal Ltd. said its first export shipment of 22,000 tonnes of premium hard coking coal was loaded at Lyttelton on 19th February 2010 on board Tian Bai Feng (39,042 gross tonnage, built 2000), and sailed on 20th February 2010 via Port Kembla for Bedi Port in Gujarat in India and on to coke-maker, Gujarat NRE. “This is a significant event for the company and the culmination of intensive efforts to bring the mine into production,” said chief executive Gordon Ward. Gujarat and fellow Indian customer, Saurashtra Fuels, have agreed to take fiftyfive per cent of Pike River's coal. Pike River also has three-year supply contracts with Japanese steel mills. These contracts account for the supply of twentytwo per cent of Pike’s total coal production. The mine is on the West Coast north of Greymouth. The next export shipment is scheduled for the April - June 2010 quarter.
New Golden Bay Cement Silo at Auckland
Golden Bay Cement opened a NZ$45 million cement facility at Bledisloe Wharf on 3rd February 2010, securing the company’s position in Auckland. The new Eastport centre would more than double the storage and discharge capacity at the Fletcher Building subsidiary's current Wynyard Wharf site, Fletcher Building said. The move made way for the redevelopment of the Tank Farm on the downtown Auckland waterfront, and secured long term deepwater port access to Auckland, Golden Bay’s largest market. Fletcher Building infrastructure division chief executive Mark Binns said the facility had major strategic importance. “This facility secures our position in the key Auckland market for at least the next 35 years. We are uniquely positioned to increase our levels of customer service in a market that is going to see a high level of market growth, particularly in the infrastructure sector, out in to the future.”
The German research/icebreaker vessel Polarstern (12,558 gross tonnage, built 1982) arrived in Wellington on 26th January 2010 from Punta Arenas, Chile. She sailed on 29th January to Lyttelton, and after bunkering, sailed from there on 31st January for Antarctica. Polarstern had sailed from Bremerhaven on 11th October 2009 for Punta Arenas. She is managed by Reederei F. Laeisz (Bremerhaven) GmbH, has an ice belt 43 centimetres thick, and has made over fifty scientific research voyages to Arctic and Antarctic waters since being built. She assisted in the building of the underground Neumayer Station, located on the Ekstrom Ice Shelf in 70-39’S, 08-15’W. She, and the research station, are owned and operated by the well known Alfred Wegener Institute. There are early plans to replace her with Polarstern II in about 2016. Her arrival on Wellington marked the end of the two-month leg of an expedition with a marine geological focus that started in Punta Arenas, Chile. Representatives of the research community and the political sphere took advantage of the short stop in Wellington to share experiences and ideas and intensify the good cooperation within the framework of a reception on board. She sailed from Wellington with a new crew as well as new scientific and technical personnel back to Punta Arenas. From the eastern Ross Sea and along the continental margin off Marie Byrd Land geophysical profiling will connect the existing data grid of the Ross Sea to the profiles in the Amundsen Sea and Bellingshausen Sea. The objective of this work is to determine the topography of the seafloor at present and in the geological past and thus create a basis for long-term climate simulations. The main area of work will subsequently be Pine Island Bay, known for the recently-accelerated retreat of the Pine Island and Thwaites Glacier systems. Reconstruction of the dynamic changes in the West Antarctic ice sheet is aimed at providing a better understanding of the current changes and their possible influence on an increased sea level rise. This aim constitutes the focus of the geophysical and geological investigations. Geothermal heat-flow measurements are expected to provide insight into recent volcanic activities that may have an impact on ice-sheet dynamics. Oceanographic measurements will help in explaining one of the possible causes of the present retreat of the glaciers. The fortythree members of the team involved in the expedition that just ended were headed by geologist Dr. Rainer Gersonde from the Alfred Wegener Institute. They collected 1000 metres of sediment cores altogether (around eleven tons in weight) at 70 stations during the research cruise from Chile to New Zealand that covered 9400 nautical miles (17,000 km). The unique material will furnish for the first time detailed information on the climate history of the last 400,000 to 4 million years in this region, which has been subject to little research up to now, though it is important for climate development. Scientists from six nations, including New Zealand, will jointly examine the evolution of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, the spread of sea ice and its influence on variations in greenhouse gas concentrations as well as melting events in the West Antarctic ice sheet and their impact on global ocean circulation using state-of-the-art methods. Another objective is to determine climate-impacting interactions between the polar South Pacific, the tropical and northern Polar Regions during past cold and warm periods. Such questions relevant to the climate are also the focus of a planned deep-sea drilling project within the framework of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) in the Antarctic Pacific. The two ongoing expedition phases will provide the database for selecting the IODP drilling sites. Researchers from all over the world want to look as far as 40 million years back into the geological past with the deep-sea sediments to be drilled in the future. In addition to geologists and geophysicists, biologists, chemists, oceanographers and scientists of numerous other disciplines also make regular use of the research icebreaker for their studies. This is the 50th expedition with about 200 legs altogether and a good example of the multidisciplinary approach applied on the Polarstern, which has been sailing across the Arctic, Antarctic and oceans of the mid latitudes since 1985. It provides a platform for scientists of the Alfred Wegener Institute and their cooperation partners and contributes to unravelling the complex interrelationships in the earth’s system. The primary objective of the research is to understand the driving forces and fluctuations in climate cycles.
South Korea’s first icebreaker/research ship Araon (7,487 gross tonnage, built 2009) arrived at Lyttelton on 8th January 2010 to take on supplies and bunkers before sailing south on 12th February to Antarctica for a month-long research expedition to test her icebreaking operations and explore possible sites for the country ‘s second research base there. She conducted research in Cape Burks, where South Korea is preparing to build its second research base in the Antarctic, and in Terra Nova Bay, the southeastern end of the Antarctic, a second possible site. South Korea currently has one research base, the Sejong Research Center, on King George Island off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Araon met the Russian icebreaker Akademik Petrov (635 gross tonnage, built 1970) to allow the Russian icebreaker to lead her to Cape Burks. Araon was scheduled to return to Inchon by mid-March 2010. Araon is fitted with various oceanographic, geophysical and arctic environment laboratories, and has an endurance range of 37,000 kilometres, or about seventy days. She is also designed to provide logistical support to South Korea’s King Sejong Station located on King George Island. In 2008, South Korea announced plans to open another base in Antarctica sometime after 2011 to expand its research capabilities on the world’s southernmost continent and gain more experience about extreme conditions on the Earth’s polar region. In addition to the Antarctic base, the country has an Arctic research facility called Dasan Station, in Ny-Alesund, Svalbard Islands in Norway.
Sczecin Shipyard to Close
In mid-December 2009 it was announced that Poland’s Szczecin shipyard was to go into receivership because no major investor expressed interest in buying it before a planned third auction for its assets on 18th December 2009. Companies had until 11th December to pay bidding fees to enter a third tender for the northwestern yard, but none did so. A statement from Poland’s Agency for the Development of Industry said: “The auction announced for 18th December will now not be held.” Since the announcement, local politicians have said an enterprise zone might now be developed on the site of the erstwhile yard. Meanwhile, it was also announced that the Polish construction company Energomontaz-Polnoc has bought a large slice of property of the Gdynia shipyard for 33.23M zloty ($11.7M). The total amount of land and real estate acquired by the company now reportedly amounts to 96,157m². The company is not thought likely to continue shipbuilding at the facility. The shipyard built the New Zealand-flag coastal tanker Kakariki (27,795 gross tonnage, built 1999).
An article in “The Dominion Post” on 22nd December 2009 said that more than five million barrels of oil had been produced from the offshore Taranaki Maari oilfield since it started early in 2009, making it New Zealand’s largest oilfield. Oil is now New Zealand’s fifth largest export, worth NZ$1.7 billion in the year to September 2009, with Maari accounting for the bulk of production, as volumes from the nearby Tui field declined. Maari had initial estimated reserves of 50 million barrels of oil, with a peak production of 35,000 barrels a day. Maari is operated by Austrian-based OMV which holds sixtynine per cent of the field. Todd Energy holds 16 per cent, with Horizon Oil 10 per cent and Cue Energy five per cent. The Ensco 107 jack-up rig drilled all the wells for the Maari oilfield, and drilled eight wells at Maari, five producing wells and three for water injection, and also drilled two other wells, the M2A and the Manaia-1, southwest of Maari. The drilling rig was towed from Taranaki to Admiralty Bay, near Nelson, and on 21st December was floated on to a semi-submergible ship Target (42,515 gross tonnage, built 1990) to transport it to Singapore.
“Kapitan Khlebnikov” Icebound
On 13th November 2009 the Russian flagged icebreaker/expedition cruise ship Kapitan Khlebnikov (12,288 gross tonnage, built 1981) carrying 105 tourists, scientists and journalists and 19 crew on an Antarctic cruise, became trapped in ice in Antarctica, northeast of the Antarctic Peninsula, near Snow Hill Island in the Weddell Sea. She broke free on 18th November and sailed for Ushuaia, Argentina. She arrived there on 22nd November, having been forced to make slow speed due to ice and thick fog. She suffered no damage, and a BBC camera crew was on board making a documentary film.
“Doulos” Withdrawn From Service
The world’s oldest ocean-going passenger ship, Doulos (6,818 gross tonnage, built 1914) was declared unseaworthy and to be decommissioned after a routine dry-dock and survey in Singapore in early December 2009 identified more than US$16 million worth of repairs needed to keep the vessel in service. Her owners, GBA Ships, and operators, the Christian aid group Operation Mobilisation Ships International, said keeping the ship compliant with maritime standards had been a huge challenge for many years and it was no longer practical to keep Doulos in service. OM Ships remains committed to continuing as a two-ship operation (with Logos Hope, 12,519 gross tonnage, built 1973) and is now taking donations to pay for a replacement for Doulos. She was to remain in Singapore, alongside and/or at anchor until the end of December 2009. Meanwhile, a group will investigate possible options for the vessel, including discussion with ship preservation groups. After that date options include changing the vessel’s class and obtaining a single voyage certificate for a small group of essential crew to sail the ship to a port for handover to a new owner. She was still lying at Jurong Shipyard, Singapore, in mid-March 2010 awaiting a decision on her future.
New Tug for Napier
Napier has ordered a new tug, to be called Te Mata. She is to be built in Vietnam and will be similar to the port’s existing tug Ahuriri, but with more advanced technology. She will replace the older tug Maungatea (227 gross tonnage, built 1977). She is scheduled to be launched in July 2010 and expected to arrive in Napier during August 2010.
“Rangatira's” Wandering Bell Comes Home
An article in the Dominion Post on 18th November 2009 said that twenty-four years after being spirited off the “Steamer Express” ferry Rangatira (9,387 gross tonnage, built 1972) while it was docked in Britain, the bell of the former Wellington to Lyttelton ferry is to return home. Its journey has seen it secreted in a port, hung in British pubs and rung in a Scottish home. Now its “liberator” and “caretaker”, former Wellington wharf policeman Ross Auld, has flown it back to New Zealand to donate it to the Museum of Wellington City and Sea. Mr. Auld, who lives in the Bay of Islands between international diving contracts, acquired the bell from the Rangatira one night in 1985 at Falmouth, in southwest England. He had remembered the ship, which sailed between Wellington and Lyttelton under the flag of the Union Steamship Company in the 1970s, from his days as a member of Wellington's wharf police in 1976. Mr. Auld was working on a salvage ship out of Falmouth in 1985 when he was made aware of Rangatira’'s presence. “I was with two Kiwi mates. When we came back in to port one said to me, ’There's the old Rangatira over there’. “In the bars that night the locals told us the ship had been there for nine months and was up for sale. “It had been down to the Falklands. My mates went on the boat the next day and had a look around, noticing that her bell was still in place. Mr. Auld boarded under cover of fog one night and hacksawed the 23-kilogram bell's fastenings from the ship's bow. He wrapped it up and spirited it under the gangplank, where it lay for six months. “One night my mates and I shifted the bell into the boot of our car. We souvenired it to ensure the bell returned to its true home in Wellington.” While in Mr. Auld's care the bell had several homes. It spent twelve years in a pub in Essex before moving on to become the official pub bell in the Ship Inn in Johnshaven, Scotland. “It hung there until about 2004. After that a mate looked after it for me in Aberdeen.” Mr. Auld returned from London this week with the bell. “It was the right time to bring it home. It’s going to go to the Museum of Wellington City and Sea. It belongs to the people of Wellington. I’m coming down to Wellington to give it to the museum in the next couple of weeks.” From March 1972 until September 1976 Rangatira sailed between Wellington and Lyttelton under the flag of the Union Steamship Company (UK) Ltd. On the evening of 17th September 1976, Rangatira sailed from Wellington for the last time bound for Falmouth in Britain. It embarked on a new career as a charter vessel, culminating in 1982 with a two-year combat duty stint in the Falklands as a home away from home for British troops stationed at Stanley Harbour.
After two years in the Falklands, it returned to Falmouth in 1984 and was laid up for two years until sold to a Greek shipping company. In 2005, after working as a ferry and cruise ship in the Mediterranean, she was beached at Aliaga in Turkey on 20th January 2005 and scrapped under the name of Alexander the Great (see Vol.53, No.2 for photos of her demolition).
H.M.N.Z.S. “Charles Upham”
Former H.M.N.Z.S. Charles Upham (7,955 gross tonnage, built 1984), sold by NZ in 1998 and renamed Don Carlos, and renamed Don Carlos II in 2007, was sold in 2009 to Indonesian owners and renamed Nusantara Sejati by PT Pelayaran Putra Sejati, Indonesia. She was built as Mercandian Queen II.
Navy Takes Delivery of Offshore Patrol Ships
In early December 2009 it was announced that the Navy would finally take possession of two new offshore patrol ships early in 2010, two years after they were due in service. The ship builder needed to run one more test before the NZ$90 million ships, H.M.N.Z.S. Otago and Wellington, were handed over. The ships are the last of seven ships built under the $500 million Project Protector contract. They should all have been in service two years ago.
The final test carried out in December 2009 was to check that inflatable boats could be launched safely while the ships were travelling at about five knots. A later newspaper article in early February 2010 said that five years since the first steel for new offshore patrol vessel Otago was cut, testing on the problem-dogged ship continues, holding up its commissioning by the Royal New Zealand Navy. Builder Tenix Defence began constructing Otago in February 2005. The vessel was scheduled to be handed over to the New Zealand Government in April 2007 and its sister ship Wellington in October 2007. In September 2008, the Minister of Defence announced the Government was entering contract negotiations with the Australia-based ship-builders after the ships failed Lloyds safety certification. In May 2009, mediation began with BAE Systems (which acquired Tenix) to resolve outstanding issues. The main issue is that the ships are 100 tonnes overweight and no longer meet specifications to operate in Antarctic waters. The extra weight poses potential hazards, particularly when the ships are in ice. Because they float lower in water, the strengthened ice-belt is lower than planned, leaving steel hull plates vulnerable in icy seas. The extra weight also means the ships do not have the capability to add extra equipment, which may affect their useful lifespan. H.M.N.Z.S. Otago was finally handed over to the Navy by shipbuilder BAE Systems Australia on 18th February 2010. The second OPV, H.M.N.Z.S. Wellington, is scheduled to be accepted in mid-April 2010.
Drillship “Joides Resolution”
Joides Resolution (10,282 gross tonnage, built 1978) is a drillship named after Captain James Cook’s Resolution. “JOIDES” is an acronym for Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling. In 1998 she visited New Zealand after she drilled seven holes in the seabed off the Chatham Island Rise and further south to research the world’s largest cold deep current known as the Pacific Deep Western boundary Current. Her single New Zealand port of call was Wellington. She returned to Wellington from Townsville on 16th November 2009 for a brief refuelling stop before heading south. An international team of thirtythree scientists spent two months drilling beneath the seabed off the Canterbury coast in a bid to find a link between climate and sea level changes over the last 35 million years. When she arrived off the coast of Canterbury, she positioned herself in water depths of from 80 to 400 metres to collect sediment cores to depths of 1,800 metres beneath the sea floor at four sites across the continental shelf. The expedition was part of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), an international consortium of scientific organisations from twentyfour countries that operates two drilling ships to probe beneath the seafloor for answers to questions on global change, ocean evolution, geological processes and the nature of life beneath the sea floor. New Zealand recently joined the program as part of an Australian-New Zealand consortium and had three geoscientists on the ship.
She returned to Wellington on 3rd January 2010 to collect provisions and take on a new team of scientists and unloaded kilometres of core samples from sediments in the Canterbury Basin. Two of the sites broke records for their drilling programme, one being the deepest hole drilled on the shallow continental shelf (1,024 metres) and another being the deepest hole drilled on a single, integrated ocean drilling programme expedition (1,928 metres). Although the expedition was aimed at recovering a 10 million-year record of sea level cycles across the basin, the deepest drill hole hit limestone thought to have been laid down 35 million years ago. Data yet to be extracted from the core samples is expected to reveal relationships between climate and sea level, and how the ocean currents and sediment deposits from the Southern Alps have changed over millions of years. Research from the samples is expected to cast light on cold, nutrient-rich water carried up New Zealand’s east coast from the Antarctic circumpolar current that has isolated that continent’s climate for millions of years. The current running northwards through the Canterbury Basin was thought to be a key ocean “conveyer belt” carrying cold water to the tropics. The New Zealand expedition also completed a technically difficult drill hole in only 85 metres of water, a depth which gave the vessel crew very little latitude in keeping her positioned directly above the drill stem.
Joides Resolution is financed by the U.S. National Science Foundation, and managed by a U.S. consortium, including the Texas A&M University, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, and a consortium for ocean leadership.
She sailed on 9th January 2010 to Antarctica to collect sediment cores from the edge of continent. This study will investigate the link between past climate change and the behaviour of the Antarctic ice sheets and will provide understanding of the causes of sea-level changes identified in the cores collected from offshore Canterbury. She was built as the commercial drillship Sedco/BP 471 and was converted for scientific drilling in 1996.
“Tangaroa” Scientists to Study Live Whales
Scientists from New Zealand and Australia headed to Antarctica in February 2010 to conduct research on the whale population. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) provided its research ship Tangaroa (2,291 gross tonnage, built 1991) to take eighteen scientists to the Southern Ocean. Department of Conservation international relations adviser Mike Donoghue said the expedition, a joint initiative by the New Zealand and Australian governments, would be the first time anybody had been to the Ross Sea to do non-lethal research. The 42-day mission sailed on 2nd February 2010 for the Ross Sea and will make its way to the Australian part of Antarctica, collecting data as it goes. Mr. Donoghue said the crew would be taking pictures, and using satellite tags and darts to grab genetic samples of the whales they encounter. “Whatever they see they’ll attempt to photograph and potentially biopsy,” he said. “But of course it will be very weather dependent.” The information collected will be used to study how whale populations are organised genetically and their migration habits. The priorities are humpbacks, blue and minke whales, but the crew will also be on the lookout for orca and the southern right whale. Another goal was to disprove Japan’s claim that whales must be killed for research. “It’s hoped that this voyage, and the bigger Southern Ocean research partnership of which it’s a part, will achieve a lot of information published in peer-reviewed scientific journals about large whales in the Southern Ocean,” Mr. Donoghue said. “That has been conspicuous in its absence, as far as the Japanese programme goes. There’s been sheaves and sheaves of papers published to the [International] Whaling Commission but hardly anything of significance in any reputable international journal.”
Captain Andrew Leachman, of Nelson, commanded the ship, with fourteen of the thirtytwo on board being crew. The priorities are humpbacks, blue and minke whales, but the crew will also be on the lookout for orca and the southern right whale. Captain Leachman said it was the seventh time he had taken Tangaroa to Antarctica, and venturing into that area had its challenges. Because of blankets of ice, the only time ships could get in and out of the Ross Sea area was between late December and early March. Among the work they plan to do was put more than 100 small and lightweight radio transmitters onto the whales. The devices transmit a signal every time the whale rises to the water’s surface, so it could be tracked. Captain Leachman said the Dunedin-based Natural History Unit planned to film the expedition. Another goal of the expedition was to disprove Japan’s claim whales must be killed for research. All eyes will be on the expedition when the preliminary results are presented at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Morocco in June 2010. Commercial whaling was banned in 1986 but Japan argues it can hunt in the Antarctic for research. However, many believe that whale meat is the driver of the hunting. The Southern Ocean Research Partnership was formed last year by anti-whaling countries. This research will be its most significant yet. Tangaroa spends more than 300 days a year at sea.
Future Plans for Wanganui’s Port
In early October 2009 the Wanganui District Council and local Iwi Tupoho signed a historic deal, which saw the two organisations form a new governance structure to manage Castelcliff, in an attempt to revive Wanganui’s ailing port, at a cost of NZ$1.25 million. It will also see more than 50 ha. of culturally important land returned to Tupoho. The Council and Iwi Wanganui Mayor Michael Laws said the deal will finally clarify the “contradictory ownership issues” around the port, which has seen the facility fall into disrepair for the past twenty years. During the local government reorganisation of the 1980s the Wanganui Harbour Board was abolished and its assets and responsibilities placed with the new Wanganui District Council. The Council of that time formed a 99-year lease with the major port users who formed a new company, Ocean Terminals. In 2004 Ocean Terminals sold the lease to River City Port for an estimated $1 million. “Since then development at the port has become mired in legal and contractual wrangles and port users are being frustrated from future development by that wrangle,” Mr. Laws said. “There seems to be a view by all port users and adjacent business owners that they would prefer Council ownership. It is our asset and we are taking direct responsibility for it.” The $1.25 million will compensate River City Port for the loss of the lease. The new governance structure will see a six-person board of directors, comprising four Council-appointed directors and two appointed by Iwi. All directors would be required to have relevant commercial experience. Mr. Laws said reviving the port was essential to Wanganui’s economic future. “Currently the port is an eyesore, and it is an impediment to the economic development of Wanganui.” Mr. Laws said he believed the Council-Iwi partnership was unique in New Zealand. Tupoho spokesperson John Maihi said Iwi saw economic potential in the scheme and wanted to be part of it. The Council and Iwi have disagreed on many things, but that hasn’t stopped us working together. “We have hopped on a waka together although we’re not sure who the Captain will be.” Mr. Maihi said the returned land was particularly significant for Iwi. “The return of our lands of old means a great deal to us.” The land, currently owned by the Council, comprises over 50ha. of unused land in the Landguard Bluff area. The land contains wahi tapu, or sacred sites, for Tupoho. Mr. Laws and all Councillors present signed the deal, as well as representatives from Tupoho’s hapu, including Putikiwharanui, Wainuiarua, Nga Paerangi, Ngati Hinetera, Ngati Tuera, Ngati Hinearo, Ngati Hineonone, Ngati Pamoana, Te Awa Iti, and Ngati Patutokotoko.
Later in October it was said that the port could become a mecca for recreational boaties and fishermen. Developing the port as a major recreational harbour offers the best immediate prospects for its new owners, says Wanganui Mayor Michael Laws. Mr. Laws said developing Wanganui’s port as a major west coast North Island recreational base was probably the most exciting prospect and most worthy of investment at this stage. “It’s going to require both private and public sector investment but it has significant potential,” he said. “There are few safe havens between New Plymouth and Wellington and if Wanganui was to offer that then we could potentially become a recreational fishing centre.” ““The Council driven approach is how much investment we can make and how much economic advantage can we create in the next few years. It’s a different sort of business imperative,” Mr. Laws said. He said with Council and Iwi assuming control all the current and potential port users would receive a much more sympathetic ear. “We’re aiming for that they’re aiming for, to grow their business.” Mr. Laws said people had to look at the port in broader terms: “It’s not just about wharves and what comes over the bar”. He said the harbour lands were a key to the port’s future and the initial thrust of economic activity would happen on land rather than on the river or from the sea Mr. Laws said the matters of dredging to provide deeper water, the sand drift down the coast, bringing the moles and port infrastructure up to standard would require considerable investment.
We mentioned the arrival of the coaster Jaguar (1,044 gross tonnage, built 1985) at Timaru on 27th August 2009 in Vol.56, No.4. It was January 2010 before she received all necessary approvals from regulatory authorities to permit her to commence commercial service. She loaded grain at Timaru on 9th January 2010 and sailed that evening for Onehunga on her first New Zealand coastal voyage, where she arrived on 13th January. Future voyages were planned to include Tauranga and Wanganui. Leslie Shipping Managing Director Kelvyn Leslie said the 1,000-tonne consignment had been handled successfully “with no wastage or cargo damage”. Mr. Leslie said Jaguar was aiming to attract project cargoes, bulk grain and other general produce in either direction, with predominantly grain moving north from Timaru and general cargo, machinery and tractors heading back south. “North Island ports of call will vary depending on the destination of the grain, but include Onehunga, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Tauranga and also other ports no problem. “Close working relationships have been developed with Mainfreight and FBT Transport/Bulk Logistics who have assisted us in getting this service up and running smoothly.”
“Duke of Marlborough”
The Queen Charlotte Steam Ship Company offers Picton Harbour tours on the beautiful steam powered ship, Duke of Marlborough, giving visitors a view of the Marlborough Sounds and the peace of a bygone era. The 36ft steam vessel, Duke of Marlborough, was built in 1987 by Gordon Clark and Brian Starrock in New Plymouth and shipped to Rotorua for completion by Lloyd Lewis. The design is by Bruce Askew of Wellington and it follows the style of the early 1900 steam boats. The boat is now owned and operated by the Queen Charlotte Steam Ship Company in Picton, having been lovingly refitted by Roger Frazer of Whatamongo Bay. For the last year Mr. Frazer has devoted his time to this labour of love. He has spent his entire working life on board various commercial vessels, including large steam ships. “I first went to sea in 1961 and during my career I worked for the Union Steam Ship Company. Seeing how the steam ships worked fascinated me and I always dreamt of having my own steam boat,” he said. He has vast knowledge of steam ships and is a qualified marine engineer having completed an apprenticeship early on in his career.
In its previous life the craft was based in Tarawera operating fishing tours and charter cruises under the name James Torrey. The boiler of the boat was built by Langley Engineering in the U.K. and is lagged in polished wood, brass bound, with an exquisite polished brass curved top surface. The engine looks very handsome in medium grey and the cylinders are also lagged in polished wood. A piston valve is fitted to the high pressure cylinder and a balanced slide valve on the low pressure one. It has cross-head driven twin feed pumps and air pump. Exhaust is through a feed-water heater to a keel condenser. It has been designed to carry fifteen passengers. The entire interior oozes old world charm and makes a great setting for cruising through the Sounds. The boat moves at a speed of six knots and is fueled by coal with the engineering in full view inside
Ship Drags Large Whale to Lyttelton
A dead fin whale was discovered across the bow of the car carrier Century Leader No.5 (50,867 gross tonnage, built 1986) at Lyttleton on the night of 2nd November 2009. Conservation Department marine officer Laura Allum said the ship’s crew had arrived oblivious to the mishap. “They actually didn’t realise until almost they got into the harbour that they had a whale wrapped around their bow,” she said. A crane had to be bought in especially as crews worked for several hours to remove the dead whale, which was around fifteen metres long and weighed fifteen tonnes. Marine scientists from Massey University performed an autopsy to determine a cause of death, and the whale was buried at Bottle Lake Forest Park once the autopsy was complete. Little was known about the migration patterns of fin whales but Ms. Allum said it was not common for them to be in New Zealand waters.
The fishing vessel converted into a livestock carrier, Baldur arrived at Nelson on 24th December 2009 to lay-up for the holiday season. She passed through Cook Strait on 17th January 2010 en route from Nelson to the Chathams. By early February 2010 she was back at Napier
Another Wellington Hulk Scuttled
An article in the local newspaper “The Wellingtonian” on 20th January 2010 stated that “A watery grave beckons Manuia, the ship used in Sir. Peter Jackson’s King Kong film, in Cook Strait early next month. A Greater Wellington Regional Council team was removing material from the ship at Miramar Wharf on 19th January 2010 in preparation for the sinking. Regional Harbourmaster Mike Pryce said one of the conditions of the proposed sinking was ridding the ship of all such materials. “As part of this process wooden hatchboards have been lifted off the cargo hold and placed ashore.”
Captain Pryce had sent four other rusting hulks to the bottom of Cook Strait in the past eight years. They were the former trawlers Sarfaq, Atlantic Elizabeth, Szap8 and James Cook. Manuia had operated as a tuna fishing vessel before being fitted out for filming of King Kong in March 2005 after being officially renamed Venture II. During filming she started taking on water off Kapiti Island. The scenes never made it into the film. The ship later passed to a Wellington property developer who planned to use it as the centrepiece for a proposed waterfront aquarium. The plan foundered when Wellington City Council supported a rival aquarium proposal on the Capital’s Southcoast. On the morning of 9th February 2010, the hulk was towed from Miramar Wharf by the CentrePort tug Toia out to the approved scuttling site in Cook Strait. It took just an hour to flood after valves on board were opened, and she sank at 12.55pm in 410 46’South, 1750 01’ East, in a depth of 1,700 metres.
On 16th February, the local newspaper Kapi-Mana News gave some further background information. “When the vessel Venture II was scuttled in Cook Strait last week so too sank a golden opportunity for a diving attraction in local waters, say the backers of a failed attempt to bring the King Kong ship to Porirua. “Conservatism and inertia from some sectors of the community have lead to Porirua missing out on having a permanent connection to the King Kong movie,” said Mark Copsey, chairman of the Porirua Dive Reef Community Trust. The trust was established in the aftermath of a failed attempt by F69 chairman Marco Zeeman to secure the support and funding of Porirua City Council in December, 2005, to scuttle the vessel, also known as Manuia, off Mana Island. At the time, Councillor Ken Douglas dismissed it as an entrepreneur having a “lump of junk to dump in our backyard”. The trust later lobbied for Venture II to be sunk at the heads of Porirua Harbour but failed to get community support for the project. Last week, as the ship was scuppered in Cook Strait after five years rotting at a Wellington wharf, the trust was dissolved. “It is a pity that it had come to this,” said Mr. Copsey. “As well as the obvious Peter Jackson connection, a reef like this would have improved the sea-life in the harbour and given us great recreational assets.” He said a study by economic analysts BERL indicated the project would have provided up to NZ$1.5 million of direct and indirect benefits to the region. “The layout of Venture II made it a very safe ship to dive on and the northern aspect of the proposed site made it complementary to the F69 on the Wellington South coast. This would mean that ship would become part of the New Zealand Dive Trail.” When the Council was first approached by Mr. Zeeman, the cost was estimated to be between NZ$400,000 and $500,000, but the trust believed they could get it done for less, said Mr. Copsey. The trust’s project manager John Hurrell said they didn’t believe the funding would be an issue. The Mana Community Grants Foundation had already approved NZ$50,000, and earmarked a further $50,000. More problematic was preparing a resource consent application which fell over due to the lack of support from interest groups and the Council. One key opponent was Ngati Toa. Its fisheries representative George Elkington said the Iwi didn’t feel Venture II was “the right ship for the location” and they were concerned a diving attraction would put added pressure on the shellfish stocks off Mana Island. He said Ngati Toa would “let time tell us” what impact the sunken F69 frigate has on the marine environment, and were not fundamentally opposed to a dive wreck in Porirua waters. “It would be looked at case by case. Though there will always be the concern for the effect on the shellfish resource.” The Regional Harbourmaster said the cost of the sinking would be covered by Regional Council ratepayers.”
As a brief reminder of her previous history, Manuia was built in 1956 in the Netherlands for Swedish owners, first came to New Zealand in 1990, arrived in Wellington in September 2003, and was converted at Miramar Wharf during 2004 as a “film-prop” and was officially renamed Venture II. She was used for filming purposes in February 2005 before returning to Miramar Wharf, Wellington, and laid up. She was stripped of her “film props” in September 2005, and her owner went into voluntary liquidation in 2007.
“Wahine” Mast at Eastbourne
An article in “The Dominion Post” on 20th January 2010 said that “After lying forgotten for more than forty years, a mast from Wahine will stand vigil at Eastbourne, honouring those who died when the ship sank. The ferry foundered off Seatoun Beach during a storm in April 1968. Fifty-three people died. Most drowned off Eastbourne, swept there by wind, waves and currents. The ship’s 18-metre-high forward mast was installed at Korohiwa Bay (near the “bus barns” at Eastbourne) in a ceremony on 21st January 2010. “It breaks your heart to think of it lying there all those years, just forgotten,” Valerie Smith, 79, said. Her father, Cecil Doig, died in the disaster when his lifeboat overturned. Her mother, Ruby, survived. Now deceased, she was washed to Eastbourne and pulled from the surf by a rescuer. “It’s the only tangible part of Wahine we have in the Hutt,” Mrs. Smith said. “People from Lower Hutt and Eastbourne played a huge part in the rescue. Many survivors were taken to Hutt Hospital. They did a great job.” An official ceremony at the mast will mark the 42nd anniversary of the sinking in April 2010. Wellington Harbourmaster Mike Pryce said the mast was a major addition to the city’s maritime heritage. “It was a tragic event, and one we are keen to avoid ever repeating.” Wahine’s two masts were salvaged at the same time, he said. The aft mast was placed on Wellington’s waterfront as a memorial in 1990. The forward mast languished in Wellington City Council yards for decades. It was gifted to Hutt City Council about nine years ago. Rusted and marked with graffiti, the mast was sandblasted, repainted and given a protective coating by Lower Hutt firm Seaview Blasting. Survivors and people who worked on Wahine had seen it in the yard and came in to look. Hutt City Council reserves asset manager Craig Cottrill said the Council paid $45,000 to restore the mast. Lower Hutt Mayor David Ogden said Eastbourne had “poignant memories” of the disaster. “I think the placing of the mast will be a sad thing to do, but a good thing.”
Former Navy Tug “Manawanui” Scrapped
After languishing for many years at the Paeroa Historical Maritime Park since 1979, the 23.1-metre former Navy tug and diving tender Manawanuia (completed in 1945 by Steel Ships Ltd., Auckland as YTL 622) was scrapped there during May 2009. Her hull was reported in a poor condition, with her bridge floor and decking rotting badly. Environment Waikato held serious concerns about her condition, in case her hull leaked and she sank. This prompted the Paeroa Historical Maritime Park to dispose of her. Her wheelhouse was cut free and lifted off, and her hull was cut to the waterline whilst afloat Next, the remains of her hull was pulled partly up the boat ramp/slipway, the bow was cut off, she was pulled up further, more was cut off, and thus to the stern, which was lifted out. The steel scrap was taken by road truck to the scrap steel mill at Otahuhu. The propeller was retained at Paeroa. It took less than three weeks to demolish her. She had been towed from Auckland to the Paeroa Historical Maritime Park on the weekend 8-9th December 1979. Two other sister tugs of her class still exist, James O’Brien at Picton and Arataki at Port Chalmers.
“Lau Trader” a Store for Island Group
In late January 2010, Lau Trader ((see Vol. 56, No.4), the newest inter-island vessel servicing the Lau group was preparing for her fourth voyage after her inaugural service two weeks ago following Custom clearance. Three voyages had been completed with the fourth voyage, scheduled to sail on 30th January 2010, to service Kabara, Fulaga, Ogea, Vatoa, Ono-i-Lau and to return via Yasayasa Moala. Yatu Lau Company chief executive Michael Makasiale said its operation was picking up slowly given it was a new operation. He said the ship could carry 220 people and 400 tonnes of cargo. He said the Lau Shipping Company Ltd had scheduled a trip each week. “So there should be approximately four trips in a month and 48 to 50 trips during the whole of this year,” Mr. Makasiale said. He said the ship’s schedule this year was sufficient to ensure a viable position for the ship’s operations. “We will get funds from our operations of course, from receipts of cargo and boat fares,” Mr. Makasiale said. Early this month, the Fiji Islands Maritime Safety Administration (FIMSA) approved the ship to commence its operations after meeting all regulatory requirements relating to occupational, health and safety. On her first voyage, Lau Trader serviced Lakeba, Nayau and Tuvuca. Her second trip served the same routes but included Moce and Oneata. She serviced similar routes on her third voyage and also called at Vanuabalavu and Kanacea..
In late January 2010, Lau Shipping Company Limited, the owners and managers of Lau Trader said that it was all set to implement its plan of a floating supermarket on board the vessel. Yatu Lau Company chief executive officer Michael Makasiale confirmed these plans saying the company was working out how it would actually operate. He said this was one affordable way of getting goods to villagers on the islands who could only buy in bulk so there was no competition created with existing traders there. “We are hoping to have the supermarket on board the vessel by early February when Lau Trader makes its fourth voyage,” Mr. Makasiale said. He said the supermarket would only carry a reasonable amount of stock to allow others space to carry their personal cargo. He said areas had been identified on the boat to store the items, most of which would be groceries. “There have been complaints of the high cost of goods, and part of it is freight costs, so this should be affordable for them, but they should buy in bulk,” Mr. Makasiale said. He would not reveal the amount invested in the project citing confidentiality, but said it was substantial. Mr. Makasiale said traders on the island were relieved given shipping services would now be consistent
Southern Star Express Service
In early February 2010 it was announced that Maersk Line was to introduce a new rotation on its Southern Star Express service as of the 20th February 2010 sailing from Auckland of Maersk Fukuoka. Involving a reversal of its two Australian ports and re-ordering of the former New Plymouth, Wellington and Nelson calls, the service will now call at Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, Lyttelton, Port Chalmers, Wellington, Nelson, New Plymouth, Auckland, Melbourne. In a statement, Maersk said the new rotation “will enable us to provide outstanding reliability while operating the premier service on the Tasman Sea”. A major beneficiary of the revamp is Port Taranaki, which has had its transit time to Melbourne shortened to seven days.
Plans to Lengthen “Aratere”
The ferry Aratere sailed from Wellington on 14th November 2009 for Auckland, arrived and went into Devonport drydock in the early afternoon of 15th November, refloated on 18th November, and returned to Wellington in the early evening of 19th November, and resumed commercial service later that night. This quick visit to Auckland was ostensibly to have a leaking shaft seal replaced, but the main reason was to have the hull of the ship accurately measured using lasers in order to make preliminary plans to lengthen her An article in ‘The Marlborough Express” on 10th February 2010 revealed more details of future plans for Aratere. “A hush-hush move by government-owned KiwiRail to increase the size of the Aratere inter-island ferry is being investigated by a Marlborough District Council-appointed maritime engineer to ensure any changes meet contentious wave wash rules. KiwiRail lodged a certificate of compliance application with the Council late in January 2010 to increase the length of Aratere by about 29 metres and to modify the bow of the ship, which would allow an increase of passenger and vehicle capacity on the ship. The information was included in a list of resource consent applications sent to “The Marlborough Express”. The Council then appointed a maritime engineer to look at the data provided by KiwiRail on the impact the proposed changes would have on the wave wash produced by Aratere and whether the ship would continue to meet the Marlborough Sounds resource management plan’s wave-height rule. The Environment Court-sanctioned wave-height rule limits how much wake ships can create. Aratere and Arahura are allowed under existing use rights to travel at speeds of up to 20 knots inside the Marlborough Sounds as long as they comply with the wave-height rule.
The tug Waipori, 319 gross tonnage, converted from a fishing vessel, and owned by Bloomfield Marine, Nelson, was sold in early February 2010 to South Korea, and sailed from Tauranga for Inchon. She was reported to be used for “environmental seabed vacuuming”
Anatoki finally re-emerged from the alterations carried out at Nelson from late December 2010. Anatoki berthed at Castlecliff from Nelson just before noon on 18th February 2010, and sailed early on 19th February with urea for Nelson. Visibly there were no sponsons built on to the hull, as originally planned. The major difference is at the bow, where the focs’le has been raised, together with the winches etc. As far as can be seen, the extra cargo capacity has been achieved by utilising the previously-open compartment at the bow. The infamous ‘bow holes” appear to have been closed off, giving the bow more bouyancy for the extra cargo space there now. The anchor ports have been raised, and on each side two half-round stiffening strakes have been added, at deck level and below the waterline. Her new alterations were registered on 19th March 2010, and she is now 561 gross tonnage and 230 net (previously 550 gross and 188 net).
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