In port last week, to discharge phosphate at Dunedin and then
Ravensbourne, was brand-new Maple Amethyst.
Incorporated in its funnel markings are the letters MLSC that
stand for the Maple Leaf Shipping Co. This is part of the
Chinese ship-owning and shipbuilding Taizhou Maple Leaf
Maritime group based at Linhai in the Taizhou Prefecture of
Twelve years ago, Taizhou Maple Leaf Shipping was founded by
the restructuring of the Zhangan Shipping Co, which had been
in operation since 1956.
Two years later, along with the development of this company
and the Taizhou Jiaojiang Maple Leaf concern, the
above-mentioned Hong Kong-based MLSC was established on May
16, 2002. By 2004, the group was operating 27 vessels.
The following year, land was acquired at Linhai as the base
for a shipyard, the Taizhou Maple Leaf Shipbuilding Co Ltd.
One of the first vessels it delivered in 2007 was the 8706gt,
13,451dwt tanker Dijilah, the Arabic name for the
It was the first vessel to be built for the Iraqi Oil Tanker
Company of Basra for 27 years.
From this smaller vessel, more recent production has been on
a series of 179.9m-long, 13-knot bulk/lumber carriers ranging
from 31,800dwt to 33,400dwt.
Maple Amethyst is now the third of these to call here
and the second from the Hong Kong-registered MLSC fleet in
the past 12 months.
Currently on its maiden voyage, the 20,954gt, 32,318dwt
Maple Amethyst, laid down as Yard No 031 on October
12, 2011, launched on March 9, and was delivered on May 17.
And, as is now common practice, it is owned by a single-ship
entity that includes the ship's name, Maple Amethyst Maritime
The first unit of the fleet to come our way was the 20,867gt,
32,491dwt Maple Fortitude, which entered service on
March 10, 2011.
On the first of its two visits last year, it berthed at
Ravensbourne on July 14, to discharge phosphate, then went up
to Dunedin to load the treated product for Australia.
The ship returned to Dunedin on September 20, to load another
consignment for the same destination.
The other visitor, the 20,763gt, 33,345dwt Bulktec,
berthed at Ravensbourne on December 20, 2011, then moved down
to Port Chalmers two days later to load logs.
Also registered in Hong Kong, it was an older sister ship
handed over to the Adani Shipping (China) Co of Dalian on
June 23, 2009.
It is of interest to note that another customer is South
Korea's STX Corp, which has shipyards in that country, as
well as Europe and at Dalian.
They now have six of this class in service with their STX Pan
Ocean fleet, and have two more under construction.
Due on its first visit in a few days' time, with another
shipment of phosphate, is the Marshall Islands-registered
bulk carrier Jaeger.
A 30,012gt, 52,483dwt vessel, it has been owned by Jaeger
Shipping LLC of New York for the past six years.
Under the same flag, the ship entered service in October
2004, as the German-owned Frederike Selmer.
It was built in the Philippines at Balamban by Tsuneishi
Heavy Industries (Cebu) Inc.
This is an offshoot of the parent Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co
of Numakuma, a yard that constructed more than 50 of our past