Last year's wharfside stock pile. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Another larger addition to the Mediterranean Shipping
Company's Capricorn-Europe hub service, is MSC Regina
first-time visitor last Friday.
This vessel was laid down on November 30, 1998, and delivered
on April 15, 1999, as the second of four sister ships built
at Pusan by Hanjin Heavy Industries. The other three are
MSC's Diego, Gina and Aniello, the last to
enter service in March, 2000.
This vessel called here last June. Along with the more recent
visit by its sister ship, it has the largest container
capacity of any of the MSC-owned or chartered ships seen
here. Each ship has 150 reefer plugs, and can each carry
4056TEU, 1611 below deck.
Both are 40,631gt, 56,890dwt vessels having an overall length
Like all owned MSC tonnage, they are registered at Panama.
Regina is owned by the Giofex Trading Corporation.
They have a maximum speed of 24 knots and are fitted with an
eight-cylinder, 38,526hp diesel supplied by the Korea Heavy
Industries works at Changwon. Since the company started
calling here in March, 2006, an interesting assortment of
chartered and owned tonnage has visited Port Chalmers.
Several of these older ships have now passed into maritime
According to a recent overseas report, MSC topped the
shipbreaking league table by scrapping 21 container ships
last year, vessels that had an average age of 26 years. The
report did not indicate whether they were owned or chartered
units. However, in the final quarter of past year, five
chartered vessels that had called here during August and
September were sold for demolition. One of these was the
2480TEU, 1997-built Merkur Sky, which made a one-off
visit on August 22.
The other four were older vessels that started appearing here
from July, 2009.
Three owned by the Tsakos group were the 3084TEU sister ships
MSC's Brasilia, London and Sardinia, all built
by Daewoo in 1986. The other vessel was the 3029TEU Italia,
built at Kiel by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft in 1991, and a
sister ship to the ill-fated Rena. MSC is acknowledged
as being the second largest container ship operator in the
world, and is now well-established in the New Zealand trade.
But little is heard in this part of the world of their more
glamorous division, MSC Cruises.
This fleet currently operates 11 vessels, all built in France
at St Nazaire from 2001-12. They range from 59,000gt,
2163-berth vessels, to those that carry nearly 4000
passengers. Another of this larger type, MSC Preziosa,
is due for completion in March. A fortnight ago today they
withdrew from service the oldest and smallest unit of this
arm, the 35,143gt, MSC Melody which has berths for
1076 passengers in 532 cabins.
Another French-built vessel, it was completed in April, 1982,
by the CNIM yard at La Seyne. The ship served as the Home
Lines' Atlantic until 1988, when it passed to the Premier
Cruise Line who operated it as Starship Atlantic until MSC
acquired it in 1997.
It then served as Melody before the MSC prefix was
added in 2004. On April 25, 2009, while on a repositioning
cruise from Durban to Genoa, the ship was subjected to an
unsuccessful attack by Somali pirates when in the vicinity of
The ship is compliant with the 2010 International Convention
for the Safety of Life at Sea requirements and is up for
Already there has been talk of a South Korean company showing
interest in the vessel with plans to establish a regular
service between Shanghai and the island of Jeju. It is not
unusual to see two cruise ships from the same fleet in port
This was the case when the 77,441gt Dawn Princess and
the larger 115,875gt Diamond Princess were here last
Saturday. But Saturday was also one of those rare occasions
when two identical sister ships from the Maersk fleet met up
with each other at Port Chalmers. Oluf Maersk and
Olivia Maersk, both 34,202gt and built in 2003, were
both here on their third visits.