Of giant ships and superyachts

The second of three CMA CGM's 16.020TEU giant Explorer-class container ships began its maiden voyage 10 days ago from Pusan.

CMA CGM Alexander Von Humboldt has now joined CMA CGM Marco Polo, completed last November, in the French liner company's Far East-Europe FAL 1 service.

Both vessels are registered at London. The third vessel, CMA CGM Jules Verne, is expected to be delivered next month, but it will fly the French flag.

These three ships were ordered from the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering shipyard at Okpo. Of 175,343gt and 187,625dwt, they are single-screw vessels having a maximum speed of 25 knots.

They have an overall length of 396m, a breadth of 53.6m and a loaded draught of 16m. However, their tenure as the largest container ships in the world will be short-lived.

Later this year the first of the 20 Triple-E class vessels will enter service with A.P. Moller's Maersk Line. They are also being built at the Daewoo yard and all should be in service by 2015.

The Triple-E designation stands for economy of scale, energy efficient and environmentally improved. Twin-screw machinery will be installed in these vessels, which will have a top speed of 25 knots but will steam around 19 to 20 knots. They will be deployed on the Europe-Far East run.

Designed to carry 18,000TEU, the Triple-E class vessels will carry containers in 23 rows across. They will have a beam of 59m, a loaded draught of 14.5m and an overall length of 400m.

At the other end of the scale, the Moller family have put a much smaller vessel up for sale, the 25m-long yacht Klem VIII. The price tag is in the region of 5.4 million ($NZ8.3 million). It was the last of eight yachts owned over the years by Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, the son of the founder of the company, Arnold Peter Moller.

He ordered this vessel from the Nautor Swan yard in Finland in 2007 and took delivery of it a few days before his 96th birthday on July 13, 2009.

He died at Copenhagen last year on April 16.

The Klem name is interesting in that it is a contraction of the names of his two daughters, Kirsten and Leise, his wife Emma and his own name Maersk.

Talking of yachts, back in February Dunedin had a visit from Octopus, owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Built in 2003, this vessel is the biggest expedition-type superyacht afloat.

The 126m-long vessel at 9932gt is comparable in size to many of the cargo ships and tankers we used to see here. Until recently it ranked as the 13th-largest private yacht in existence, but has dropped to 14th position with the recent launching of Azzam for a Saudi Arabian client. Both were ordered from the Lurssen yard at Bremen.

Azzam is the largest private yacht to have been built, and will have seven decks and a speed of 30 knots. One can gauge a good idea of its length, which at 180m is 3m shorter than that of one of our regular visitors, the coastal tanker Kakariki, here for the 142nd tme last week.

Construction costs for a vessel like Azzam vary widely in the superyacht market, but according to the standard of luxury can work out around $US1 million per metre.

The MSC chartered container ship Messologi, due here later today from Wellington, created a port record for New Plymouth when it berthed there on Saturday.

Its arrival presented some challenges for the port's staff as the 294.12m-long ship is the longest vessel to call there. And being just 6m short of the limit of the port's swinging basin, it required three of the port's tugs to assist in manoeuvring the ship into its berth.

Messologi claimed the record from the 281.03m Maersk Duffield, which called at the port six years ago.

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