Log carrier 'Seacliff' to makes its first visit

It is not very often that we have overseas-owned vessels calling here that share a name with a township in this area.

But listed to make its first visit tomorrow is the log ship Seacliff.

Having no obvious local connections except for its name, the vessel flies the flag of Panama and is owned by Luster Maritime SA, a company associated with Imabari-based interests.

The ship is also another of the newer, similar-size, bulk/lumber carriers seen here recently.

It is a 17,018gt, 28,343dwt vessel built by the Marugame yard of the Imabari Shipbuilding Co in Imabari, Japan. This time a year ago, the vessel would have been another on order at that yard.

It was only laid down on June 19, 2009, launched on November 4 and delivered on December 28. Who knows?

We may or may not see it here again in the future, coming back to load logs or discharge bulk cargo, for many of the ships that have berthed here to load logs in the past have been once-only visitors.

Seacliff's visit brings the total of log ship visits since July 1959, to 533, including five to Dunedin.

These have been handled by 340 vessels of which 17 returned under different names.

While some may have made more than one visit, others like Eurymedon and Grand Felicity each made five, and Kiwi Crown seven.

However, the career of the vessel that holds the record for the most number of visits has now come to an end.

After being afloat for nearly 31 years, Sammi Crystal was reported last week as having being sold to Chinese breakers for $US406 ($NZ598) per light tonne displacement, or nearly $US2.9 million.

The keel of the ship was laid down by the Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co at Numakuma, Japan on March 26, 1979.

Ordered by the Kambara Kisen KK, it was launched as Tensho Maru No 5 on June 29.

But before being commissioned on September 14, 1979, it was sold to the Regent Shipping group and entered service under the flag of Panama as Regent Maple. The Pan Ocean Shipping Co, of Seoul, South Korea (now STX Pan Ocean) bought the vessel in 1982, registered it at Inchon, South Korea and gave it the name Sammi Crystal.

Without change of name, Sammi Crystal was transferred to the flag of Panama in February 2003, and the subsidiary Global Pacific Shipping Navigation SA.

The ship took over from the older and larger 17,297gt Rainier, which had berthed at Port Chalmers on 14 occasions between January 26, 1992, and May 16, 1994.

Completed by the Kanda yard at Kawajiri, Japan in June 1977, it served as the Liberian-flag Elise prior to becoming Pan Ocean's Rainier in 1980.

The ship remained in this fleet until October 2002, when it hoisted the Maltese flag under the name Tyhi.

Then in September 2006, it became Global Qingdao under the flag of Panama.

Still in service today, the ship was sold again in July, 2007, to the Falcon Shipping Co, of Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam.

Since then, the vessel has been trading as Lively Falcon under the flag of landlocked Mongolia.


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