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Back on its second visit last Friday, Mare Phoenicium is one of the larger, chartered vessels that has been calling here recently on the Mediterranean Shipping Company's Capricorn service.
Built in 1999, it is a 40,306gt vessel than can carry 4036 TEU. South Island ports of call on this service are Bluff, Port Chalmers and Timaru.
But the next vessel on the schedule and due next week, is Messologi, and because of its size and length, it cannot be handled at Bluff or Timaru. This first-time caller is a 52,181gt vessel, with an overall length of 294.12m.
The vessel entered service in October 1991, and was the last of 12 M-class sister ships that were delivered from April 1988. All were built for operation on the Danish International Shipping Register by A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S. They were all constructed by the A.P.Moller-owned,. Odense shipyard at Lindo (Denmark).
These ships were designed to carry 4437TEU, including 500 refrigerated containers. Their holds could accommodate 2055 units while 2382 could be carried on deck. All were fitted with 12-cylinder, MAN-B&W, diesels supplied by the Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding works at Tamano, Japan.
Their output of 51,920hp gave a service speed of 24 knots. From 2004 onwards Maersk began selling the vessels, then chartering them back from the new owners. And in most cases the Maersk suffix of their original names became the prefix in their new owners' names
Nine of the vessels have now carried the familiar MSC nomenclature. As for Messologi, it is owned by Boxcarrier No 7, and is one of three of the sisters bought by the Danaos Shipping Company of Piraeus, which operates them under the flag of Panama.
The vessel started life as Mayview Maersk and was bought by Danaos in December 2006. It renamed the vessel Maersk Messologi and when the charter to Maersk concluded in April 2011, the prefix was dropped from the name. The ship has only recently re-entered service, as it had been idle from November 29, 2012.
Another interesting sister is the fourth of the class that entered service as Majestic Maersk in April 1990. After trading as Majestic from 2010, it was renamed MSC Sariska in May 2011. The ship is one of two that were bought by the Mediterranean Shipping Company.
This vessel perpetuates the name of the vessel that inaugurated their services through Port Chalmers. Completed at Lubeck by Flender Werft in July 1971, and lengthened in 1974, MSC Sariska was a much smaller vessel of 13,276gt, having a capacity of 886TEU.
And by the time it called here, it had certainly been around and could boast 12 former names. The vessel was employed in the transtasman service and made 19 visits between March 7, and December 13, 2006. It was broken up at Alang in 2010.
Messologi has the same overall length as Maersk Detroit, our third-longest visitor. This vessel, built in 2005 and on charter from Reederei Claus-Peter Offen, made a one-off visit on December 17, 2009.
At 54,771gt and with a capacity of 5018TEU, it is the largest container ship to have entered this harbour. Since it was here, the ship has traded under its build name Santa Pelagia, and also as Cap Serrat.
Mention of Messologi being back in service draws attention to the number of container ships that are idle.
A week ago it was reported that the 3000TEU- 4999TEU range had the largest number of inactive vessels, with 51, or 203,151TEU, out of action. In all, 323 ships were listed as being inactive. Much of the idle fleet is in the China Sea, where there are 131 vessels listed as inactive.