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But now the Mediterranean Shipping Company has started calling there.
MSC Monica left here for Timaru on September 22, and last Thursday MSC Brasilia also departed for the same port to inaugurate weekly calls on the Capricorn service.
The next ships scheduled to call here on this service are first-time visitors, the chartered Komodo and the MSC-owned MSC Jenny. Both were built for service with companies associated with their South Korean shipbuilders.
Komodo is a 37,134gt, 242.81m-long vessel designed to carry 2932teu and operate at a speed of 22.5 knots. The ship has been registered to the ownership of Appleton Navigation SA since being bought by the Danaos Shipping group, of Piraeus, 12 years ago.
The ship was built at Pusan by Hanjin Heavy Industries for the Hanjin Shipping Co. It entered service in August 1991 under the name Hanjin Elizabeth. This name was retained when it was sold to Danaos and chartered back by Hanjin.
From 2003-10, the ship was on charter to CMA CGM as CMA CGM Komodo.
The ship then served as Shenzhen Dragon before receiving its present name last year.
MSC Jenny is a slightly longer 244.74m vessel of 39,990gt, with a capacity for 3016teu and a speed of 22.7 knots. As Hyundai Commander, the ship was delivered on July 14, 1988 by the Ulsan yard of Hyundai Heavy Industries for service with the Hyundai Merchant Marine Co.
The vessel traded under that name until 2000, when it was chartered out to Japan's NYK group as NYK Pride. In 2004, it reverted to its former name for a brief period before joining the MSC fleet. MSC Jenny is registered at Panama to the nominal ownership of Compania Naviera Jenny SA.
It is a sister ship to MSC Clementina, which made four visits over a five-month period starting last November. The two newcomers will bring the number of visits to 398 from 57 owned or chartered vessels since MSC first started calling here in March 2006.
After a break approaching four years, the International Maritime Carriers group (IMC) was represented here again last week when Maritime Fortune called at Beach St for logs.
Registered at Singapore to the ownership of the Wellbeing Navigation Co Pte Ltd, this 19,728gt vessel was delivered on October 27, 2010, from the Chengxi shipyard in Jiangyin.
The previous visitor, Maritime Coaction, made a brief visit to the same berth on January 18, 2009, to unload its deck cargo of wind turbine equipment.
But the visit of Maritime Friendship, its last log ship to call, received much publicity when it was detained in port.
The 1984-built vessel arrived on November 18, 2003, to load logs for Inchon.
Upon inspection, it was found that stanchions fitted on either side to support the deck cargo were rotten and had to be replaced. Then, to make matters worse, the No 2 deck crane collapsed before the ship's departure on December 1.
The company, co-founded in Hong Kong in 1949 by Frank Tsao as the Great Southern Shipping Co, was restructured as IMC in 1966. It was based at Hong Kong until 1991, when the headquarters were moved to Singapore.
Although they have not been regular visitors, 13 units of the fleet with their Maritime names have berthed in the lower and upper harbour since April 1972.
Other affiliated members of the IMC group include AuroraTankers and another bulk carrier division, both based at Port Kelang. Selendang is used as the prefix for naming these vessels.
One of these vessels, Selendang Kasa, introduced the Malaysian flag to this harbour when it berthed at Port Chalmers on November 1, 1998 to load logs.
Its sister ship, Selendang Mayang, followed in 1999 with three calls at Ravensbourne.
Both were 18,507gt vessels built by the Hudong yard in Shanghai in 1997.