MSC provides a rich variety of tonnage

It is just over three years since the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) made its debut here on March 7, 2006.

Since then, Port Chalmers has hosted 222 visits by 29 vessels employed in its transtasman or Europe Capricorn services.

These owned or chartered vessels represent a very mixed and interesting assortment of tonnage built from 1971 to 2003.

Largest of these, the 51,608gt, 269m long, 2750TEU motor ship MSC Insa, built in Japan in 1972 and seen here in February, 2008, is the only triple screw container ship to have called here.

Another of interest that made ten calls last year was the 1981-built MSC Clorinda, the only Brazilian-built cellular ship to have berthed here.

Also of interest were MSC Alpana and MSC Jessica.

The former dating from 1978, and here on six visits in 2007-08, had appeared here as Oregon Star, on a November, 1998, only visit.

And MSC Jessica's three visits in 2006 brought back memories of four 1998 calls in Hamburg-Sud's Columbus Line service as Columbus Olivos.

Built in 1980 as Shaw Savill's Dunedin, the vessel never came here under that name. Later this week, the chartered MSC Palermo makes its first local appearance.

Two of its sister ships, the company-owned MSC America and the chartered MSC Basel have already called in the last four months.

They are all 34,231gt. 216.19m long vessels having a container capacity of 2680TEU and a service speed of 19 knots.

But in comparison to the latest new ship to join the fleet, MSC Beatrice, all the ships that have called here are only "small fry".

MSC Beatrice is currently on its maiden voyage in Mediterranean Shipping's Silk Express, Asia-Europe service.

It berthed at Felixstowe last Monday and returned there last Friday.

But in between these calls the ship visited Antwerp where it was to undertake about 9500 moves. The ship is reported as having the largest declared capacity of any container ship in service, a total of 14,028 TEU, including 1000 reefer boxes.

Manned by a crew of 30 the 151,599gt has a deadweight capacity of 156,301 tonnes.

Overall length is 366.1m, the beam 56m and the loaded draught 15m.

Registered at Panama to the ownership of Beatrice Naviera SA, the ship is powered by a 12-cylinder, 72,240kW MAN B&W diesel and has a service speed of 25.2 knots.

Delivered early last month MSC Beatrice is the second of eight MSC Daniela class vessels ordered from the Koje yard of the Samsung Heavy Industries Company Ltd.

Now back to MSC Palermo. Among the last ships to be built at Bremen by Bremer Vulkan, it was laid down on March 25, 1991, launched on October 12, 1991, and completed in February 1992.

The ship entered service as DSR Baltic with the Deutsche Seereederei fleet of Rostock.

Since 1996, the ship has been trading under the Liberian flag following its purchase by the Reederie F, Laiesz interests.

Renamed Palermo Senator under the ownership of their Sadir Navigation Company, it received its present name, Palermo, in 2003 when Laiesz transferred ownership to GmbH and Co.

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