Newcomer unloads three containers

It must go on record as being the smallest number of containers handled at Port Chalmers.

Only three containers were unloaded from BBC Volga during the vessel's brief visit to the Beach St berth last Saturday.

This newcomer is on a voyage from Matarani, Peru, to Port Kembla.

The last vessel I recall coming here direct from Matarani was Shaw, Savill's 7791gt Amalric, which went straight into dry-dock upon arrival on February 15, 1969.

It was then employed on a service from New Zealand to the West Indies and South American ports.

BBC Volga is one of about 150 owned or chartered vessels operated within the Briese shipping group of Leer, Germany, by BBC Chartering.

The company was founded in December 1983 by captain and naval architect Roelf Briese.

The enterprise operated in coastal waters until 1991, when it branched out into worldwide trading. Then, in 1997, Briese Chartering and Logistics was set up, followed by Brieses Chartering four years later.

Since then, the group has become the leading specialist in transporting heavy-lift and project cargoes, as well as offering liner services.

BBC Volga (build name Ocean Breeze) is a 12,936gt, 17,303dwt.

143.13m-long vessel that entered service on October 28, 2009. It is one of nine sister ships delivered to Briese in 2006-09.

Described as multipurpose, 'tweendeck vessels with three hatches, these 15-knot ships have a container capacity of 958teu, including 64 reefer plugs on deck.

But the dominant feature of the class is the three cranes mounted on the port side.

Each has a capacity of 80 tonnes or, when working in tandem, a combined lift of 160 tonnes.

And while most of the class is registered under the flag of Antigua and Barbuda, and another flies the German flag, BBC Volga is registered at Gibraltar.

The Briese group is a regular customer of Chinese yards.

BBC Volga and its sisters were built by Xingang Shipbuilding Heavy Industries at Tianjin, situated at the mouth of the Haihe River.

This yard has built ships for the BBC fleet since 1998.

One of seven yards that make up the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, founded in 1999, the yard itself dates back to 1940, when it was established by the Japanese during their occupation of China.

On charter to the company for six years up to last September, BBC Brazil is the only other unit of the fleet to have called here.

This 7576gt vessel arrived at Dunedin from Nakskov on January 24, 2011, to discharge wind turbine components.

Last year, BBC took over the operation of some vessels formerly employed by Beluga Shipping GmbH.

Founded at Bremen in December 1995, its core business followed similar lines to that of BBC Chartering.

Early in 2010, Beluga revealed plans for a large increase in the size of the fleet by the end of that year.

But things did not work out as planned, and Beluga went out of business after being declared insolvent in March 2011.

The only unit of the fleet to call here was the 9611gt, 2006-built Beluga Evaluation.

It berthed at Dunedin on February 18, 2010, to load cargo from the Ravensdown fertiliser works for Australia.

Now named BBC Hawaii, it joined the Briese group, on charter, last October.


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