Size restricts vessels' employment

Following its recent sale to Asian buyers, Knock Nevis, mentioned last week, could find further employment in the Singapore area, as a storage vessel, or may even go to the Indian subcontinent for demolition.

To recap, the vessel has been the biggest in the world since it was lengthened in 1980, four years after being completed. But while it is the largest vessel in existence with a deadweight of 564,764 tonnes, it only ranks in fifth place in terms of gross tonnage (gt).

After being remeasured about 13 years ago the original figure of 238,558gt shot up to 260,941gt.

This still places it well behind the gross tonnages of four French-flag, Batillus class ULCC's (ultra large crude carriers) delivered from 1976-79 by the Chantiers de l'Atlantique at St Nazaire.

However, unlike long-serving Knock Nevis, three of them had been broken up within 10 years of entering service.

Two were built for Societe Maritime Shell and the other pair for the Compagnie Nationale de Navigation.

All had an overall length of 414.23m, a breadth of 63.9m and a loaded draught of 28.603m.

Comparable figures for Knock Nevis are 458.45m, 68.86m and 24.612m.

Twin-screw steam turbine machinery gave the quartet a service speed of 16 knots.

Batillus and Bellamya delivered in 1976 were followed by Pierre Guillaumat in 1977 and Priarial two years later.

In 1980 the Shell pair were both recorded as 275,267gt, 553,662dwt vessels.

Of the other two, both of 274,838gt, the 1977-built ship was of 555,051dwt, while Prairial was a 554,971dwt vessel.

Their size also placed restrictions on where they could be employed, and this must have led to their early demise as all were laid up in 1983.

First to go was Pierre Guillaumat, which had been idle since arriving in the Fujairah anchorage on February 2, 1983.

Bought by the Hyundai Corporation, and renamed Ulsan Master, it arrived at Ulsan for demolition on October 19, 1983.

The active service of the Shell pair ended when Batillus was laid-up at Vestnes on August 22, 1983, to be joined there by Bellamya on January 26, 1984. The former arrived at Kaohsiung on December 22, 1985, and the latter at Ulsan on January 6, both for demolition.

Prairial, on the other hand, was to outlive its three unsuccessful sisters.

Although it also became idle after arriving at Vestnes on April 5, 1983, it was sold for further service in 1985 as the Panama-flag Sea Brilliance.

A year later it hoisted the Greek flag as Hellas Fos.

For a period from February 3, 1991, it was used as a storage vessel at Piraeus before undertaking a similar role at the Fujairah anchorage from September 19, 1995.

In its final years it carried the name Sea Giant from 1997, firstly on the Liberian register then under the flag of the Bahamas. And to break the monotony of being used for storage in the Persian Gulf, it also made some ocean voyages.

Its final voyage ended when it arrived at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, in September 2003 to be broken up.

As Hellas Fos it was part of the fleet operated by the Bilinder Marine Corporation of Piraeus. The name was perpetuated when a much smaller 27,645gt, 46,188dwt was delivered to Bilinder by the Hyundai yard at Ulsan.

This tanker berthed at Dunedin on its only visit on January 22, 2003, and two years later was sold out of the fleet.

Recent newcomers were the Kawasaki-operated, 39,895gt woodchip carrier Forest Harmony.

This Tsuneishi-built vessel has only been in service since March 2007.

And carrying Inui marking the 16,761gt log ship Queen Asia, completed at Imabari in January 1996, previously traded under the names Ansac Ace and Ansac Asia.

Both are registered at Panama.

Kuniang, which worked cargo both at Ravensbourne and Dunedin, is the youngest of four units of the Hong-Kong-based Fenwich Shipping that have now called here.

This smaller-type 14,912gt bulker, built in China by the Zhejiang Hongxin yard, has only been in service since August 2008.


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