Two ships making a maiden appearance

Last year's shipping movements contained 93 vessel names that appeared here for the first time. And this year has started off with two vessels making their maiden visits, container ship Lobivia last Wednesday and bulk carrier Great Ocean on Saturday.

And while Lobivia was the first visitor to the harbour for 2013, the bulk carrier was this year's first visitor to the upper harbour. After discharging bulk cargo at Ravensbourne, the vessel is now at Port Chalmers loading the first shipment of export logs for the year.

Great Ocean is a 22,358gt, 35,153dwt vessel designed to operate at a service speed of 13.7 knots. Classed with the Korean Register, it is registered at Panama under the ownership of the Nobile Line S.A., and is managed by Doriko Ltd, both of Seoul.

The ship has been in service for little more than a year. It was launched on April 22, 2011, and completed that year on November 30.

The vessel was built at Nanjing by the Nanjing Dongze Shipyard Company, which was established early in 2005. The only other product of this yard to call here was the smaller 20,767gt Panama-flagged Pacific Legend, completed on July 23, 2010. This vessel berthed at Dunedin last year on April 22, to load scrap metal. Owned by the Rubato Line S.A., it was also managed by Doriko Ltd.

On August 18, 2011, French liner operator CMA CGM introduced its Anzexs service in which OOCL later became a partner. Like Hansa Meersburg, the first ship to call, most of the others employed in the service for varying periods of charter have been similar 1740TEU units, built from 2007 to last year by the Guangzhou Wenchong shipyard.

Larger-capacity vessels are being introduced to the service, with the 2078TEU Lobivia being followed next week by the 2072TEU Westerems. Both are German-owned vessels operating under the Liberian flag, and in keeping with common German practice are owned by single-ship companies that include the vessels' names.

The pair are geared vessels fitted with three 45-tonne capacity cranes and have a service speed of 21.5 knots. They represent two different classes built in Poland by the Stocznia Gdynia shipyard. Lobivia was delivered on March 30, 2001, as the third of the B8229 design. An older vessel, Westerems was completed on April 15, 1997, as the third of the B8143 type.

The 23,652gt Lobivia is a member of the fleet controlled by Hermann Dauselberg of Bremen. It has also been chartered out as Cala Pintado and Fathukhair.

Westerems (23,896gt) hails from the fleet of Hans Petersen & Soenhe of Rendsburg. Besides operating on three occasions under this name, the ship has also been known as Maersk Cordoba, Maersk Novazzano, ANL Addax, P&O Nedlloyd Horizon and Lykes Voyager.

The two classes had earlier local links in 2006-08 with vessels employed in the Hapag-Lloyd Suez loop service. Lobivia, Canberra Express and Wellington Express are sister ships, and Westerems is of the same type as Adelaide Express.

So what is in store for this year? Looking back, 2012 turned out to be an interesting one with 38 container ships entering this harbour for the first time.

Apart from container operations at Port Chalmers there was plenty of activity there and at Dunedin's Leith wharf with export log shipments. While Dunedin's share was 15 shipments loaded by 14 vessels, Beach St handled 40 loadings from 36 vessels, of which 11 had part-loaded at Dunedin.

Cruise ship seasons always attract considerable interest. It was unfortunate that when it arrived on February 23, the newest unit of the Cunard fleet was met with atrocious wet weather conditions. However, the name Cunard is always a massive drawcard and spectators did turn out to see the ship despite the weather.

Over the years, bigger cruise ships have been calling here to create new port records.

When Voyager of the Seas arrived on November 17, it became our largest visitor at 137,276gt. And on December 15, the smaller 121,878gt Celebrity Solstice with an overall length of 317.19m became our longest visitor.

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