Thursday, 28 June 2012
Th tug 'Perseverance' is standing by the trio as they swing around Ore Fabrica's anchor.
Berge Aconcagua must have part discharged in Japan (Oita) and over-carried at least a Cape's worth for this trans-shipment.
In response to a comment on yesterday's post about Vale's charm offensive in China, here's the letter to Lloyd's List.
|388,000 DWT 'Berge Aconcagua', Oita Japan|
Lloyd's List: Valemax issues clouded by misinformation
Monday 25 June 2012, 10:28
From João Mendes Faria
SIR, I refer to your article “Vale urges China to lift valemax ban” (Lloyd’s List, June 21) and would like to make the following clarifications.
First, Vale has never challenged the Chinese government ban on valemaxes berthing at its ports. We have observed that there has been a great deal of misinformation and speculation in both Chinese and international media. We have recently made efforts to provide factual information to interested parties and different government departments to address the mistaken information and claims widely circulated.
Second, the iron ore carried to Asia via valemax can be transhipped to Chinese or other Asian ports via our transhipment stations. A second floating transhipment station in Asia in early 2013 will double the transhipment capacity from the existing FTS in the Philippines up to 30m tons per year. At the end of 2013 our Malaysian transhipment centre brings the total annual transhipment capacity to 60m tons. Besides those locations the valemax fleet of 35 vessels can regular berth in Rotterdam, Taranto, Sohar in Oman and Oita in Japan. The whole fleet of 35 valemaxes, when ready by the end of 2013, will be able to transport around 55m tons per year.
Third, it is true that we have been in discussions with some Chinese shipowners for each to buy some of the 19 valemaxes which are currently to be owned by Vale. Due to mutual confidentially, we have never named any of the companies we have been in discussions with. It is also true that these discussions have slowed since the issuance of the Ministry of Transport Circular 13 in January. This is completely understandable. Chinese shipowners hope to understand the implications of the barring of the vessels, as we do.
Fourth, Vale and Cosco have had a long-term co-operative relationship for years and Cosco-operated vessels have regularly been carrying cargoes from our Brazilian ports. In the past we proposed to Cosco that they build and operate valemax vessels under long-term charter with Vale. Cosco chose not to, for their own reasons. We fully respect their decision.
Fifth, Vale is not in a hurry for the Chinese government to reopen access to its ports for the valemax ships. We understand that much misinformation must still be clarified.
Although we are not in a rush for Chinese berthing restrictions on valemax to be lifted, we do hope that it can be sooner rather than later. This is simply because the valemax can bring benefits to different Chinese players. Steel mills and iron ore traders will benefit by a more competitive iron ore market. Iron ore ports can double their throughput. This does not even mention the environmental benefits of 35% CO2 reduction per ton of iron ore compared to capesize.
Valemaxes are part of a long-term strategy to enhance market competitiveness in Asia and will be chartered for 25 years.
We are patiently engaging different Chinese stakeholders and agencies and have a high level of confidence that the eventual decisions that will be made will consider all aspects around the issues and the overall benefits to China and Chinese markets.
João Mendes Faria
Global Business Development Director
Wednesday, 27 June 2012
|Dance of the giants, Subic Bay AIS|
Tuesday, 26 June 2012
These two days in the Arafura Sea have been as non-descript as I remember the place to be. Other than the occasional fine period, and meeting a containership or two, it is dull and gray. Certainly nothing to get excited about nor even much to write about. Although the temperature has dropped a few degrees and the humidity with it, I can see people starting to deteriorate both physically and psychologically because of the lack of air conditioning.
I had to relieve the 2nd Mate on the bridge today, as he was so weak with exhaustion and lack of sleep that he was shaking and looked like he was about to collapse. I sat him down with a damp towel draped around him and almost had to force him to drink 750 mls of mineral water, followed by a bottle of ginger beer. He came right in less than an hour, so it was all that he needed.
|Amokura, or Bosun Bird|
We had a visitor on board today for an hour or so, a very tired Red tailed Tropic bird or Amokura. It is the very first one I have ever seen in all my 35 years at sea, distinctive because of its red beak and 2 long red tail feathers. I knew what it was, as I had sailed on a tanker called ‘Amokura’ [AM - the tanker on the header of the 'Antipodean Mariner' blog] as an apprentice in 1979 and there was a painting of the namesake bird in the officers lounge. Despite its magnificence it looked rather disheveled as it rested and regained its strength, before crapping on the chief mates new paint work on the focsle, then flying off. And people wonder why I call them shite hawks. They always leave their calling card.
I repaired the 2nd fishing lure today and ran it over the stern in a positive frame of mind. To no avail, the fish basket is still empty. Ces’t la vie. I rebooted the faulty DP screen again today and it worked fine. Will leave it on for the remainder of the voyage to monitor it. I received an email today from IMcL on the sister ship GO Capella. Apparently the air conditioning has packed up there as well. That says something for the quality of the air conditioning systems that were installed on board doesn’t it.. We should make landfall off East Timor about 16:00 tomorrow (Sunday 24th), which will break up the monotony of this leg of the passage.
Thereafter it is a coastal passage, with some good scenery and several significant volcanoes. Hopefully we will pass those in daylight as well, but I have not yet checked that. Signing off from the Arafura Sea
It was still dark when I went out on deck soon after 06:00 to set our fishing lures over the side. Venus and Jupiter were both shining brightly low in the Eastern sky, as the dawn brightened the horizon. In spite of the air conditioning failure, I seem to be sleeping OK, or maybe it is just survival instinct cutting in.
Whichever the answer, I am faring better than most on board. In fact, the only ones faring better than me are the weevils in the galley store, which appeared out of nowhere 2 days ago. The warm humid conditions must have been perfect to hatch long dormant eggs, as there had been no sign of weevils all of the time the ship had been in New Zealand. The cook was pretty switched on about it and separated the different dry stores before throwing out the infested products, which was mainly flour and other dry ingredients. A good spray out, followed by a thorough cleaning of the store and a mop out with disinfectant should have it in hand. Least wise for the remaining few days until we get off. I don’t think there will be too many muesli eaters on board as weevils seem to like muesli type products. Best to stick to sausages and eggs for breakfast. That way, if you get a weevil it has been well cooked beforehand, rather than still swimming in the milk of the cereal bowl.
Most on board, including myself, have taken to eating our meals out on deck, to escape the heat of the mess room, which is directly adjacent to the galley. Although there is full sun outside, at least there is a decent cooling breeze cascading across the deck. All very pleasant really and a world away from the “summer” weather I experienced in Aberdeen this time last year. We made landfall off the Eastern tip of East Timor at 16:00 as anticipated, although we had some of the smaller outlying islands to the north, on the radar for most of the day.
Although it is a quite steep and majestic looking piece of land, the details are lost in the omnipresent haze of the atmosphere. We take for granted in New Zealand, the clarity of the air which allows us to see twenty miles from Trevor’s airstrip to the Opua inlet. Not so up here however, as charcoal cooking fires smoulder 24 hours a day, reducing visibility considerably and dulling the clarity of that which can be seen. It does however make for the most magnificent display of deep orange sunrises and sunsets.
There was a little bit more shipping traffic apparent today, mainly containerships, as Wetar Strait, through which we are passing, is one of the common east / west shipping routes between Australia and Asia. At over 3000 metres, it is very deep water here, considering how close we are to land. We are also encountering over a knot of current on the nose at the moment, probably from the equatorial counter current. However, we remain on schedule to arrive off Benoa on Wednesday morning.
The results of our attempt at fishing remain the same. Still nothing to show for our efforts! I don’t anticipate catching anything off the Indonesian, as this area is extremely heavily fished by the locals. I have started my handover notes and have been preparing a dry dock list of jobs to do and equipment that needs repairing. We have been told that the Canopus may soon have a tow job to undertake from Benoa to Fremantle, then will be returning to Singapore for a dry docking after that, possibly in August. The three month window to complete all of our statutory surveys will end in September, so the docking should not be postponed beyond then.
I have also used these past few days to complete the format of my diary and to wade through some of the more than 10,000 photographs, totaling 18 Gb, that I have taken since October last year when I started this project. I have selected the best 500+ which best illustrate the time line of my log, then will burn both the photos and diary to a disc to save. A select few to receive it, tucked into a sleeve of a collector’s edition of “Black Tide”. There is over 900 Mb of data selected, so I will have to slightly drop the resolution of some of the photos, to ensure that they all fit on one disc. I will also have to start thinking about packing and cleaning my cabin soon, as the last few days will disappear very quickly, with all of the last minute things that need to be done. Signing off from North of East Timor
25th – caught a fish!
|Mahimahi form the GO Canopus' lure|
|Genco Loire outbound from Beira.|
Photo courtesy of Ricky P.
Sunday, 24 June 2012
During this test, the standby generator kicked in when a main compressor started, lighting up the alarm panel and calling into question the design of the power management system.
No ship is ever perfect, and the objective is to ensure the list of defects is as small as is operationally conscionable for the operating crew. PN65 sets the standard for the following sister-ships.
Delivery is now scheduled for 2nd July, over a month past the contract date - not an auspicious start. First cargo will be iron ore for China, after a quick stop in Singapore to bunker. The AM is planning to join her in Australia for the first loading and see how she and the crew performs. Sea trial data has proven speed, deadweight and the performance of the main engine. With the valve and fuel pumps on the engine hydraulically actuated, there is no rhythmic clatter of camshafts. The engine and turbocharger just roar.
Now that the AM has learned how to insert clips, a short sequence as PN65 returns to the Yard in June after trials.
Friday, 22 June 2012
|Nantuna and Lerwick Eagle|
|Booby Island, Torres Strait|
Booby Island was the last Island in the group that we passed and I snapped a shot of it as we passed close by. It will be the last bit of land we see for several days as we head across the top of the Gulf of Carpentaria, through the Arafura sea to the North eastern tip of East Timor. The seaman who had been pooped on the previous day became quite ill last night and I had to consider the possibility of a medivac for him as we passed Thursday Island. It was not needed however, as he had just become dehydrated and came right overnight with water and electrolytes. Everyone is now upping the water intake to avoid the same fate.
People are now getting a bit cranky and tired after being 4 days and nights without air conditioning. By keeping some doors and port holes open and others closed, we have managed to get a cooling draft flowing through the accommodation. It cools somewhat, but comes a very poor second to air conditioning. Enjoying a beer in the cool comfort of an air conditioned hotel room in Bali is sounding very attractive right now.
The fishing has not improved at all, in spite of us passing some schools of shoaling fish soon after exiting the reef passage. Most disappointing. We met several ships over the afternoon, two containerships and one bulk carrier. Nothing overly impressive. They probably thought the same about us. We slowed down briefly to allow the engineers to clean the lenses in the oil mist detectors in each engine. They detect any signs of vaporized oil within the crank case of the engine, a precursor to a crank case explosion. Very important that they are clean and work properly.
I refitted the repaired DP console screen this afternoon, with the help of the 2nd mate. It worked for an hour or so, but then reverted to the same rainbow screen fault that had necessitated its replacement many months ago. Not too much more need be said about that is there. We continue to make a voyage average speed of 11.3 knots, however this evening I received instructions from the Perth office to increase speed to arrive at the pilot station at 07:00 27th June. I nudged the pitch up to 80%, which will increase our speed to the necessary 11.7 knots, increasing our fuel consumption commensurately.
Signing off ninety miles West of Booby Island
Thursday, 21 June 2012
Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Saturday, 16 June 2012
Friday, 15 June 2012
The model maker has sent photos of the completed models ready for shipment to the corporate offices in Melbourne, London, Singapore and Montreal.
Faithful to the design, they are a work of art.
Tuesday, 12 June 2012
|No more boxes|
|Longitudinal girders gone|
With the salvage ended this is probably the last post until the TAIC report is released. It's been an interesting ride, with big thanks to a my mates who 'flipped the bird' to MNZ's media relations team and the draconian 'non disclosure'. Everyone's a reporter now...
The closing post wouldn't be complete without a plug for 'Black Tide' by John Julian. The book explores the 'what could have been' with expert opinion from salvors and mariners who incidentally weren't part of the good news spin cycle. A good read with no agenda and plenty of informed dialogue.
Monday, 11 June 2012
|Steaming out past Grande Island|
The Anchoring trial went OK but the Blackout test, when the Emergency Generator has to start and carry the essential safety and navigation load, was a Fail. The offending component was cannibalized from her sister-ship PN66 and brought out on a tug on Saturday morning. With several critical items still a 'Fail', the majority of the Filipino workers were disembarked on to a tug back to Subic and spares and more food were loaded for another day at sea.
|A tropical squall came in over the ship as we were doing the Anchoring Test. Nice cloud formation|
|Approaching the Yard, with sisters PN67, 68, 69 and 70 in Dock 6 (left)|
|Back alongside, the run for the gangway|
|AM and Ms AM, Subic Bay|
Sunday, 10 June 2012
When the Antipodean Mariner returned to Subic yesterday, a familiar sight was missing from the lineup of ships in the bay.
Vale's Ore Fabrica has moved from anchor to alongside Keppel's ship repair facility. The Pilot advised that she has gone into the Yard for 'modifications'. The cranes on 'Fabrica are controlled by a single computer system which according to sources mean all the cranes stop if an individual crane has a fault.
So far, 7 weeks since Ore Fabrica moved a tonne of ore...
Saturday, 9 June 2012
Good and bad news. Good news is that nothing has broken and the ship's systems are working normally. Bad news is that the monsoon weather has not played ball and we've lost about half a day grinding up and down the coast of western Luzon. The speed trials are supposed to take place in near-calm conditions, not a 20 knot Southerly, and the Yard seems to have stretched out the runs into the evening when the winds ease.
Upshot for the Owner's team is all day waiting for the speed runs to be called and now an all-nighter to finish them and the manouevring tests. After the speed runs, we turn the vessel to port and starboard on full rudder, zig zag and finally crash stop (Full Ahead to Full Astern) at 14.75 knots. Better done in daylight but we have to try and pick up time on the programme.
Once the high drama is over, the pace returns to the more sedate pace of checking that the automation will run the Main Engine and services for 4 hours with no alarms.
Yesterday, the AM had to board a very ropey old tug to read the draft and verify RTM Cook's displacement. Hairy moments jumping off the Pilot Ladder as the tug rose and fell in the monsoon chop. At a sea trial displacement of 109,526 tonnes of ship, ballast, fuel stores and crew RTM Cook is ready to enter her
Friday 8th June 01:50LT
AM is waiting in the Officers' Mess for the 02:30 call and the second leg of the full power speed run. The vessel is running with 15 knots of wind astern and has picked up her skirts to 16.2 knots. However, the work programme is in tatters just 6 hours after having been revised by the Yard's Trial Director. We should have been into the manouevring tests by now but the performance is not meeting expectations and another 90% power run is being discussed. As she is not our ship yet, we cannot decline...
Despite everything, it's a beautiful moonlit night off Manila, Bataan and Subic. Lots if ships and fishing boats to negotiate while maintaining minimum course changes which impact on speed. Had another ship call up and grumble for passing him at 4 cables.
Photos of draft check for sea trials displacement, NACOS ECDIS electronic chart and radar, turning for the next speed run. More to post when AM is back in InternetLand.
|Draft check to verify her displacement for sea trials|
|Turning to port at 15 knots for the next speed run|
|NACOS Platinum Radar and ECDIS Electronic Chart display|
Wednesday, 6 June 2012
We are at anchor ballasting No.6 Hold to achieve heavy sea draft condition. The main engine looked OK at inspection after the short run out to Grande Island. We will start progressively building up revolutions this afternoon for the official speed trial tomorrow morning.
|No.5 cylinder cross-head and bottom end bearing|
What a difference two weeks makes with the decks and hatches painted. The ship looks much cleaner and less like 'work in progress'.
|Full berths at the Yard - 4 Capesize bulk carriers, 2 Suezmax tankers|
AM - at sea
Saturday, 2 June 2012
|Unveiling of her name|
|Ice sculpture of RTM Cook|
Friday, 1 June 2012
|Taharoa Express- final departure|
Taharoa Express, having spent a decade and a bit carrying iron sands loaded at the Taharoa Single Point Mooring Buoy, has finally been retired and loaded her last cargo on 8th May 2012. Originally built as a Capesize, she was converted for the NZ-Japan slurry trade in 1999. After this discharge, she will be scrapped in China.
Taharoa Destiny, her replacement, is purpose-built and has loaded her first cargo for discharge at Port Kembla. She'll then will come back to Taharoa for a full iron sand cargo for Japan.
|Taharoa Destiny departing for Port Kembla|