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Aurora Expeditions: Trapped in the ice for Christmas
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 00:00

The expedition cruise ship Akademik Shokalskiy (pictured), operated by the Australian-based Aurora Expeditions, became trapped during the Christmas period in ice while on a cruise 1,700 nautical miles south of New Zealand. The cruise was intended to recreate the Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-14 led by Sir Douglas Mawson, but ice closed the clear water behind the ship too quickly, preventing the vessel from escaping on Christmas Day. Akademik Shokalskiy had 74 passengers, scientists and crew aboard, but they were not in immediate danger.

The Chinese supply ship Xue Long and the French supply ship L’Astrolabe were despatched to the scene but, although both have ice-breaking capabilities, were unable to reach the stranded Russian ship as the ice thickened, although Xue Long got within seven miles. The Australian ice class survey ship Aurora Australis, owned by P&O Maritime Services, which arrived four days after the ship became trapped, was thought to be the solution, but that ship too was turned back by ice that was too thick, and ice might close her exit route.

 
Ramsey Steamship: Centenary marked
Tuesday, 04 February 2014 00:00

 Ben Maye in Dublin last year. Jehan Ashmore Ben Maye in Dublin last year. Jehan Ashmore

To mark the centenary of the founding of the Ramsey Steamship Co, the company’s small coaster Ben Maye (1979/548grt) was dressed overall for a commemorative charter voyage marking another event that took place in 1913.

The Bideford-built ship docked in Dublin’s Docklands on 5 October 2013 to re-enact the role of the steamer Hare, which undertook a voyage 100 years ago from Liverpool to bring food supplied by the TUC to thousands of striking workers in an event known as the Lockout of 1913.

Hundreds of people lined Sir John Rogersons Quay on the Liffey to witness Ben Maye, and ‘dockers’ unloaded symbolic food parcels to the ‘needy’ on the quayside next to the last of the surviving former warehouses. JA

 

 
Casualty: Towed back to port
Thursday, 30 January 2014 15:06

The coaster Abuk Lion is brought into Cork by the tug Celtic Isle and, towing astern, the Cork tug Alex; the vessel was berthed in Ringaskiddy ro-ro berth, where repairs were undertaken.  Eric BarrelThe coaster Abuk Lion is brought into Cork by the tug Celtic Isle and, towing astern, the Cork tug Alex; the vessel was berthed in Ringaskiddy ro-ro berth, where repairs were undertaken. Eric Barrel

The general cargo vessel Abuk Lion (2008/5,599gt), on a voyage from Aughinish alumina plant on the river Shannon to St Petersburg, suffered engine trouble off the south west coast of Ireland. She departed the Shannon on 26 December 2013 but, after engine failure, began drifting eastwards, so the captain asked for tug assistance at about 1500 on 28 December 2013.

The tug Celtic isle, which is based in Foynes, was in Cork over Christmas and was deployed to tow the stricken freighter. Celtic isle reached the ship at 0300 on 29 December, finding her 30 nautical miles south of the Old Head of Kinsale in gale force eight winds.

At first light a tow was secured to Abuk Lion. LE Roisin arrived on scene, along with the Coastguard helicopter from Shannon, but the 13 crew were safe and well despite battling heavy swells. The tow line parted once, but was reconnected, and Abuk Lion reached Cork about 2000 and was anchored before being brought in.

 
NEW CAR CARRIERS: Next generation for K Line
Thursday, 30 January 2014 15:04

Impression of the new PCTC vessels ordered by K Line.Impression of the new PCTC vessels ordered by K Line.

Japan’s third largest shipping line, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line), has announced that it intends to order an additional four new next-generation pure car and truck carriers. The extra vessels come after another recent order for four vessels placed with Japanese shipbuilders Shin Kurushima Dockyard Co Ltd and Japan Marine United Corporation, with each yard building four vessels, deliveries to start from 2015 through to the first quarter of 2017.

The vessels have a capacity of 7,500 units, which compares to around 6,200 on their largest vessels to date. The new vessels also boast a wider beam of 37-38m compared to the 32.2m of the Line’s current vessels. In a statement, the company said: ‘By adding this series of eight new ships with better stability and better fuel efficiency, we can handle an even wider cargo mix.’ AM

 

 
Paddle steamer: The rebirth of Neuchâtel
Tuesday, 14 January 2014 00:00

The paddler Neuchâtel following restoration work that involved the reconstruction of the original superstructure and interiors. Marc-Antoine BombailThe paddler Neuchâtel following restoration work that involved the reconstruction of the original superstructure and interiors. Marc-Antoine Bombail

Following several years undergoing an extensive restoration programme, the historic paddler Neuchâtel proudly entered her namesake port on 27 November 2013 under her own power for the first time in 45 years, ready to start her inaugural season this spring.

Built by Escher-Wyss, Neuchâtel was launched on 9 May 1912. She is the last half-saloon river-type steam boat in Switzerland. She measures 48.5m by 11m, and her passenger capacity was 550 as built. She was originally powered by a two-cylinder 350hp compound steam engine, but in 1954 was converted to oil-burning instead of coal.

The renovation of Neuchâtel started in 2010, and, at a cost of about €8.3 million, raised through a variety of sources, she had a complete hull overhaul, with many of the hull plates being replaced. A new engine was also fitted, and the project came to a successful conclusion during 2013. MAB

 

 
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