Friday, 13 October 2017 10:58

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Having been named in May this year and put to work in September, the LNG bunker supply vessel Coralius is making a name for herself as the first of her type to be built in Europe and specifically designed for the conditions of the Baltic and North Seas. As such she is built to 1A ice-class and is fitted with state of the art LNG-transfer and mooring equipment. She also has a noticeably flat working deck to support ship-to-ship transfers.

Built by Royal Bodewes Shipyard, Eemshaven, The Netherlands
Owned and operated by Anthony Veder and Sirius Shipping
Chartered by Skangas, Norway
Delivered in July 2017
LOA 99.6m
Beam 18.0m
GRT 5,600 tons
Capacity 5,800 cbm of LNG
Service speed 13 knots

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The first ship to ship transfer by Coralius (picture above left) recently took place in international waters in the Northern Kattegat between Frederikshavn, Denmark, and Gothenburg, Sweden. The receiving vessel was the LOA 144m oil and chemical tanker Fure West. In 2015, its managers, Furetank Rederi, retroffited her from conventional heavy oil bunkers to LNG on account of her dedicated trading pattern in the Emissions Control Area (ECA) of the Baltic Sea and Kattegat. Coralius was built as part of a Pilot LNG umbrella project co-funded by the EU under Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) whose aim is to develop a pan-EU LNG bunkering infrastructure.

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Coralius also recently bunkered her first vessel while alongside (picture above) when, on behalf of Skangas, LNG was supplied to the tanker Ternsund in the Port of Gothenburg. By way of context, in 2016 Skangas was involved in 4,300 LNG truck loading operations and over 600 vessel bunkering operations, numbers which are rapidly multiplying year on year.

As a pioneer in offering small to midscale LNG shipping and bunkering solutions, Anthony Veder is well known for development of innovative concepts to corner emerging markets. Coralius is therefore seen as a vessel combining the best of two worlds, namely direct service to terminals, particularly in remote ports, and to provide LNG bunkers direct to a vessel. Given her bow and stern thrusters, hose handling cranes and re-liquefaction plant, Coralius has all the maneuverability required of a vessel designed for such ship-to ship transfers.

Ship of the Week contributed by Capt. Stephen Brown, West Pacific Marine Ltd

Friday, 06 October 2017 10:35

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Islands across the Caribbean are continuing to struggle following the unprecedented levels of damage wreaked by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and most recently Maria which entirely devastated the infrastructure of the US territory of Puerto Rico. Much has been made of the slow Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) speed of response to the situation in Puerto Rico by comparison to the response to Hurricanes Harvey across Texas and Irma across Florida but the pace is now picking up. Even so, the majority of the island’s 3.4 million people are without power, communications, gas or drinking water and is likely to remain so for quite some time.

Against this background, many are desperate to leave but with limited flights and no suitable US flag vessel capability capable of moving thousands of people, it has fallen to the goodwill of foreign flagged cruise lines to make capacity available. One such vessel is Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s (RCL) Adventure of the Seas which last week undertook a humanitarian mission to evacuate almost 4,000 people from Puerto Rico. The lead picture above shows the line-up  to evacuate in San Juan, the major port and capital city of Puerto Rico. Evacuees were not charged for their passage and food and entertainment were provided free – the exception being alcohol which was sold at a discount.

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Adventure of the Seas also made humanitarian calls in the US Virgin Islands to drop off urgently needed supplies before heading to Fort Lauderdale where she arrived on October 3. In addition, RCL has made it’s travel network available to coordinate onward travel with airlines since as US citizens, Puerto Ricans can readily relocate to the US mainland. As a consequence of this freedom to travel the population of Puerto Rico dropped by more than 8% in the last seven years, the largest percentage drop of any US state or territory with nearly one-third of those born in Puerto Rico now living on the US mainland. This was, at least in part, why Puerto Rico filed for the biggest bankruptcy in US municipal history earlier this year with a $72 billion debt burden and near-insolvent public health and pension systems.

The Carnival Group, too, has utilized 11 ships to deliver much needed supplies during regular cruises while Norwegian Cruise Line is working with the group “All Hands Volunteers” to rebuild schools and infrastructure. It is also donating $600,000 to rebuilding efforts and will match up to $1.25 million in donations to “All Hands Volunteers” and “Happy Heart Fund” relief efforts.

The response to the devastation across the Caribbean has served to further light a fire under the Merchant Marine Act in 1920 (Jones Act) debate. Congress passed the Jones Act in 1920 after World War I amidst concern that the U.S. shipping industry was too weak to survive following the loss of hundreds of ships. However, to this day, vested interests have managed to hang on to the protection from competition that the Act provides to the U.S. Merchant Marine. Puerto Rican and Hawaiian officials have long campaigned against the law on the grounds that it makes their food and other imports far more expensive than on the mainland. Each year for the past ten years, Senator John McCain has introduced a bill to repeal the Act but to no avail.

Ship of the Week contributed by Capt. Stephen Brown, West Pacific Marine Ltd

Thursday, 28 September 2017 16:30

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Here in Vancouver to load coal at Westshore Terminals, Roberts Bank, this week was the post-Panama bulk carrier W-Sky, managed by W Marine Inc based in Athens.

Built by Catic Shipbuilding, Taizhou, Jiangsu, PRC
Owned and managed by W Marine, Athens
Delivered in 2011
LOA 229.2m
Beam 38.0m
GRT 51,239 tons
DWT 92,929 MT
Main engine : MAN-B&W 6S60MC-C, BHP 18.436, Kw 13.560,
Service Speed : 14 knots

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Established in 2003, W Marine Inc. manages a fleet of six bulk carriers in the Panamax, Kamsarmax and Post-Panamax sectors. By way of interest, the evolution of the “Kamsarmax" with a deadweight of around 82,000 MT and LOA 229m is on account of being the largest size of vessel that can be accommodated at the world’s largest bauxite port, namely Port Kamsar in Equatorial Guinea.

Export coal volumes through the Port of Vancouver (Westshore and Neptune Terminals) staged something of a recovery in the first half of 2017 with a 7% increase over the same period of 2016. Metallurgical coal volumes were slightly down at 12.3 million tonnes but still representing the fifth consecutive year of metallurgical coal export volumes reaching more than 12 million tonnes at the mid-year point. On the other hand, thermal coal volumes were up by 43% over the same period of 2016 due to a partial recovery in demand but volumes were still down by 18% when compared with the previous record. While still a very long way from the record volumes of 2012, year to date export coal through Prince Rupert’s Ridley Terminals International have more than doubled over those of 2016 with 4.7 million tonnes having been shipped including over a million tonnes of petroleum coke.

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Australia is the world’s largest coal exporter employing 58,000 people and accounting for 35% of all global coal exports. However, despite being the world’s largest exporter, coal is still only Australia’s second largest export, after iron ore.

Ship of the Week contributed by Capt. Stephen Brown, West Pacific Marine Ltd.

Friday, 22 September 2017 11:40

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The Teekay owned tanker Scott Spirit is a prime example of a modern shuttle tanker designed to load from offshore installations as an alternative to building undersea pipelines to connect offshore oil fields to storage and refinery capacity. Being designed to work in such challenging environments as the North Sea, Brazil or off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, shuttle tankers are arguably among the hardest working vessels in the tanker sector.

Built by Samsung Shipbuilding & Heavy Industries, Geoje, South Korea
Delivered in 2011
Owned and operated by Teekay Shipping, Stavanger, Norway
LOA 248m
Beam 42m
GRT 66,563 tons
DWT 109,334 MT
Registry Bahamas

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Teekay Offshore Partners, is a major player in this intensively competitive business and in June 2015 the company announced the signing of a 15 year shuttle contract with Canada Hibernia Holding Corporation (CHHS), Chevron Canada, ExxonMobil Canada, Husky Energy, Mosbacher Operating Ltd, Murphy Oil, Nalcor Energy, Statoil, and Suncor Energy. Teekay Offshore is to provide shuttle tankers for loading crude oil at Hibernia, Terra Nova, White Rose and Hebron oil fields located off Newfoundland. These 15-year contracts, plus extension options, is initially being serviced by one of Teekay Offshore’s existing shuttle tankers, the Navion Hispania, and two to three third party-owned shuttle tankers currently operating in East Coast Canada. Teekay Offshore also committed to enter newbuild contracts to construct three Suezmax-size, DP2 shuttle tankers for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2017 through the first half of 2018 with an option for one more should it become necessary.

These new long-term Canadian flag shuttle tanker contracts mark Teekay Offshore’s expansion into Eastern Canada’s growing offshore oil production market and have resulted in Teekay Offshore establishing permanent offices and ship operations, Teekay (Atlantic) Management Ulc., in St. John’s Newfoundland. Canship Ugland has previously been the dominant player in the Canadian offshore market since production began at the Hibernia field in 1997.

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In September 2016, Teekay Offshore also entered into conditional contracts with Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) to construct two 154,000 DWT Suezmax-size DP2 shuttle tankers for delivery in 2019 and 2020 with options to order up to two additional vessels to provide shuttle tanker services in the North Sea under Teekay Offshore’s existing master agreement with Statoil ASA. The new vessels will be constructed based on Teekay Offshore’s newly developed Shuttle Spirit design (picture above left with credit to which incorporates technologies aimed at increasing fuel efficiency, reducing emissions and improved LNG propulsion. Teekay Offshore has also transferred its shuttle tanker business into a new subsidiary, Teekay Shuttle Tankers following a contract signed between Teekay Corporation, Teekay Offshore and Brookfield Business Partners as well as its institutional partners to enter into a strategic partnership. The deal includes a USD 640 million investment in Teekay Offshore, following which Brookfield will own approximately 60% of the company.

The picture above right shows Teekay’s Falcon Spirit loading at sea from a single buoy mooring (SBM).


Ship of the Week contributed by Capt. Stephen Brown, West Pacific Marine Ltd.

Friday, 15 September 2017 11:29

476 St Eval1

Seen here alongside in Coal Harbour, but more usually found lying at the Seaspan Dock at Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver, is the converted yacht St. Eval which began life in the UK having been built at the Bowling Shipyard on the River Clyde in Scotland, as a pre-war Warrior Class tug.

Shipbuilding at the Bowling Shipyard began around 1800 when the McGill brothers established their yard at the Forth and Clyde Canal basin. By the late 1840's the McGill's had joined forces with James Scott to form Scott & McGill, which became Scott and Sons in 1851. Between 1851 and 1979 Scott's built in excess of 450 vessels and was incorporated in 1958 being traded for the first time as Scott & Sons (Bowling) Ltd . In 1965, the company was taken over by Scott's Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd of Greenock and became part of the Scott Lithgow Group. The yard closed in 1979.

Designed and built by Scott and Sons at the Bowling Shipyard, Scotland
Delivered in 1930, served in WWII, refitted in 1993
Length 35m (115 feet)
Beam 7.4m
Displacement 382 tonnes
Main engine single screw 660HP (486kW)
Cruising speed 10 knots
Accommodation for up to four guests
Registered in Falmouth, UK
Previous name: Chieftain

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During the Second World War, when based in Falmouth, Cornwall, in the far south west of the UK, Chieftain was  repeatedly tasked to come to the aid of torpedoed freighters and warships in the English Channel and, when possible, to tow them to port. In 1968, her new owner “Falmouth Towing Company” changed her name to St. Eval after a well known church and north Cornwall hamlet. In 1980 she was purchased by British businessman Peter De Savary and converted into a support vessel for the America's Cup.

In the early 1990's St. Eval was converted into a luxury yacht for Mr. Dennis Washington, however she remains British flagged and the 1992 America's Cup Challenge Port Pendennis emblem is still proudly displayed on her black funnel even though the UK team was forced to eventually withdraw from the event for lack of funding, This was the first time that a UK team had failed to compete for the America's Cup since the UK launched the competition in 1851.

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St. Eval is often featured in Christmas cards and other memorabilia and as the pictures reveal, she is tastefully fitted out with much of her original character preserved.  See the video

Ship of the Week contributed by Capt. Stephen Brown, West Pacific Marine Ltd

Friday, 08 September 2017 08:32

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In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) has been called on to provide maritime assets in support of the relief efforts on the coast of Texas. One such vessel is the training ship USTS Empire State VIa vessel with a long and interesting history. Originally built for States Steamship Company as a conventional break bulk vessel, she was delivered in 1962 as the SS Oregon, a name she kept until purchased in 1977 by Moore McCormack Lines and renamed Mormactide. She was transferred to United States Lines in 1983 when that company purchased Moore McCormack Lines but by that time, United States Lines was a pure container operator and in 1986 she was turned over to MARAD. In the picture above she is seen in transit of the Kiel Canal, Germany.

Built by Newsport News Shipbuilding, Virgina
Laid down in 1961, delivered in 1962
Owned by US Maritime Administration
LOA 172.2m
Beam 23m
GRT 14,557 tons
DWT 14,620 MT
Propulsion: 2 × Foster Wheeler Type D steam boilers, steam turbines, single screw
Design speed 18 knots
Complement: 684 cadets, 107 officers & crew
Previous names: SS Oregon, SS Mormactide

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Under MARAD, the vessel was originally ear-marked to be converted to an ammunition ship. However, the plan was dropped and instead she underwent a conversion to a Training Ship and renamed Empire State VI. In 1989, she was delivered to the State University of New York Maritime College to replace the older Empire State V.  Under her new name she was activated by MARAD in 1994 to support the withdrawal of American troops from Somalia. She was next activated in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and served as housing and support for port and petroleum industry personnel during the recovery effort in Louisiana. In 2012 following Hurricane Sandy, she was used to provide accommodation to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel.

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Each summer Empire State VI is activated for a 90 day maritime cadet training voyage and having now served New York Maritime College for 25 years, she holds the record as the longest serving power driven vessel ever used by the college. She is expected to remain in use until at least 2020, though proposals to modify her in order to extend her life and remain in compliance through 2031 are under consideration.

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) and its predecessor agencies, the US Maritime Commission, the War Shipping Administration and the United States Shipping Board, have built, owned, operated, or subsidized thousands of merchant vessels, especially during the two world wars. The US Merchant Ship Sales Act of 1946 established the National Defence Reserve Fleet to serve as a reserve of ships for national defence and national emergencies. At its height in 1950, the NDRF consisted of 2,277 ships. That number is currently down to about 100, the picture above right showing a small sample of those laid up in James River, Virginia.

Doubtless, these aged but still useful maritime assets will also be called upon in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma which will hit Florida this weekend having already devastated parts of the Caribbean.

Ship of the Week contributed by Captain Stephen Brown of West Pacific Marine.

Friday, 01 September 2017 10:58

474 Christophe1

It seems that every summer, records are broken for transits of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) or the North West Passage (NWP). This year is no exception but the economic importance for the LNG trade is significant. In mid-August, the newly built ice-strengthened LNG carrier Christophe de Margerie completed the 2,193 nautical mile voyage from Norway to South Korea via the NSR at an average speed of 14 knots in 19 days which is some 30% less time than when taking the regular route via the Suez Canal. Passage of the NSR portion of the voyage was accomplished in just 6.5 days. 

Built by Daewoo Shipbuilding Marine Engineering (DSME), South Korea
Delivered in March 2017
Owned by Sovcomflot (SCF)
Technical management: SCF Management Services (Cyprus) Ltd
LOA 299m
Beam 50m
GRT 128,806 tons
Speed 19.5 knots

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Christophe de Margerie
is the first of 15 LNG carriers specifically designed and built for the SCF Group (Sovcomflot) to serve the Yamal LNG project (picture above right) and ship LNG year-round in the difficult ice conditions of the Kara Sea and Gulf of Ob. She is designed to sail independently through ice of up to 2.1 meters thick and is assigned an ice class Arc7, the highest ice class available for a merchant vessel. Notably she is fitted with a 45 MW propulsion system, which is comparable to the capacity of a modern nuclear-powered icebreaker and she is the first vessel of this nature to incorporate three Azipod units which provide her with a unique ice-breaking capability while maintaining exceptional maneuverability.

The Yamal LNG project was developed and is operated by Novatek, Russia's largest independent natural gas producer, and the seventh largest publicly traded company globally by natural gas production volume. The Yamal plant is forecast to reach its annual production target of 16.5 million tonnes in 2018.

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Above left,  Captain Sergey Zybko, Mr. Maksim Sokolov, the Russian Minister of Transport and Mr. Leonid Mikhelson, the owner of Novatek, speak with President Vladimir Putin from the vessel’s bridge via a video link. President Putin attended the naming ceremony at the Bronka deepwater port in St Petersburg in June this year. After initially abandoning the idea, Russia has recently re-announced plans to sell a stake in state owned Sovcomflot within this year. A sale would help to lift state revenues but could also assist in modernization of the corporate management culture after sanctions were imposed over the occupation of Crimea and the conflict in Ukraine in 2014.

Christophe de Margerie
is named after the Chairman and CEO of the French oil corporation Total S.A. (picture above right) who died in a plane crash in Moscow’s Vnukovo airport in 2014. He was described by President Putin at the naming ceremony as “having possessed a unique strategic vision and did much to strengthen friendly, partnership relations with Russia, while being the driving force behind the implementation of a range of large joint energy projects. Naming the ship in his honour serves as another symbol of our sincere and kind disposition to this outstanding man, and as a commemoration of his memory.”

Ship of the Week contributed by Captain Stephen Brown, West Pacific Marine Ltd.

Thursday, 24 August 2017 08:09

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Saturday August 19 was a milestone event for the Corporation of Delta with the Dedication Ceremony of the Delta Lifeboat (renamed from Steveston Lifeboat). The event was attended by a number of dignitaries including Delta Mayor Lois Jackson; Chief Administration Officer, Mr. George Harvie; The Honourable Carla Qualtrough. MP Delta; Mr. Ian Paton, MLA Delta South; Mr. Neil Dubord, Delta Chief Constable and the Directors of the Canadian Lifeboat Institute to whom the Delta Lifeboat is chartered. The formal Dedication and Blessing was conducted by Reverend Peter Smyth, Senior Port Chaplain, Mission to Seafarers, Vancouver.


Built in Pearl Harbour, Oahu, Hawaii, in 1944
LOA 15.8m
Beam 3.8m
Displacement 30 tonnes
Construction: mahogany and fire on oak frames
Engine: Single Detroit 671 diesel, 157 SHP
Speed: 10 knots
Range: 1000 nautical miles
Standard complement: 7 crew
Navigation: Integrated suite of navigation and communications systems
Tender: 3.3m RHIB with 20HP outboard carried on deck
Fire-fighting: Foam and fire hose
Towing capable


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The Delta Lifeboat was built for the U.S. Navy as an Admiral’s Barge and reportedly served several  Admirals including Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet and Commander in Chief Pacific Ocean Areas, during World War II. Her life saving career began in 1988 when she was purchased by her current owners and updated as a Search and Rescue vessel. For many years she has operated out of Steveston Harbour as an escort vessel for recreational events, in addition to escorting deep sea and other commercial vessels, especially  in the Fraser River during the traditional gillnet salmon fishing season.


The Delta Lifeboat is owned by renowned marine artist and Captain George Vancouver historian, Mr. John Horton and his wife Mary. At the age of 16, John Horton was already a Volunteer Reservist aboard HMS Wessex and when the opportunity came, he joined the Royal Navy, serving in the Pacific, witnessing hydrogen bomb tests, the Atlantic, and also in the Arctic undertaking fishery protection patrols during the so called “Cod War” with Iceland. Following naval service, John returned to his love of painting but in 1966, he packed up his young family and emigrated to Vancouver. Within weeks of arrival, he had set up his architectural rendering practice in the Marine Building, held an exhibition at the Bayshore Inn and was promptly deluged with clients. He never looked back and today his marine paintings can be found in almost any office or home in Canada and in galleries around the globe. In 2002 he accepted the Canadian government’s invitation to record Canada’s navy in action in the Arabian Gulf during operation Apollo, the codename for an operation conducted by Canadian forces in support of the United States during that country’s early military engagement in Afghanistan.


From December 2014 until the Spring of 2017, the Delta Lifeboat was out of service following an incident on the Fraser River. However, not only was she repaired, the break in service allowed her to be fully refitted and electronically upgraded in preparation for her return to service – a major undertaking for which John and Mary deserve immense credit. Picture above centre, to the right of the podium is Delta Mayor Lois Jackson, CLI President Mr. Bob McIlwaine and Delta Chief Administration Officer, Mr. George Harvie. Above right, is John Horton formally receiving the Delta flag from Bob McIlwaine.


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Picture above: The CLI’s Fraser Lifeboat leading the way into Ladner Harbour on August 19 followed by the Delta Lifeboat and the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) hovercraft Siyay commanded by Capt. Tom Moxey from CCG Base Sea Island.


Founded in 1981, the Canadian Lifeboat Institution (CLI) is a registered charity. Both the Delta Lifeboat and the Fraser Lifeboat (based in Steveston) are manned by volunteer crews from all walks of life, including former seafarers, who give their time to the cause of marine safety. The CLI also partners with the VFPA Marine Emergency Response Coordination Committee (MERCC) and the FishSafe BC Advisory Committee. The Institution works closely with the CCG, regularly participating in joint exercises, in addition to the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR). The Institution is funded by corporate and personal donations without direct government funding. Since its formation, CLI has logged more than 4,000 incidents and has contributed to the saving of a number of lives.


Ship of the Week contributed by Captain Stephen Brown, West Pacific Marine Ltd., CLI Director and Chair, Mission to Seafarers, Vancouver.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 08:55

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The Isle of Man registered Supramax bulk carrier Catherine Manx is part of a package of 5 ship purchases announced by Pacific Basin Shipping Ltd. last week. The package include three recently built Supramaxes, one new Supramax to be delivered in 2018 and one recently built handysize.


Built by Tsuneishi Shipbuilding, Zhoushan, PRC, in 2014
Owned and operated by LTU Management, Douglas, Isle of Man, UK
LOA 190m
Beam 32m
GRT 32,360 tons
DWT 57,964 MT
Class NK
Flag: Isle of Man, UK


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Privately held Uglands Rederi, headquartered in Grimstad, Norway, was established in 1930 by ship owner Johan Ugland. Following his death in 1960, his sons Johan and Andreas Ugland assumed control and today, his grandson, Knut N.T. Ugland, is the sole owner of the company. The fleet currently comprises 17 bulk carriers, 5 tankers and 2 offshore service vessels supported by business interests in the operation of tugs and barges. Registered owner and manager of Catherine Manx, LTU Management, is a division LT Ugland Shipping based in the Isle of Man.


Situated in the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man is not formally part of the UK but is a self-governing Crown dependency and makes its own laws and sets its own taxes. A full Maritime Convention nation with a Shipping Register that has existed since 1786, the Isle of Man is also a prominent international finance centre and offshore insurance centre with stringent regulatory controls under its own Financial Supervision Commission. The Isle of Man ship register is now the 12th largest in the world and continues to grow with some 60% of its registered tonnage being under Asian control.


The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Limited claims to be the oldest continuously operating passenger shipping company in the world, celebrating its 187th anniversary this year. The company provides freight, passenger and vehicle services between Douglas in the Isle of Man and five ports in the UK through its subsidiary Manx Ferries.


Under the ownership of Pacific Basin, Catherine Manx will be renamed Pelican Island.


Ship of the Week contributed by Capt. Stephen Brown, West Pacific Marine Ltd.


Wednesday, 09 August 2017 09:12

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Some of you may have taken time out in the past couple of weeks to see the new movie, Dunkirk. The movie tells the story of the “Little Ships of Dunkirk” when about 850 private boats sailed from Ramsgate in England to the beaches of Dunkirk between May 26 and June 4 1940 as part of so called Operation Dynamo to rescue British, French and Belgian soldiers who were trapped on the beaches by the advancing German army. Because of the shallow waters, British naval craft were unable to approach the beaches, hence the desperate order to assemble a fleet of pleasure craft. Many were requisitioned and manned by the navy without their owners' permission but a few were volunteered on condition that their owners would sail them to Dunkirk. When they reached France, some of the boats acted as shuttles between the beaches and naval vessels while others carried hundreds of soldieors each back to Ramsgate under the make-shift protection of the Royal Air Force. The operation saved about
200,000 British, 130,000 French and 10,000 Belgian troops. Sadly, 60,000 troops could not be evacuated and were captured or killed.

One such “Little Ship” was the paddle steamer Medway Queen
which somehow made seven round trips to Dunkirk, rescuing 7,000 men in the process and earning herself the nickname Heroine of Dunkirk. Although seriously damaged during the seventh crossing, she limped home and is still with us today.

Built by Ailsa Shipyard, in Troon, Scotland in 1924
Owned by the new Medway Steam Packet Company, based in Rochester on the River Medway, England
Returned to cruising after the war for the General Steam Navigation Co who had taken over the New Medway company
1966 - Saved from the breakers and opened as a marina clubhouse on the Isle of Wight
1984 - Returned to the Medway on a floating pontoon and berthed at Chatham
2006 – Dismantled for rebuilding
2009 - Completed hull with refurbished engine to await conditions for a tow to Gillingham

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A major boost to saving Medway Queen from razor blades was received in 2006 when, after several failed attempts to obtain funding from the UK's Heritage Fund, a grant of just over GBP 1.86 m was awarded. The grant, alongside Medway Queen Preservation Society’s own funds allowed restoration to go ahead. The existing hull was dismantled with all usable parts put into storage and structural members reused where possible. In 2008 a contract was awarded to rebuild the hull in traditional riveted form after the resolution of problems arising from a conflict between the need for a "heritage" rebuild and the need to incorporate updated construction practices.

In May 1965 to mark the 25th anniversary of Operation Dynamo, a fleet of 43 of the original “Little Ships” returned to Dunkirk to commemorate the evacuation. It was subsequently decided that such a unique assembly should not be allowed to fade into obscurity and the “Association of Dunkirk Little Ships” was formed in 1966. The stated objective of the Association was to maintain the spirit of Dunkirk and to preserve the memory of the role of the Little Ships by forming an association of their present-day owners and of those closely associated. Still today, over 100 Little Ships are entitled to display a plaque marked “DUNKIRK 1940”. Every five years, supported by the RNLI and Royal Navy, they return under their own power to Dunkirk, a major undertaking considering that the average age of the craft is now 85 years. The Association plans to return to Dunkirk in May 2020 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Operation Dynamo with around 50 Little Ships expected to take part.

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UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill initially described the situation in Dunkirk as a “colossal military disaster” but following the success of the evacuation revised his assessment as a “miracle of deliverance”. Medway Queen is today moored at Gillingham Pier in the County of Kent UK and is open for viewing on most Saturdays.

Ship of the Week contributed by Captain Stephen Brown, West Pacific Marine Ltd.