Sunday, May 5, 2013

Renate Schulte - aufedersein

1. Reanate Schulte arriving off Halterm at dusk April 11, 2012.

When Renate Schulte sailed on February 14, 2013 I suspected that the ship was on its way to the scrap yard, and that has proven to be true. It arrived at Alang, India on March 24 and by now has probably been reduced to bits.
At nineteen years old, that is not a great age for a ship, but as a result of overbuilding, there is a glut of ships in certain sectors. More modern and more versatile ships are available, and shipping companies are sending ships to the breakers rather than spending money on maintaining or upgrading them.
Bulk carriers, general cargo ships, tankers and container ships are all victims of this vicious cycle. The sole exception is specialist ships that cannot be replaced easily. See prior story on Atlantic Cartier - a unique ship type that has had a very long life.
There was nothing special about Renate Schulte, it was a fairly typical small container/general cargo ship of 14,619 gross tons, 20,275 deadweight tonnes built in 1994 by Stocznia Szczecinska SA in Szczecin (Stettin) Poland. It was equipped with three 45 tonne cranes, so was able to handle its own cargo in ports without sophisticated facilities.It was also ice strengthened.
Owners Bernard Schulte of Hamburg, part of the Schulte Group is a ninety ship fleet, built the ship for charter to shipping lines. Many of these lines required the ship to carry standard names and thus the ship was renamed seven times in its career. Built as Renate Schulte it was immediately renamed Europa Express (hinting at a Hapag-Lloyd charter) but reverted to Renate Schulte in 1995. In 1996 it became Libra Houston for less than a year when it reverted to Reante Schulte. In 2001 it became Kartago until 2004.Its next assignment was for a longer term and it carried the name CMA CGM Oyapock until 2012. It then resumed its original name Renate Schulte and took up a charter with Melfi Lines.
2. Libra Houston inbound on one of my favourite shipwatching spots- the Houston Ship Channel- May 16, 1997.

3. By the next day the name was obliterated and the crew had started to re-apply the name Renate Schulte.

The ship made the news at least twice before this.On June 27, 2009 the ship rammed the cement carrier Marti Princess in the Aegean. The spectacular result had Reanate Schulte riding up and almost all the way over the other ship. See:
Shortly after taking up the Melfi charter, the ship arrived in Halifax February 21 and remained in port until March 1 and sailed without working any cargo. (Melfi found another ship to take up her missed port calls).  
On a more positive note, on June 4, 2012 the ship responded to a US Coast Guard request for assistance under the AMVER plan (Automated Mutual-Assistance VEssel Rescue System.) The sailing vessel Wacaw with Canadian aboard reported a medical emergency 1250 mi SW of Nantucket. The boat was en route Europe to Canada but had diverted towards Bermuda due to weather. Renate Schulte stood by the boat. The story after that becomes unclear, but it seems that medical advice was relayed by radio. Unfortunately the sailor fell overboard some days later and was lost.
Once on the Melfi charter and headed for Halifax, the ship was  holed by its own anchor on December 21, 2012 and spent last Christmas in Halifax undergoing repairs, finally sailing on January 2. See several posts in December and January on this incident.
4. Renate Schulte arriving in November 2012.

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