Monday, March 31, 2014

Hoechst Express - Hapag veteran

The eight ship Kiel Express class* 4,839 TEU ships from the backbone of HAPAG-Lloyd's Pacific Atlantic Express, but at an average age of more than 20 years, one has to wonder how much longer we will be seeing them. With HAPAG's recent merger with CSAV and other G6 Alliance redeployments, and more efficient newer ships, I guess we should enjoy them while we can.

 Hoechst Express navigates the Narrows this afternoon for the umpteenth time.

When built by Samsung in Koje, South Korea in 1991 the 53,833 grt ship was considered quite modern, and it still has a dashing look about it, but the lifepsan of a container ship these days, under original ownership would not likely exceed 25 years in most cases.

The shift of flag from Germany to Bermuda last year, and management to Anglo-Eastern indicates to me that there are plans afoot to move these ships out of HAPAG service before they reach 25 year of age - perhaps when the new Panama Canal opens, or even sooner depending on how the line deals with the current world over capacity.

Hoechst Express had at least one memorable visit to Halifax. On September 29, 2003 it was lying peacefully at Fairview Cove when Hurricane Juan struck. Despite putting out extra lines, the ship was hit broadside by winds and at 0012 hrs the ship's master reported that she was adrift. The tugs Point Halifax, and Point Valiant were dispatched despite conditions, and the usual 20 minute to half hour run to the Basin took over an hour. They managed to wrestle the ship back to its berth, reporting all secure at 0145 hrs.   There were airborne containers from storage stacks ashore, but I am not aware of any great damage to the ship or its cargo.

* the other ship of the class are Atlanta ex Lusdwigshaven, Boston ex Essen, Dresden, Kiel ex Hannover, Portland ex Leverkeusen, Paris ex Hamburg and Stuttgart Express.


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