Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Where Have All the Con-Ros Gone - Part 7

Large ocean going Con-Ros or Ro-Cons are much reduced in numbers, with Grimaldi the major operator in the field now. Their Europe /Africa / mid-East services are still using lots of the big ships, and as we keep saying Atlantic Container Line (ACL) will be taking delivery of its five new G4 ships every two months starting in May of this year.

Not all Con-Ros were large ships however, and we saw many in coastal trades or short sea work.

St-Pierre et Miquelon
After years of conventional cargo ships operating a coastal service between North Sydney and the French islands of St-Pierre et Miquelon, a Con-Ro took over in 1980. Built by Soc. Nouvelle la Rochelle-Pallice, the 800 grt ship ran from Halifax to St-Pierre coordinating with ACL's Con-Ro service from LeHavre.

 In 1989 the ship was sold to Puddister Trading of St.John's and worked as Northern Cruiser until 1999.It then went to Navigation Polynesienne and left Halifax for Papeete as Hawaikinui. where it is still in service. Its 50 tonne capacity stern ramp allowed for loading 25 cars or 15 trailers. I have never seen a TEU rating. Uniquely the ship had six twin berth cabins and did offer a passenger service.

Among the successors to Langlade  was a series of Danish built geared flush deck Con-Ros. 

 The first was Christina C., 1494 grt, built in 1988 by Orskov Christensens in Frederikshavn. It developed a history of engine trouble and in 1991 was lengthened and re-powered, coming out at 1814 grt. It served the SPM route until 1995, and carried a variety of RoRo cargo and containers.
In 1997 it was converted to a livestock carrier with a multi-tier deckhouse, and remeasured to 3228 grt. Deadweight remained the same at 1974 tonnes. Renamed Finola, under Danish International register, it still exists and was trading in Australia, New Zealand in the summer of 2014, and in the autumn moved to the Singapore and Indonesia area.
Similar ships such as Ocean Ady (not pictured) had two cranes but was of the same basic design. It was later converted to a wind farm installation vessel. 

Lisbeth C. came from the same shipyard, but in 1993, and measured 2881 grt. It operated as Pacific Peru from 1994 to 1998, and it was under that name that it made its first trip on the SPM service in January 1998. It soon reverted to its original name and carried on until 2001. It was then sold to Venezuela as Santa Paula, became Lisbeth C. again under Danish flag in 2003. In 2007 it was renamed Polar Sea and now works for a Norwegian seismic company.

A very similar ship to the Danish vessels arrived on the scene in January 20, 2001, fresh from Santierul Naval in Constanta SA, Romania.
Dressed up for its first arrival in Halifax, Shamrock was fresh from the shipyard. Both engines (which drove twin screws) ran their exhausts to the single funnel casing on the port side.

Shamrock's centre line stern ramp was framed by a goal post like mast. Its two 40 tonne cranes were offset on pedestals. There was lots of sea smoke in the Narrows as the ship returned from Fairview Cove.

Registered in the French Antarctic Territory of Kerguelen Islands, it carried on the St-Pierre service but also started a Halifax-Portland, ME feeder service. The whole operation collapsed at the end of June 2004, awash in debt, and the ship was eventually sold. It was acquired by CIS Shipping International Inc, owned in turn by Clarke Transport, and sent to work in the Caribbean under the management of Thien+Hyenga. 

Sea Transit Direct
In December 2003 a competing service to St-Pierre et Miquelon was established by Sea Transit Direct. 
The first ship on that service was CEC Daisy, a LoLo only ship of 2815 grt. It was replaced by the Con-Ro
Askania from June 2004 to July 2007.
Built in 1983 by Werft Nobiskrug of Rendsburg, Germany, it carred the name Seacrest Askania from 1991 to 1992. It had a capacity of 278 TEU and two cranes of 25-35 tonne capacity. It was operated by Scheepvaart Skadis NV of the Netherlands and registered in the Netherlands Antilles.
In 2012 it became Andrea under the Sierra Leone flag for owners in Tanzania, and is still operating.

The service was continued in 2007 by Fort Ross which is still running, as Fusion from 2010. Even though it has had several "off-hires" for repairs and even a major rebuild, it soldiers on, providing the weekly link with St-Pierre et Miquelon. Built in 1977 it is remarkable for its longevity.

UM Shipping 
A feeder service between Halifax and Boston from Halterm and serving OOCL, NOL and K-Line ran several small Lo-Lo container ships such as Nordbay and Lux Baltic from May 1987. In February 1988 until June 1990 the service was carried on by Colon, flying the Ecuadorian flag.

The gearless flat decker rarely if ever used its RoRo capability when working from Halifax. Built by Baatservice of Mandal, Norway in 1979, the 2033 grt ship had a 300 TEU capacity (54-40' below deck) including 30 reefers. Its original name was Seatrain Libertad and in 1984 was renamed Ambar. It became Colon in 1984.
In 1990 it was replaced by a conventional container vessel and in 1993 it was moved to Panamanian flag and renamed Colon III. On May 4-5, 1994 it capsized while on a voyage from Puerto Limon to Cristobal. It sank May 5 with the loss of three crew members.

Odd small Con-ros would show up in Halifax from time to time, usually carrying non-RoRo cargo. Their flat decks and cranes were usually more suitable to containers or project cargoes, and the visits here were usually one-ofs. Of course their were many heavy lift ships with stern ramps, but they could not be considered Con-Ros.
 The German owned, Antigua flagged Stephan J. came from the Cassens shipyard in Emden, Germany in 1982. It had two 25 tonne cranes, could carry 403 TEU and had a stern ramp. At 3326 grt, 6166 dwt, it was a moderate sized vessel, and seems to have spent most of its life in feeder of general cargo work. It was renamed several times: 89: EWL Curacao, 91: Stephan J., 94: Lian Sha, 98: Ariadni, 05: Safina, and 10: Marden. It arrived in Alang January 20, 2012 where it was beached and scrapped the next week.

 Next posting (and last in this series) will be Canadian Con-Ros.


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