Tuesday, January 26, 2016

British Merlin - safe in port

The fully loaded BP Tanker British Merlin (Isle of Man flag) finally arrived in Halifax in the wee hours of this morning. It had reported a turbo charger malfunction and was taken in tow by the big tug/supplier Maersk Cutter, during a voyage from Whiffen Head, NL to Philadelphia with crude oil. The tow was slowed by weather for several days, and even today its towed speed was barely over 4 knots.

One of twelve ships in BP's "Bird" class, it is an AFRAmax ship (nothing to do with Africa) designed for efficient delivery of cargo to most of the world's ports. At 63,661 grt, 114,761 dwt with double hull and special ice bow, it measures 251.5m overall, 43.8m breadth and 15m depth.

All twelve BP birds were built by Samsung Heavy Industries Co Ltd, Koje, South Korea and are
powered by a 7 cylinder B+W engine, built under license by Hyundai Heavy Industries, Ulsan, generating 21,509 bhp and giving a speed of 15.7 knots, when all is well.

At one time most Aframax ships were also Panamax, but the limiting breadth of 32.31m was too restrictive and most recent Aframaxes are wider. They will be able to transit the new Panama Canal however.

Irving Oil has just applied to use the sister ship British Cygnet for two trips from Whiffen Head to Canaport in February. The ship will be carrying 675,000 bbl of Hibernia crude per trip.

Most sources state that British Merlin was completed in July 2003 and was in service soon after. For some reason BP's own website states that the ship was delivered March 2, 2005.
See BP's website here and click on Our Fleet, then look for Bird class.

Harbour regulations require that a ship at anchor, without use of its main engine, must have a tug alongside at all times. Svitzer Nerthus was given the job, and it tied on the ship's port bow in this photo, but later moved to starboard midships.


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