Saturday, January 20, 2024

Long Way

 The arrival earlier in the week of the ONE Crane [see Monday January 15] was the first of what may be many ships en route from Asia that avoid the Red Sea and divert via the Cape of Good Hope. Today, January 20, saw the arrival of another diverted ship, but this one had an unusual variation in its route.[See Footnote #1]

CMA CGM Cassiopeia sailed from Hong Kong on December 6, calling Singapore ca. mid-December then reported in the Malacca Strait December 18. It may have skipped its normal call in Port Klang, then called in Colombo, December 21-22. It was next reported passing Cape Town December 31.

 The tugs Atlantic Oak and Atlantic Fir provided double tethered stern escort, and Atlantic Larch made up forward.[see Footnote #2]

Instead of heading directly for Halifax it sailed up the African west coast passing the Canary Islands January 10,  and arrived in Tanger Med Morocco January 12. Tanger Med is a hub port that collects cargo via feeder services from a variety of European ports. Now with ships diverting from the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean I expect the port will likely be collecting more southern European cargo.

Hyundai Ulsan built the CMA CGM Cassiopeia in 2011 as one of their 11,300 class. The 131,332 gt, 131,247 dwt ship now gives a capacity of 11,200 TEU. It is among the largest ships with conventional placement of the bridge well aft. Many even slightly larger ships have the "island" type bridge situated forward of amidships for improved visibility. This ship appears to have a good forward sight line however, as its bridge was quite visible when it presented a bow on view as it arrived via the western (deep water) channel. 


#1 The ship is sailing for the Ocean Alliance which consists of CMA CGM, COSCO, Evergreen, and OOCL. The Asia / Europe / North America service routed through the Suez and Mediterrnaean usually makes no stops between Colombo and Halifax.

#2 Using two tugs for stern braking and turning is not normal practice, but can be used if the ship has a deficiency, is a difficult one to manage or there are adverse conditions. Since today's operation appeared to be otherwise normal and with very little wind, I assume it was a training and familiarization exercise for pilot, tug crews and ship's crew. The ship did appear very heavily laden however and that may have been a factor as it would have very large momentum.

One tug, likely the Atlantic Fir, swings out perpendicular to the ship and provides braking as the other stern tug, Atlantic Oak, maintains position for steering. The tugs will turn the ship 180 degrees to tie up at Pier 41 starboard side to the dock. Atlantic Larch is positioned as far forward as possible, with getting under the flare of the bow, but will still get leverage to assist in turning.

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