Friday, February 16, 2024

End af an Era continued: Compania Peruana de Vapores

 Another in a series about the last conventional general cargo ships.

The South American country of Peru, like many countries from time to time, resented having to rely upon foreign owned ships for imports and exports. It therefore founded its own state owned shipping company. Compania Peruana de Vapores (Peruvian Steamship Company). And as with many other countries it found the scheme to be a money pit. Although achieving some of its goals, including training ship's officers and carrying the country's goods to the world, the cost of running a shipping company became intolerable. It was also a political football, and was wound up following a change of government and the last of its ships were sold off.

Peru's timing for entering the shipping business was bad as the container revolution was just getting going, and building general cargo ships was a retrograde step, as they were obsolete within a very few years. The ships they built represented the tried and true pattern developed over a century and for the time were at the height of the evolutionary tree. Sophisticated cargo handling gear, such as cranes, were not used, and loading and unloading depended on union purchase and manual labour.

In the early 1970s the company operated twelve deep sea ships all built between 1968 and 1970, on four routes.  One of those routes ran between the Atlantic coast of Canada and the USA and the Pacific coast of South American as far as Chile.

The Canadian port was Montreal, but the ships also called in Halifax, particularly in winter.

The six ships of the so called 12,500 ton capacity class were built in 1968 and 1969, and were modern style general cargo ships with superstructure aft.

Inca Tupac Yupanqui came from the Sociedad Española de Construcción Naval (SECN) in Sestao, Bilbao, Spain and measured 9624 gt, 13,179 dwt. It was equipped with sixteen winches for one 60 tonne, four 10 ton and twelve 5 ton derricks. Powered by a 6 cylinder 9600 bhp Sulzer main engine (built under license by SECN) it operated at 16.5 knots.

In the photo the ship is tied up at Pier 9C in 1970. 

(Nova Scotia Power's Tuft's Cove power plant had only one stack to start with. It now has three.)

The Inca Tupac Upanqui was sold in 1980, renamed Aura and in 1985 Avra Sea. It was broken up in 1986 at Gadani Beach.

 The Inca Yahuar Huaca had the same tonnages and came from the same shipyard, but in 1969.

 Seen here at Pier 31 with Elder Dempter's Fulani * in the left foreground.

The  Inca Yahuar Huaca was sent directly to the scrapyard in Kaohsiung and broken up in February 1988.

The Garcilaso was from the 13,000 ton capacity class and was built by Wartsila, Turku in 1969. It was a 9,464 gt, 13,929 dwt ship. Its 6 cylinder 9600 bhp Wartsila main engine gave a speed of 17 knots. It had eighteen winches, for one 60 ton, four 10 ton and twelve 6 ton derricks. Lloyd's Register later gave it a container carrying capacity of 62 TEU. It was broken up in Peru in 1994.

The Garcilaso also at Pier 9C - likely on a Sunday in 1970 - ready to load some lumber come Monday morning.

Other countries, socialist or not, eventually gave up on state owned shipping companies, with mainly communist countries such as Russian and Cuba hanging on. The container revolution marked the end of many old school private companies and those will be covered in some future "End of an Era" posts.

 * Elder Dempster, an important British shipping company, was the subject a much earlier "End of an Era" post March 27, 2015


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