Wednesday, February 21, 2024

MSC with a V

 As the largest container shipping company in the world, the Mediterranean Shipping Company has found a way to simplify ship identification by appending a Roman Numeral to the ship's name. The number indicates a container capacity limit. 

Today (February 21) saw the arrival of the renamed ship, MSC Matilde V. Built in 1999 by Samsung, Geoje, as the Saudi Jubail, it is a 53,208 gt, 67,615 dwt ship rated at 4400 TEU. It was acquired by MSC in 2022, and sailed for a year as MSC Matilde. It received the Roman 5 as part of fleet wide renaming policy in April of 2023.

The ship is sailing on MSC's Canada Express 1 service from Mediterranean ports. After offloading some cargo here to reduce draft [air draft or sea draft], the ship will sail on to Montreal where it is due February 26. Judging by the ship's trim (it appears to be slightly down by the stern) the cargo to be removed may be stowed aft of midships - perhaps from those high stacks just forward of the bridge.

 MSC is well known for operating older ships, and certainly acquired many on its recent buying spree. According to recent sources MSC has 212 ships older than twenty-years, many purchased in the last two years.

Any ship approaching twenty-five years of age is living on borrowed time. Classification societies require costly refits when they reach that age to keep then "in class" that is to say reliable and safe. Many shipowners deem the expense to be greater than the value of the ship, and thus send it to scrap. According to records, this ship is due for its next survey in August and most of its certificates expire in mid-June. With scores of new ships due this year and thus a looming glut of container ships, this one's days may be numbered. 

In its favour however, is its size. Most of the new ships on order and to be delivered this year are much larger. Ships of MSC Matilde V's size therefore will still be needed on many routes, such as Canex1, which can't handle or don't need larger ships. Also the costly retrofitting of an exhaust gas scrubber system is an expense that would not be a short term investment.I don't know when this ship received its scrubber, but it is likely that it is since it was acquired by MSC.


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