Oranjemund returns to Durban

Feb 9, 2005
Author: P&S

An all too rare visitor to Durban, her port of building, is the diminutive Unicorn tanker Oranjemund, which arrived in port this morning (Wednesday) to load molasses at Maydon Wharf.

picture Terry Hutson

The ship, all of 61m and a mere 2018-dwt, was custom built in Durban in 1976 for Unicorn Lines as an oil tanker/dry cargo vessel to operate on the west coast between Cape Town and Port Nolloth. The shallow approaches to Port Nolloth decreed a draught of just 4.4m, although nowadays even that proves too much for the silted harbour.

Quite soon the ship was introduced to the offshore diamond mining operations off the west coast, serving as a fuel transfer vessel ‘even as the diamond mine vessels continued trawling the sea bed’, a duty that Oranjemund continues with to this day.

In addition Oranjemund services contracts with the oil majors between Cape Town and Luderitz in Namibia.

Affectionately known among Unicorners as their ‘VLCC’ – very little crude carrier – the tanker remains in excellent condition despite her advancing years and is likely to continue with her current work for some time to come. According to Unicorn Tankers she will revert to the attractive Unicorn livery of red and blue at her next scheduled dry docking. While in Durban this trip Oranjemund will undergo minor repairs to her rudder at the Point layby berths.


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