P&O Nedlloyd Heemskerck joins the SAECS fleet

Mar 8, 2005
Author: P&S

This morning (Tuesday, 8 March 2005) a naming ceremony was held in Cape Town harbour for the latest and largest container ship on the South Africa trades, P&O Nedlloyd Heemskerck.

The 53,453-gt, 294m long vessel is the longest container ship ever to make use of South Africa’s ports, although she remains within panamax dimensions regarding her beam (32.2m) and is thus able to work under all existing cranes at South Africa’s three container ports.

She also has the largest container capacity of any vessel on this service – 4900 TEUs compared with about 4500 for the other new SAECS (South Africa Europe Container Service) ships.

Ian Shiffman captured the new ship in glorious sunlight on her arrival in Cape Town.

P&O Nedlloyd Singapore arrived in Durban without fanfare last week on her maiden and delivery voyage. She had sailed in ballast from the builder’s yard in South Korea and immediately went to the Durban Container Terminal to begin loading her first cargo. This was unfortunately delayed by almost 24 hours due to a malfunctioning gantry crane and the ship duly sailed on Saturday evening for Port Elizabeth where bad weather again delayed cargo working, before proceeding to Cape Town where her naming ceremony had to be held back by one day.

It’s not often that a port has two ships berthing close together and carrying the same name while belonging to the same company, but by some strange twist of scheduling that was what happened in Durban when the new Heemskerck arrived.

pictured at right the new P&O Nedlloyd Heemskerck on berth 205 at the Durban Container Terminal begins loading cargo for the very first time on 3 March. In the background is the older Heemskerck, kept apart from her namesake by the Taiwanese vessel Ever Genius. Picture Terry Hutson

In port at the same time was the older Heemskerck, without the P&O Nedlloyd prefix and on her final voyage for the Dutch company. This older version was built in 1978 and has given exemplary service for many years. She now goes off service and has been replaced with her younger namesake, which is owned by a German shipowner but is operating for P&O Nedlloyd on long-term charter.

A second new vessel, P&O Nedlloyd Livingstone is due in South Africa shortly as a replacement for the City of Cape Town, while the new DAL vessel, DAL Kalahari, a sister ship to Lars Maersk, Safmarine Nomazwe and Safmarine Nokwanda, was handed over recently to her new owners at the Odense Shipyards in Denmark. This is thought to be the first time an outside owner has had a container ship built at the AP Moller yard.

These vessels are 265.8m long with a beam of 37.3m and are calculated to have a container capacity of 4500TEUs, although the official count is much lower at 3700.


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