When the MV Westport/Fjordvik departed for the final time from the Manukau, we expected that the cement ship visits were over forever.
Robert Bright, Supply & Operations Manager at Holcim commented, “The majority of messages about last ship visits to Onehunga were around the MV Westport rather than the MV Milburn Carrier II. There were also messages regarding both ships’ last visit to Westport, and the last time they were in Onehunga together.
“On this trip (14-15 Nov) the MV Milburn Carrier II loaded bulk cement from the Timaru terminal and dropped off part of its load at Lyttelton and then travelled to Onehunga to fill up the Onehunga silos. Our cement bagging operation at Onehunga will be using the majority of this cement.
“The port will no longer be able to receive the MV Milburn Carrier II into Onehunga from 30 November so there is little opportunity for another port call after this one.
“The MV Milburn Carrier II will continue to operate around our cement depots in NZ until our new ship the MV Buffalo is commissioned and operational. This means the MV Milburn Carrier II may be in service right through until February/March 2017. After this she will be put up for sale.”
Shipping expert Jeremy Ruane gave BEACON this update on these vessels:
MV Milburn Carrier II
MV Milburn Carrier II made her last-ever call at Onehunga, visit #946, on Monday 14 Nov at 1100, departing Tuesday 15 Nov at 1115. Captain Gareth Partington was at the helm. I was wharfside for the arrival.
Ports of Auckland have requested that Holcim finish operating out of Onehunga by the end of November, so with trips to Dunedin, Lyttelton, Timaru and Napier in the pipeline for MC2 later in November, this visit was likely the very last shipping movement at our port. The only prospect of something different coming to pass, and a potential call to Onehunga, is if the Wellington leg of a Lyttelton-Wellington run is cancelled because of the problems Centreport (Wellington) are presently experiencing due to the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks. Highly unlikely, though.
MV Westport/Fjordvik Update
As I type, MV Westport/Fjordvik is powering through the Baltic Sea at a steady 12.5 knots, and should be alongside in Gdynia, Poland inside the next 24 hours, where she'll undergo dry-docking and a repaint before commencing work for her new owners in the new year.
To make the trip with so few stops - she's only berthed at New Plymouth (for twelve hours) and Papeete (for seven hours) since leaving Onehunga - they filled two of her double bottom tanks with HFO (heavy fuel oil), and gave her a refill via bunker barge at the Balboa anchorage, before going through the Panama Canal. Methinks the new owners will be well pleased with the fuel economy figures of their new acquisition.
Ports of Auckland have the tug Tika up for sale at present, and she's available for delivery to new owners from 1 December, which really does make it a fait accompli - no more shipping at Onehunga after 30 November. Once the tug goes, that's definitely it.