An era in NZ coastal shipping drew to a close today (May 5) with the departure of "Milburn Carrier II" from Wellington at 1400, sailing as "NACC Milburn" for Singapore under the Panamanian flag for new owners NovaAlgoma Cement Carriers.
From 1988 through until now, "Westport", "Golden Bay" and "MC2" were responsible for the vast majority of bulk cement distribution around our coastline. Indeed, the first- and second-mentioned became familiar sights around our shores since 1976 and 1979 respectively.
With "MC2"'s departure today, it means all three vessels have moved onto pastures new in the last twenty months. "Westport" now operates as "Fjordvik" for SMT Shipping, for whom she sails under the Bahamas flag carrying cement from Aalborg, Denmark, to locations around the country as well as further afield to Norway, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Sweden and occasionally to England, Holland and Poland.
"Golden Bay" still operates under that name, but sports the flag of Belize on her transom as she distributes cement to the numerous nations located around the shores of the Adriatic, Aegean, Ionian, Mediterranean and Tyrrhenian Seas.
Their successors on the local scene, "Aotearoa Chief" for Golden Bay Cement, and "Buffalo" for Holcim Cement, have big draughts to fill, make no mistake.
Come to think of it, "MC2"'s departure means that the NZ coastal shipping scene has lost five of its long-time bulk cargo distributors inside the last two years, with oil tankers "Torea" and "Kakariki" also having left these shores for pastures new in that period.