One­hunga farewells West­port

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JEREMY RUANE

The time to bid fair winds and fol­low­ing seas to La Grande Dame of the New Zealand ship­ping scene is nigh.

The ce­ment car­rier West­port has been berthed at the Port of One­hunga through­out the past eight weeks, af­ter dis­charg­ing her fi­nal load of ce­ment for Hol­cim NZ on July 23.

But she is set to sail from One­hunga for the very last time to­mor­row night, af­ter be­ing sold to Euro­pean in­ter­ests.

SMT Ship­ping has pur­chased West­port and in­tends to em­ploy her in the ce­ment trade, with Nor­way her new op­er­a­tional base.

‘‘I am so pleased that we have sold her and she will con­tinue as a ce­ment car­rier rather than go­ing to scrap,’’ a Hol­cim spokesman said.

West­port was handed over to her new own­ers on Septem­ber 7, and taken out of New Zealand reg­istry at the same time.

She will now be known as Fjord­vik, and will fly the Ba­hamas flag when she de­parts One­hunga for the fi­nal time.

A full crew is now on board, along with two Hol­cim em­ploy­ees, who will over­see the ves­sel’s op­er­a­tional handover.

They will also guide the ship through the Manukau Heads for the last time be­fore head­ing south to New Ply­mouth.

While there, West­port will un­der­take an in­wa­ter sur­vey be­fore com­menc­ing her long­est voy­age since first ar­riv­ing at One­hunga from Ham­burg, Ger­many, on March 27, 1976.

That maiden call was the first of 1104 times she tied up at One­hunga, a tally no other ship vis­it­ing the port has come re­motely close to match­ing.

Bar­ring any calls by the other Hol­cim ship

Mil­burn Car­rier II to re­plen­ish the si­los with ce­ment from Ti­maru be­fore the year is out,

West­port‘ s de­par­ture will bring down the cur­tain on roughly 180 years of ship­ping ac­tiv­ity at the Port of One­hunga.

West­port is set to sail off into the sun­set on Thurs­day Septem­ber 15, cast­ing off at 5.45pm, with the sun set­ting at 6.10pm.

Visit ul­ti­maten­z­soc­cer.com/One­hunga for more in­for­ma­tion on the Port of One­hunga’s his­tory.

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