When a few years ago I spoke to Carisbrooke Shipping in the Isle of Wight I had gained the impression then they were largely a short sea operation but with new deep sea traders that were starting to become significant earners.
Not too many shipping companies make the transition from coastal to world-wide but that is what they have done most successfully in just a few years. The company, which has associated offices in Rotterdam, Leer and Montreal, this year moved headquarters, still in Cowes but to larger premises with future expansion potential, indicative of a company seeing a recession, when prices are going to be particularly advantageous, as a time to plan aggressively to be ahead in the game when the recession ends.
So in recent years smaller, older ships have been replaced with new classes of vessel for both near water and deep sea trading until they now have some 40 hulls with another 13 on order from builders in Spain, Japan and China. Besides the usual bulk freights the company has fitted the later units to be specially suited for project cargoes with fixed high capacity deck cranes, reinforced hatches, tween decks and container stowage. Much of the fleet is flexible in operation for both near water and distant trading, Jade C, 7,752gt,‘05, recently picking up oil related plant by carefully monitored docking at Nigg Bay Scotland, a load lifted in 4 hours of a 6 hour tidal window before she sailed to Brazil.
The 5,000 dwt class of 11 vessels, once their largest, are now their smallest fleet units but are a useful size for the Western Europe to the Black Sea range and so we will continue to see on the coast smart vessels like the Victoria C pictured here heading out of Carlingford Lough which as I write has lifted a cargo of barley from the Tyne for Gijon. A new 10 strong class of 6,000dwt vessels are on order and when more newbuilds arrive the 8,000dwt class will be 13 strong.
More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - October 2009 Issue