There are occasions when a ship arrives and it is difficult to find out its background. In this instance the vessel in question arrived as the Walker but had previously been to Montrose in August, 2020 as the Paulin B. Built in 1994 originally as the Keret in the shipyard of Arminius -Werke GmbH located at Bodenwerder-Weser, her builders then being described as having the capacity to construct “new ships and repair both seagoing vessels as well as inland waterway barges”.
Arriving inwards from Teesport, her crew members consisted of Georgian and Turkish nationals. Her port of registry showed Port Vila and she flew the state flag of Vanuatu, an island group in the Pacific Ocean. Her first owners were the White Sea & Onega Shipping Company based at St. Petersburg, thus at one time having flown the red, blue and white of Russia.
The island group of present day Vanuatu had been discovered by a Spanish expedition led by a Portuguese navigator back in 1606. In the 1880s France and the UK claimed part of the archipelago and in 1906 agreed a joint administration to manage the New Hebrides as the islands by then were called. In 1980, the Republic of Vanuatu was formed and today the state is a member of the UN and the Commonwealth of Nations. It is recognised by some sources as a “tax haven”.
With a length of 82 metres and a deadweight of 2,626 tons, the Walker had also flown the flag of Panama during her 27 years or so of trading.
During November two very similar ships from the same shipyard, sailed in three weeks apart, their “birthplace” 20 years ago being Santierul Naval Tulcea in Romania on the River Danube delta east of Braila.
Both were registered at St. John’s, Antigua & Barbuda, as is often the case with ships of German ownership. With a length of 90 metres and 2,500-tons deadweight they are typical of the type of short sea cargo vessel currently frequenting the port of Montrose.
They were among a multiple order for nine similar ships placed by companies based at Emden, Germany. Both the Zeus and Thebe were of a standard design with a low air draft of 6.5 metres in ballast conditions making them ideally suited for the Rhine, Seine and other rivers in Europe and also for inland waterways such as the Albert Canal in Belgium. They are reported to be of the Sunship Eurocoaster type.
November trading levels can vary considerably from year to year depending on weather conditions. This year relatively calm and mainly mild days allowed planned cargo handling to continue on schedule, that is until Storm Arwen took a hand in things, with a northerly front driven by gale force winds causing damage to property and seriously interrupting power supplies in many areas.
During the period under review a miscellany of coasters and short sea traders sailed in and out of the port mainly in agribulk trades. Some arrivals had been seen recently for example; Victress, registered at Inverness, becoming a common sight on the North Quay; Prima Donna, port of registry Borga (Finland); Tinno, an older Wilson vessel built by Bodewes Scheepswerven at their shipyard at Westerbroek in The Netherlands; also Eems Cobalt, Hendrik S, Swe Freighter, Rix Bay and Katre. Towards early December, their berths were taken up by Ida and Wilson Dirdal, this last-named vessel arriving a few hours prior to the Susanne departing. The latter’s port of registry caught the eye - Spijk, as did her sky blue-coloured hull, similar to that of the Prima Donna, which brightened up some early dark winter days.
Caption: Afternoon departure of the Susanne bound for Eemshaven.