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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bulker Shirakumo delivers at Soma Port in Fukushima prefecutre

-  ‘Carrying Coal to New Castle’ -  is an old phrase !

Soma was a ritual drink  of ancient times praised for its energizing qualities. Geographically, Soma is a coastal city located in Fukushima, Japan, approximately 30 kilometers South of Sendai. The Eastern, sea-side part of Sōma was inundated by devastating tsunami flood waters following a magnitude 9.0 earthquake off its coastline on March 11, 2011.  Sōma is about 43 kilometres (27 miles) north of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the site of the nuclear accident that followed the tsunami.   The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is a series of equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns, and releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, following  the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. 

Now there is news of Soma, Fukushima prefecture, New Castle and more……….. as the  87,000 DWT NYK-operated bulk carrier Shirakumo, arrived at the port of Soma’s wharf No. 5 in Fukushima prefecture on February 9, 2012.   This delivery assumes significance as Shirakumo carrying 63000 tonnes of coal from Newcastle, Australia,  is the first coal carrier to berth at the wharf since the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Bulk Carrier Shirakumo is a vessel belonging to Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK LINE)  The 229 M vessel with load of 63000 tonnes of coal has DWT of 87144 tonnes, Singapore flagged and was built in 2006.   The transit is from Newcastle, Australia, destined for the Shinchi thermal power station of Soma Kyodo Power Co. Ltd.  Japan’s resilience is to the fore as it is quickly recovering after the natural disaster.  Through the efforts of related parties, operations at the wharf could be resumed and more coal is expected to make its way into the region, resulting in a dramatic recovery of coal shipments into the area.

As a goodwill gesture, it is reported that a  poster containing encouraging messages from many citizens of Newcastle, including coal-exporting-related parties, was also delivered to Soma Kyodo Power Co. Ltd. by the vessel.

Newcastle Upon Tyne in England was the UK's first coal exporting port and has been well-known as a coal mining centre since the Middle Ages, although much diminished in that regard in recent years.  The much touted phrase 'Carrying coal to Newcastle'  only means a pointless activity - there being plenty there already.  Selling, carrying or taking coal(s) to Newcastle is an idiom of British origin describing a foolhardy or pointless action.  There cannot be any logic in sending something to a place which exports tonnes of the same material.

Newcastle is a metropolitan area in the Australian state of New South Wales; situated 162 kilometres (101 mi) NNE of Sydney, at the mouth of the Hunter River. This place is also known for its coal exporting harbour.  The present consignment emanated from this port, coming from the nearby coal mines of New South Wales.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.


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