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Friday, May 5, 2017

MV Rangatira stranded in Timaru for 2 years ordered to be sold !!

The name sounding more of a South Indian name attracted me, it eventually turned out to have no connection at all !

Timaru  is a port city in the southern Canterbury region of New Zealand, located 157 kilometres southwest of Christchurch and about 196 kilometres northeast of Dunedin on the eastern Pacific coast of the South Island. Timaru has been built on rolling hills created from the lava flows of the extinct Mt Horrible volcano, which last erupted many thousands of years ago. The result is that most of the main streets are undulating, a clear contrast with the flat landscape of the Canterbury Plains to the north. This volcanic rock is used for the construction of local "bluestone" buildings. Rangatiraare the hereditary Māori leaders of hapū;  people of great practical wisdom who held authority on behalf of the tribe and maintained boundaries between a tribe's land and that of other tribes.

A ship stranded in Timaru two years ago after failing a number of safety checks is to be sold to pay off more than $170,000 owed to PrimePort.A High Court Justice in New Zealand  has ordered the MV Rangatira, which has been docked in Timaru's port since it was detained by Maritime New Zealand in July 2015, to be sold.  In his judgement, Justice Nicholas Davidson said the ship was detained on the grounds that its "certificate of survey had expired", and because "no steps  taken to maintain Safe Ship Management/ Maritime Operator Safety Certificate". PrimePort went to the High Court to claim unpaid berthage fees of $750 a day between March 14, 2016, when the company that owned the ship went into liquidation, and November 17, when the ship was seized by the High Court.

In his judgement Justice Davidson ordered the ship to be valued and sold, and the outstanding amount of $177,750, interest of $25,091 and costs of $12,934 be paid to PrimePort.The ship had previously been operated by South East Shipping Ltd, owned by Timaru maritime industry veteran Kelvin Leslie.Leslie's firm had run the ship between Timaru and Owenga, in the Chatham Islands.

A report by liquidator Christopher Horton in April last year said cashflow difficulties resulted in Leslie going into a joint partnership with Norfolk Island Shipping while the Rangatira was for sale in 2015.When the Rangatira failed to sell on the open market, "disputes arose" between the two shipping companies and Norfolk Island Shipping applied to the High Court in Timaru to liquidate South East Shipping.At the time Horton said the Rangatira, which was the company's main asset, was not able to be sold by the liquidators because Leslie had a shipping mortgage and general security agreement over it.

However in its application to the High Court PrimePort asked for the Rangatira to be valued and sold.In the judgement Paul David QC said the Rangatira had "reached the end of its economic life and presented a risk to the Timaru port and the environment".

Sad end for Rangatira which in the last  15 and a half years,  had  made more than nine hundred voyages between Timaru and the Chatham Islands.  In the process she has travelled the equivalent distance of 11 times around the world.  She has shipped cargoes of sheep, cattle, wool, roading shingle, horses, milch cows, chickens, kitset sheds and tractors.  The trip in Aug last, proved to be her last voyage and now may begin  a new chapter in her life sailing on another ocean. 

Change of names or voyage perhaps is not new for her.  Built in 1970, the Bokul Ronne, as she was originally named, was one of a fleet of eight ships built to the same design in the shipyard at Ringkøbing in Denmark.  Following her launch, she spent years plying the coasts of Northern Europe carrying cargoes of Heineken beer.  Renamed the Jenka, she was then tasked with carrying explosives and dangerous good around the world.When Kelvin brought her she had just completed a voyage from Europe to Newcastle, Australia, with a cargo of steel pipes.The walls of the bridge are clad in polished Scandinavian timber. 

But despite her age, the Rangatira is stated to be  a good old boat, and she'll make her way through some tough gales yet.  After all, with one exception her sister ships are all still afloat, a testament to the skillful work of her designers and builders.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

5th May 2017.

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