Hamburg Süd, presently ranking as number 13 among the world’s container lines and a specialist carrier for the trade between the northern and southern hemispheres, has taken delivery of the 9,669 teu container vessel CAP SAN NICOLAS. Equipped with onboard generators to supply up to 2,100 temperature controlled forty-foot containers with electricity, the new ship is now the world’s largest reefer container vessel. Hamburg Süd will deploy the Hyundai-built ship to its Far East to ECSA service ‘ASIA’, which the Germans and their Brazilian affiliate Alianca operate jointly with Maersk Line (‘ASAS’).
Until mid-2014, Hamburg Süd is to receive a total of ten sister vessels of the new type. The first six units will be owned by the carrier, whereas the last four ships have been ordered via the Greek non-operating owners Enesel, who will charter them to Hamburg Süd on a long term basis.
The ten new Cap San class ships are 333.20m long and 48.20m (19 rows) wide twin-isle ships with the superstructure located at the one-third forward position and the engine room and funnel at the three-quarters aft position. In some respect, they are bridging the gap between the more and more common 9,000 teu compact wide-beams of ca. 300m x 19 rows and the typical neo-panamaxes of 365m x 19 rows that usually carry some 13,000 teu. The comparison already shows that the ships’ 9,669 teu intake seems low and that a figure of 11,000 teu would seem more appropriate for ships of the Cap San series’ dimensions.
There are however a number of possible explanations for this. Firstly, the ships’ high reefer capacity requires more space for auxiliary engines and generators as well as additional bunker space for the extra fuel. Secondly, the ships are built with a relatively moderate draft of 14m, compared to the 15m or more of most neo-panamaxes. Last not least, Hamburg Sud might have taken a more conservative approach with the on-deck teu count than some other carriers.
The CAP SAN NICOLAS and her sisters will be powered by a MAN B&W-designed seven-cylinder main engine of the very economical S90-C9.2 super long stroke series. With a main engine output of only 40,670 kW and a moderate cruising speed of 21 knots, the ships are very fuel efficient vessels, designed for a slow-steaming environment.
Hamburg Süd’s new ship is the largest-ever vessel in the carrier’s fleet. Apart from being the highest-capacity reefer vessel, the CAP SAN NICOLAS will also be the largest container ship to serve South America.
The Cap-San names are traditional at Hamburg Süd and they were originally given to a series of six 11,000 dwt general cargo ships built in 1961 and 1962 at Deutschen Werft and Howaldtswerke of Hamburg and at Howaldtswerke at Kiel (which later merged to form the well-known HDW shipyards). Designed by the famous architect Caesar Pinnau, the sextet is generally considered as one of best-looking types of cargo ship. The youngest of the vessels, the CAP SAN DIEGO, has been preserved as a floating museum and is permanently moored in the inner port of Hamburg.
The CAP SAN NICOLAS was handed over this weekend, and she then performed an empty off-schedule voyage from the Hyundai shipyard at Ulsan to the Russian port of Vladivostok, where she bunkered. The little excursion allowed Hamburg Süd to take advantage of the relatively low bunker prices in the Russian northeast. From Vladivostok, the CAP SAN NICOLAS will position to Busan, where she begins commercial service.
She will soon be followed by the CAP SAN MARCO, which is also expected to join the Far-East to ECSA trade.