The National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) has announced the disposal of the 1983-built container roro vessel SAUDI TABUK. Bahri has therewith ended an era and sold the last unit of its well-known quartet of Swedish-built conros to an Indian shipbreaker.
The phase-out of the four 30-year old ships goes hand in hand with a fleet replacement program, under which Bahri is to receive a total of six slightly smaller conros from South Korea’s Hyundai Mipo Dockyard.
The original quartet consisted of the SAUDI ABHA, SAUDI DIRIYAH, SAUDI HOFUF and SAUDI TABUK, which Bahri (at the time trading as NSCSA) ordered at Kockums shipyard of Malmo, Sweden. The gearless vessels were delivered between January and October of 1983 as hull numbers 585 to 588. With a length of 248.72m and a panamax beam of 32.31m, the ships were among the largest conros of their time and they offered space for 2,025 teu in addition to spacious vehicle garages. The roro decks were served by a large slewing ramp aft and by internal ramps. Powered by a 7 cylinder B&W Gotaverken diesel engine with 20,015 kW, the four ships had a service speed of 18.5 knots.
The vessels’ mainstay was NSCSA-Bahri’s container roro service between the Middle East and the North American East Coast.
A rare feat in this day and age, the four sisters served together under the same names for the same owners and operators over a period of three decades. A truly successful career and testament of the high quality that Kockums delivered.
While Kockums still exists as a company, the Mamlo shipyard site has since been closed and converted into a new residential and business district. The giant gantry crane under which the four conros were built was dismantled in the summer of 2002 and shipped to Ulsan, after being sold to Hyundai Heavy Industries for the symbolic price of USD 1. Ironically, the crane now stands just a stone throw from the docks in which Bahri’s six new vessels are built.