#RareCall – A rare appearance of a cargoship and aptly from Arklow Shipping took place recently with the vessel in its homeport of where Ireland’s largest shipowner’s have their head-office, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Afloat had monitored online the ship in question, the 4,950dwt Arklow Fortune that had arrived from Swansea last week. The berth occupied by the 90m ‘F’ class short-sea trader took place downriver from the nearby ASL head-office that overlooks the banks of the Avoca. The last call of a cargoship to the Co. Wicklow port took place four years ago and that of an ASL vessel a decade ago.
Of the record 50-strong Arklow Shipping fleet that Afloat counted following recent delivery of newbuild Arklow Vanguard, the historic presence of one of their distinctive ‘green’ hulled ships in the homeport was an opportunity not to be missed.
Arklow Fortune was built by Astilleros de Murueta SA in Spain from a series of 10 dry-cargoships that entered service between 2006 and 2011. In recent years there has been a rapid expansion of newbuilds and currently under construction but from Dutch yards. This modernisation fleet upgrade has notably contributed to the 50 ships in service.
The short-sea trader belongs to 31 ships that have Arklow as a port of registry and under the Irish flag. A balance of 19 ships fly the Dutch flag for Arklow Shipping Nederland B.V.
Under such unique circumstances the call of Arklow Fortune to the homeport required a dash down to observe the vessel before the opportunity was missed. This took place on Wednesday of this week, having had a gut feeling that the vessel was likely to depart. In which proved to be the case as revealed below.
While driving across the bridge spanning the Avoca, it was notable how high Arklow Fortune was on the water. This was because the Spanish built 2,998 gross tonnage ship was in ballast. No cargo was on board nor loaded as the vessel dating to 2007 had instead undergone repairs while alongside the North Quay.
On arrival that is to the South Quay so to enable a better view from the opposite bank, is was soon realised that Arklow Fortune was about to depart. The evidence was the white wave wash generated from the controllable pitch propeller.
So indeed the vessel was underway as it eased off the quay. At the same time a hatch cover was lowered into a closed position and beyond at the bow crew members were busy manning the mooring lines.
As Arklow Fortune cleared the harbour walls, the vessel headed on a course towards the most northerly of the seven Arklow Wind Farm turbines that lined the horizon. The next port of call involved a coastal passage of just over four hours to Dublin Port.
A cargo from the Boliden Tara Mines was loaded at the Zinc-Ore Jetty in Alexandra Basin and this is a typical bread and butter cargo for ASL. The ship has since completed loading and is currently off the Outer Hebrides, Scotland bound for Odda, Norway.