It all started on June 9, 1971, when Claus-Peter Offen bought the small 1932gt, 12-year-old, Norwegian-built Annie Hugo Stinnes at an auction at Hamburg's District Court.
Today, the Hamburg-based CPO group has become one of the largest suppliers of chartered tonnage to the container market.
This week San Aurelio, one of the smaller capacity units of the fleet, will make its debut here.
The ship will be the sixth chartered vessel to call on the CMA CGM Port Kelang service that commenced here on August 18.
The Offen ships are owned by single-ship companies that include the build name of the vessel.
All belong to a number of classes up to 14.000teu that can be identified by their San or Santa build names.
They first made their appearance here on February 13, 2002, when P&O Nedlloyd Remuera, the first of the seven Samsung, 4112teu Albatross class vessels, arrived on its maiden voyage.
Later named Maersk Denia and Southampton Express, it has been operating as Santa Rafaela since late-2009.
To date, 20 units of the fleet (eight have also called under different names) have made 428 calls at Port Chalmers.
All have served on charters to P&O Nedlloyd, Maersk and Hamburg-Sud.
Also among them were five bearing Santa names.
Largest of the ships to call was Maersk Detroit, on a one-off visit on December 17, 2009. Owned by MS `Santa Pelagia' Offen Reederei GmbH, it is the largest vessel of its type to call here.
The 54,771gt vessel with a 5018teu capacity is also the port's longest visitor, with an overall length of 294.12m. The vessel has been on charter to Hamburg-Sud as Cap Serrat.
It was built by the Hyundai Samho yard in 2005.
And three other CPO vessels on charter to the same company that started calling here from July, 2008, were the Cap's Beaufort, Bianco and Byron, 2824teu units built by the Hyundai Mipo yard at Ulsan.
And it was from this yard that Reederei Claus-Peter Offen ordered their 12 "San A" class, Liberian-flag vessels that the 186.35m long San Aurelio will represent here this week.
All are 22,914gt, 28,170dwt vessels with a capacity of 1819 teu, including 462 reefers plugs.
Geared vessels equipped with three cranes each of 45 tonnes capacity, their service speed of 21 knots comes from a six-cylinder 19,620kW MAN B&W diesel.
San Aurelio, the 11th of the class to be built, was laid down on September 22, 2007, launched on January 29, and completed on March 17, 2008.
The first 6 delivered in 2007 were chartered by Hamburg-Sud and given Cap names.
Calling for the first time last week, Euro Max, currently serving on the Tanjung Pelepas hub service, only reverted to this, its build name, a couple of months ago.
The 32,284gt, 2732teu vessel commenced trading as P&O Nedlloyd Dubai, followed by periods as CSAV Rio Loa and CMA CGM Charcot.
Delivered from the Stocznia Gydnia yard on August 26, 2002, it is a sister ship to a recent visitor, Passat Spring, completed by the Stocznia Gdansk yard in 2006.
Both fly the Liberian flag with last week's being registered to the ownership of ms Euro Max Passat Schiff.
Here last week for logs on its first visit was White Cyclamen Marine's POS Knight.
It is another of the larger 31,895dwt design being built by the Hakodate Dockyard Company.
The ship has been in service since May 17, 2006, and is a sister to POS Jade and POS Leader, both of which have called here, and also entered service in 2006.
All are 19,796gt Hong Kong-registered vessels built for charter to STX Pan Ocean Shipping of Seoul.
And a 24,156gt, 53,341dwt vessel that made local when it arrived here on February 25, 2006, with the first ZPMC container crane, has been sold for demolition in China.
Built in Japan in 1976 and converted to a specialised heavy-lift carrier in 2001, Zhen Hua 5 fetched $US460 per tonne on its light displacement of 10,982 tonnes, or just over the $US5 million mark, not a bad price for this 35-year-old veteran.
Source: The Otago Daily Times. By Doug Wright. 17 October 2011http://www.odt.co.nz/news/business/182542/shipping-giant-had-humble-start