18 January 2012

Jaguar on fast track for scrap:

The Jaguar, its bridge, hatch covers, & derricks already gone, will be reduced to scrap metal this month. 
A ship is being scrapped at Lyttelton for the first time in a project that may lead to more demolition work at the port.

The 26-year-old coaster Jaguar, which was brought to New Zealand in 2009 by Black Robin Freighters to serve the Chatham Islands from Timaru, will be put into dry dock next week where it will be cut up into about 450 tonnes of scrap metal.

Lyttelton engineering firm Stark Bros, better known for building and repairing boats and ships, is undertaking the project.

"We are not aware of a ship that has gone into the dry dock and not come out before," said CEO Andrew Stark.

"If it works out OK, there are other ships within New Zealand that we could work on, too - but certainly not the Rena!"

Starks have been stripping out the Jaguar since October and equipment including windows, vents, electric motors, winches, compressors, water maker, and oily water separator have been removed.

The ship's Callesen diesel engine was lifted out yesterday to be sold complete or for parts.

"Anything we can sell or think might be able to be sold, we've hung on to," said Mr Stark.

It might not be as dramatic as the Rena or the Costa Concordia, but there is a sad tale behind the fate of the 63m long Jaguar, completed in 1985 at a Danish shipyard.

Black Robin bought the ship late in 2008 and took it over at Cartagena, Colombia, but a pre-purchase survey of the ship made at Colon had overlooked many deficiencies, and the company was faced with costly and uneconomic repairs.

To complicate the situation further, Black Robin went into receivership on the heels of its finance company South Canterbury Finance.

Starks were a major creditor and held a possessory lien after making repairs to the ship, and eventually bought it last year from the receiver for just $1.

Mr Stark said his company was just hoping to break even on the cost of demolishing the ship.

"If it is debt zero, it will be considered to be a relatively successful project."

It might lead to follow-up work, he said. It was not environmentally sound to tow out to sea and sink vessels like this, and if this project went well and was completed efficiently and safely, it might lead to more deconstruction work at the port even though the cost was high because of environmental and safety standards.

"There are not a lot of positives about what's happened with the Jaguar, but we are trying to turn it into a positive," he said. "We are doing something that hasn't been done at Lyttelton before, and we hope we can do it again."

In dock the ship will be cut up over 10 to 14 days into two to four tonne pieces, which will then go to Sockburn company Metalcorp NZ to be further reduced.

Source: The Star, Canterbury. By Nick Tolerton. 18 January 2012

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