Malacca Straits - Day 2
I came on duty this morning and a quick look around showed we were indeed in the thick of things. Chums everywhere, well colour me happy.
I only had to move over a little when we had chums each side and one coming up behind – she did not have room to move either way, so we hopped over behind a big bottom, she passed and we returned to our course. Not the widest or deepest track in the world......
The route the ‘oil chums’ take from west to east.
Wiki Says: The Strait of Malacca is a narrow, 850 km (530 mi) stretch of water between the Malay Peninsula (Peninsular Malaysia) and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is named after the Malacca sultanate that ruled over the archipelago between 1400 and 1511.
Economic Importance: From an economic and strategic perspective, the Strait of Malacca is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world.
The strait is the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, linking major Asian economies such as India, China, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. Over 94,000 vessels pass through the strait each year, carrying about one-fourth of the world's traded goods, including oil, Chinese manufactured products, and Indonesian coffee. About a quarter of all oil carried by sea passes through the Strait, mainly from Persian Gulf suppliers to Asian markets. In 2007, an estimated 13.7 million barrels per day were transported through the strait, increasing to an estimated 15.2 million barrels per day in 2011. In addition, it is also one of the world's most congested shipping choke points because it narrows to only 2.8 km (1.5 nautical miles) wide at the Phillips Channel (close to the south of Singapore).
The maximum size of a vessel that can pass through the Strait is referred to as Malaccamax. For some of the world's largest ships (mostly oil tankers), the Strait's minimum depth (25 metres or 82 feet) isn't deep enough. In addition, the next closest passageway (the Sunda Strait between Sumatra and Java) is even more shallow and narrow than Malacca. Therefore, these large ships must detour several thousand miles/kilometres and use the Lombok Strait, Makassar Strait, Sibutu Passage, or Mindoro Strait instead.
Malaccamax: is a naval architecture term for the largest size of ship capable of fitting through the 25-metre-deep (82 feet) Strait of Malacca. Bulk carriers and supertankers have been built to this size, and the term is chosen for very large crude carriers (VLCC). They can transport oil from Arabia to China. A typical Malaccamax tanker can have a maximum length of 333 m (1,093 feet), beam of 60 m (197 feet), draught of 20.5 m (67.3 feet), and tonnage of 300,000 DWT.
Shipping Hazards: Piracy has been a problem in the strait. There were about 25 attacks on vessels in 1994, 220 in 2000, and just over 150 in 2003 (one-third of the global total). After attacks rose again in the first half of 2004, regional navies stepped up their patrols of the area in July 2004. Subsequently, attacks on ships in the Strait of Malacca dropped, to 79 in 2005 and 50 in 2006. Recent reports indicate that attacks have dropped to near-zero levels in recent years.
There are 34 shipwrecks, some dating to the 1880’s, in the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS), the channel for commercial ships. These pose a collision hazard in the narrow and shallow strait.
Another risk is the yearly haze caused by raging bush fires in Sumatra. It can reduce visibility to 200 metres (660 feet), forcing ships to slow down in the busy strait. Ships longer than 350 metres (1,150 feet) routinely use the strait. All well and good aboard the faithful Beez Neez.
I went for an afternoon snooze as I will have to be very alert for my six to ten shift. Bear took a shine to this tug and tow. Very smart on her way to Kabil, Malaysia and despite her huge tow puttered by at 6.1 knots.
HHL Steadfast is an offshore tug / supply ship. This very tidy looking working girl is 76 metres in length, 17 metres wide and has a draught of 5.3 metres. Her DWT is 2009 tons, she was built in 2012 and flies the flag of Singapore.
I liked this chum because she was heading to In Bed......... Saddo. I know but you love me......
The first chum I had after my Zzzz overtook at an impressive 19.2 knots. There she was and minutes later it seemed was a dot on the horizon. Wan Hai 506 is 269 metres long, 32 metres wide with a draught of 12.4 metres and her Summer DWT 52,146 tons. She is on her way to Port Klang – just up the road.
Over in the afternoon haze to our left was one the ‘big girls’ YM Maturity, 299.2 metres in length, 40.11 metres wide with a draught of 9.5 metres. 59900 tons. Her maximum speed is 12.2 knots and she potters along at 11.8 knots. This six year old Malaysian lady flies under the Liberian flag – home port Monrovia.
My last chum before dark was Unity Explorer. 200 metres long, 32 metres wide with a draught of 13 metres, DWT 60,678 tons, this lady held a steady 11.3 knots as she glided by on her way to Krishnapatnam in India, due in on the 27th at half past midnight. Now to settle standing at the pram hood with a good audiobook – a great little story called The Wrong Door.
Christa Schulte as she had looked at anchor yesterday and as she passed by tonight. This two year old measures in at 255 metres in length, 373 metres wide, her draught is 14.3 metres and her DWT is 65,099 tons. Her top speed is 18.4 knots and she cruises at 16.9 but slowed a little to glide past Beez Neez. She is going to spend Christmas in West Africa.
ALL IN ALL A GLEEFUL DAY
PEPE LOVES HER CHUMS