Monthly Archives: December 2013

Sweden’s Tall Ship ‘Götheborg’

Tall ships are the last few living objects of ages past, like hands with long arms protruding from the past to our times, like long piers coming to our life from the sea of another epoch to teach us how things and life used to be back then, to narrate us with the stories, the passions and the aspirations of our collective progenitors and the people who used to ‘man’ them and their women and societies waiting for them back at their homily hearth.  Given that tall ships in many respects were the absolute epitome of their times in terms of man-made structures depending on cutthroat navigation, engineering and business enterprising that were meant to trade at the cultural intersections of a much smaller world on a much bigger globe then, with their sleek lines, their towering masts, their shapely hulls and their now unnecessary but highly romantic sails, it is no surprise that tall ships seem to always draw the attention of the touristic public. As ever, it is not cheap to maintain such vessels shipshape, but several governments and non-profit organizations have taken it upon themselves to selectively preserve some of these vessels in the name of history, national pride, education and maritime tradition.

The Swedish tall ship „Götheborg” will be our honored flagship in a series of postings on tall ships that still proudly crisscross the ocean in mostly educational and cultural missions these days, much to the delight of citizenry of visiting ports.

„Götheborg” Stern view in 2010 (Image source: Wiki Commons)

„Götheborg” Stern view in 2010 (Image source: Wiki Commons)

The modern day „Götheborg” got under planning and construction in 1994, ten years after the shipwreck of the original vessel was discovered in 1984. The construction period was long in the gestation since no plans of the original vessel were preserved and the organization for building the vessel, “The Swedish Ship Götheborg” organization (Ostindiefararen Götheborg), opted for traditional and historically accurately means of building the vessel rather than deploying modern methods of marine construction and engineering.  The vessel was built at one of the four active shipyards in 18th century Stockholm Eriksberg yard at Terra Nova In Stockholm. Her construction cost (including marine archeological surveys and research) is estimated at more than $40 million, half of it procured by the Swedish government and the rest from individual donations and sponsorships.

Götheborg’s Sailing Plan (Image source: The Swedish Ship Götheborg)

Götheborg’s Sailing Plan (Image source: The Swedish Ship Götheborg)

„Götheborg”, world’s largest operational wooden sailing vessel today, is a full-rigged, squared-sailed vessel with three masts and three decks and twenty cabins for a total crew of sixty; she has 26 sails, including the studdingsails, made of canvas, and 1,964 m2 total sail area. The mainmast and the foremast have topgallant sails, topsails and courses. The aftermast has a topsail and a Latin type spanker sail. In the bow is the bowsprit with a jib boom, and hanging below that are two more square sails: the spritsail and the sprit-topsail. The hull is 47 meters in length with 11-meter beam, 5.5 meters freeboard and 47 meters air draft. As a matter of comparison, Nelson’s man-of-war flagship HMS „Victory” launched in 1765 had a hull 57 meters length and about 5,500 m2 sail area.

More than 3,000 m2 of oak forest and one thousand oak logs had to be harvested from southern Sweden and Denmark to make the hull, and pine, spruce and elm were used for masts, jibs, spars, decks and blocks. The vessel is a faithful replica of the original East Indiamen with the exception that the lower and upper decks have 10 cm more headroom (sailing ships had their decks in short proximity that would not allow for people to walk upright).  The vessel also has received the benefit of modern technology and several amenities in certain respects, such as two folding propellers and two 550 hp engines, power generator and power circuits, high-pressure sprinklers for fire safety, modern kitchen with fridges and freezers, water generators for producing drinking water, ventilation, air conditioning and a complete laundry room. Modern amenities are concealed within the ship creating ‘two ships in one’ and allowing for the vessel to be classed by DNV for ocean going navigation and keeping abreast with current maritime safety regulations.

Sweden was trading with China over terrain through the Silk Road still several decades after the other European powers (English, French, Dutch, Danish and Portuguese) had established their East India companies and had launched commercial fleets of imposing wooden sailing vessels (“East Indiamen”) to trade tea, silk, spices and porcelain, the hot commodities of the time, and make fortunes in the process.  England in 1600 and the Netherlands in 1602 were the fist to establish their trading companies (East India Company and Dutch East India Company, respectively) for trading with the exotic Orient, while Sweden was last to the game in 1732 with the Swedish East India Company (Svenska Ostindiska Companiet, “SOIC”). Although small by European standards, the company was huge in Sweden at the time and had tremendous impact on the insular Swedish society; it is said that SOIC has been the most profitable company in Sweden ever. Between 1732 and 1813, the company undertook 132 expeditions with 38 ships, eight of which that were perished. Under the company’s royal charter, SOIC could employ as many vessels as needed, but all had to be built in Sweden, flying the Swedish flag and carrying Swedish documents; all expeditions had to originate from and terminate at the port of Gothenburg, where all imported goods were auctioned upon arrival; the state was receiving a flat fee per expedition form the company plus imposed percentage tax on the sales of the goodies. Although the company enjoyed secrecy for this roster of shareholders and its finances, it is believed than many voyages generated more than 60% return on invested capital – each voyage was a standalone project – and it’s said that several modern wealthy Swedish families derive their status and original wealth from the SOIC.

The first vessel of SOIC, the „Friedericus Rex Sueciae”, sailed from Gothenburg on 9 February 1732 and reached Canton (Guangzhou), the main port of China at the time, 181 days later; on her return voyage, she was arrested by the Dutch between Java and Sumatra, and was brought to Batavia (Dutch colonies in Indonesia) on suspicion of piracy (for a vessel flying the Swedish flag in the Pacific Ocean was not a common sight after all, but likely the Dutch were protecting their ‘franchise’, should we say), and eventually the vessel was released unharmed; the vessel reached the port of Gothenburg in late summer 1733, eighteen whole months after her commencing of the expedition; the first trip was very successful, even by today’s private equity standards, as it delivered 25% dividend on capital invested.

„Götheborg” Model at Jakarta's Maritime Museum (Image source: Basil M Karatzas)

„Götheborg” Model at Jakarta’s Maritime Museum (Image source: Basil M Karatzas)

The original vessel „Götheborg” was built in Terra Nova in Gothenburg in 1738, six years after the royal charter of SOIC. She completed two successful uneventful round voyages to China. Her third voyage took thirty months to develop, including a five-month wait period in Java for the right winds to sail the vessel westerly, and finally, in September 1745 with her cargo holds laden to the beams with tea, silk, porcelain, tutanego (zinc), spices and much more, within sight of the coast and with pilot onboard, the „Götheborg” run aground on well charted rock Knipla Hunnebådan, around 900 metres west of Nya Älvsborgs Fästning, started taking water and finally sunk. Thankfully, there was no loss of life and some of the cargo was partially salvaged. Despite the loss of the vessel and most of the cargo, it’s said that her last voyage still generated 17% return for her investors.

The Swedish Underwater Archaeology Society’s Gothenburg group has undertaken several exploratory missions to the site of the shipwreck since 1984, and with most of the wreck buried in the seabed, extensive marine archaeological surveys took place every summer until 1992, to retrieve sizeable pieces of her hull, cargo and crucial information to build a faithful replica of the vessel. It took almost ten year from keel laying to completing the modern copy, always using traditional shipwright means, and her launching took place on Sweden’s National Day on June 3rd 2003 in the presence of the Swedish Royal Family. The maiden voyage of the vessel in October 2005 could only have one destination (China!) after calling ports of the original route in Cadiz, Spain, Cape Town, South Africa and Jakarta, Indonesia. It is said that the state visit of Chinese president Hu Jintao to Stockholm in June 2007 was planned to coincide with the return of the vessel to Gothenburg from her maiden voyage to China.

„Götheborg” next expedition commences in March 2014 from Gothenburg with expected arrival to Quanzhou, China on October 1st, China’s National Day.

© 2013 Basil M Karatzas & Karatzas Marine Advisors & Co.  All Rights Reserved.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:  Access to this blog signifies the reader’s irrevocable acceptance of this disclaimer. No part of this blog can be reproduced by any means and under any circumstances, whatsoever, in whole or in part, without proper attribution or the consent of the copyright and trademark holders of this website. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that information herewithin has been received from sources believed to be reliable and such information is believed to be accurate at the time of publishing, no warranties or assurances whatsoever are made in reference to accuracy or completeness of said information, and no liability whatsoever will be accepted for taking or failing to take any action upon any information contained in any part of this website.  Thank you for the consideration.

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The Light Of The Season!

From the human despair of the coldest, longest, darkest nights of the winter in the Northern Hemisphere comes the celebration of Light from Santa Lucia’s bright candlelights and the enlightened birth of Jesus Christ under the Star of Bethlehem; the longing for warmth and light, the prospect of birth and the hope of a young life, the dawn of longer and brighter days of a promising future…

What better way to celebrate the Spirit of the Season in shipping but with the physical lights that kept the maritime industry safely afloat for many many centuries! Lights of an age past when sailing was a hard-earned skill and deplete of electronics, when vessels needed every guidance possible to stay away from dangerous shoals, shallow rocks and protruding promontories.

May the Light of the Season guide us all in the shipping industry to a brighter future with sustainably higher freight rates for vessels trading under ‘fair winds and following seas’!

Sul mare luccica l’astro d’argento.                 On the sea glitters the silver star                               Placida è l’onda, prospero è il vento.             Gentle the waves, favorable the winds.                 Venite all’agile barchetta mia,                        Come into my nimble little boat,                           Santa Lucia! Santa Lucia!                                Saint Lucy! Saint Lucy!

Longstone Lighthouse in the Farnes, UK (Image source: Wiki Commons)

Longstone Lighthouse in the Farnes, UK (Image source: Wiki Commons)

Bremerhaven: Geestemünde Mole Nord Lighthouse (image source: courtesy of World of Lighthouses)

Bremerhaven: Geestemünde Mole Nord Lighthouse (image source: courtesy of World of Lighthouses)

Lighthouse Lens, Hamburg Maritime Museum (Image source: Basil M Karatzas)

Lighthouse Lens, Hamburg Maritime Museum (Image source: Basil M Karatzas)

Plum Beach Lighthouse, Rhode Island (Image source: Basil M Karatzas)

Plum Beach Lighthouse, Rhode Island (Image source: Basil M Karatzas)

Western Jamaica: South Negril Point Lighthouse (Image source: World of Lighthouses)

Western Jamaica: South Negril Point Lighthouse (Image source: World of Lighthouses)

Stockholm Archipelago: Öja: Landorts Fyr (Oldest in Sweden, built in 1658; Image source: World of Lighthouses)

Stockholm Archipelago: Öja: Landorts Fyr (Oldest in Sweden, built in 1658; Image source: World of Lighthouses)

Orkney islands / Helliar Holm Lighthouse (Image source: courtesy of World of Lighthouses)

Orkney islands / Helliar Holm Lighthouse (Image source: courtesy of World of Lighthouses)

St Mary's Island, Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, UK (Image source: courtesy of www.panoramio.com)

St Mary’s Island, Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, UK (Image source: courtesy of http://www.panoramio.com)

Inagua island: Great Inagua Lighthouse, Bahamas (Image source: courtesy of World of Lighthouses)

Inagua island: Great Inagua Lighthouse, Bahamas (Image source: courtesy of World of Lighthouses)

Varne Light Vessel, Dover Straight, UK (Image source: World of Lighthouses)

Varne Light Vessel, Dover Straight, UK (Image source: World of Lighthouses)

Corfu: Faros Sidero, Greece (Image source: World of Lighthouses)

Corfu: Faros Sidero, Greece (Image source: World of Lighthouses)

Kanchanapisek Lighthouse, Promthep Cape, built 1996 (Image source: Wiki Commons)

Kanchanapisek Lighthouse, Promthep Cape, built 1996 (Image source: Wiki Commons)

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, N Carolina (Image source: Wiki Commons)

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, N Carolina (Image source: Wiki Commons)

Eastbourne: Beachy Head Lighthouse (Image source: courtesy of World of Lighthouses)

Eastbourne: Beachy Head Lighthouse (Image source: courtesy of World of Lighthouses)

© 2013 Basil M Karatzas & Karatzas Marine Advisors & Co.  All Rights Reserved.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:  Access to this blog signifies the reader’s irrevocable acceptance of this disclaimer. No part of this blog can be reproduced by any means and under any circumstances, whatsoever, in whole or in part, without proper attribution or the consent of the copyright and trademark holders of this website. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that information herewithin has been received from sources believed to be reliable and such information is believed to be accurate at the time of publishing, no warranties or assurances whatsoever are made in reference to accuracy or completeness of said information, and no liability whatsoever will be accepted for taking or failing to take any action upon any information contained in any part of this website.  Thank you for the consideration.

S&P Weekly Report

Please note that our latest sale & purchase report has been posted on our sistership website at Karatzas Shipbrokers Register on December 15th, 2013. 

Please follow this link for updated info!

MV CAPE PROVENCE

MV CAPE PROVENCE (Image source: courtesy of http://www.shipspotting.com)

© 2013 Basil M Karatzas & Karatzas Marine Advisors & Co.  All Rights Reserved.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:  Access to this blog signifies the reader’s irrevocable acceptance of this disclaimer. No part of this blog can be reproduced by any means and under any circumstances, whatsoever, in whole or in part, without proper attribution or the consent of the copyright and trademark holders of this website. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that information herewithin has been received from sources believed to be reliable and such information is believed to be accurate at the time of publishing, no warranties or assurances whatsoever are made in reference to accuracy or completeness of said information, and no liability whatsoever will be accepted for taking or failing to take any action upon any information contained in any part of this website.  Thank you for the consideration.

City Of Ships!

City of ships!                                                                                                                                                   (O the black ships! O the fierce ships!                                                                                                        O the beautiful, sharp-bow’d steam-ships and sail-ships!)                                                                City of the world! (for all races are here;                                                                                                 All the lands of the earth make contributions here;)                                                                           City of the sea! city of hurried and glittering tides!                                                                              City whose gleeful tides continually rush or recede, whirling in and out, with eddies and foam City of wharves and stores! city of tall façades of marble and iron!                                               Proud and passionate city! mettlesome, mad, extravagant city!                                                       Spring up, O city! not for peace alone, but be indeed yourself, warlike!                                           Fear not! submit to no models but your own, O city!                                                                                Behold me! incarnate me, as I have incarnated you!                                                                                I have rejected nothing you offer’d me—whom you adopted, I have adopted;                               Good or bad, I never question you—I love all—I do not condemn anything;                                       I chant and celebrate all that is yours—yet peace no more;                                                                 In peace I chanted peace, but now the drum of war is mine;                                                          War, red war, is my song through your streets, O city!                                                                                                                                            Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman was born in Long Island, New York, in 1819 to a barely literate mother of Dutch origin and a hard disciplinarian carpenter father of English lineage. The second of nine children, he never had a chance to receive formal schooling, but he was a voracious reader, especially of the classics, throughout his life. He made his living initially as a teacher and later as an editor and journalist, including time spent in the ante bellum South and the slavery-driven New Orleans society around 1848.  After returning to the North, he started writing poetry with his magnum opus being Leaves of Grass (1855). The poem ‘City of Ships’ comes from the Drum-Taps section of the collection, and the poem is a direct, nevertheless disguised, call to arms for the City of New York to rally behind President Abraham Lincoln against slavery during the Civil War. In the last verse ‘War, red war, is my song through your streets, O city!’ his war cry is clear to the ‘proud and passionate city’ to ‘submit to no models but her own’ to ‘love all’. The cause is never mentioned explicitly, but the poet calls for the city to ‘incarnate’ him, to give him her body, the body of a ‘city of the world’ where ‘all races are here’.

The main point of the poem notwithstanding, the description of the city of New York is of much greater interest to us in the poem. The marine-inspired analogy of ships to describe and define the city is both a practical but also poetic referral to the epitome of the American ‘melting pot’ in the city of New York: a port city made of almost every culture on earth and a city that has been the unofficial capital of the world ever since the end of the 19th century.

The city has been one of the most important ports of the United States since the American Revolution for cargo, for passengers, for pleasure. Unlike the fateful RMS „Titanic” which never made it to her maiden voyage to dock at Pier 54 on the west side of Manhattan (the canopy still stands, sort of nostalgically waiting for a ‘prodigal’ child to return), many types of ships from ‘black’ to ‘fierce’ to ‘sharp-bow’d steam-ships’ and ‘sail-ships’ from ‘all the lands of the earth’ called the harbor of New York ‘and made contributions here’. It’s not the people from ‘all the lands of the earth’ who ‘made contributions here’ but first it was their ships who brought them here, their trading ships, and ‘sailing ships’, their ‘beautiful ships’ who moved cargo around and people, and effectively cultures and habits and knowledge. It’s the epitome of the port city with the many cultures and her open-minded culture to welcome newcomers and tolerate their customs and nourish their cultures.

Isn’t it surprising that the most interesting and colorful and fun cities in the world are ‘port cities’, and the most interesting, colorful and fun neighborhoods in the world are around the port of the port cities of the world?

New York is just any other of the port cities of the world, just more interesting, and colorful and fun! City of ‘gleeful tides’, ‘city of the wharves’ that has built the ‘city of tall façades of marble and iron’ with the trading and financial power! A century and a half since the poem was written, the power of the port city comes back to support and invest in the ships that brought all the power to the city; the human power of the ‘all races here’ who built a ‘proud and passionate’ culture who afforded ‘tall façades of marble and iron’!

City of the Sea! (Image source: Karatzas Marine Advisors & Co.)

City of the Sea! (Image source: Karatzas Marine Advisors & Co.)

Although no much shipping and shipping operations take place in the City of New York any more, there is little doubt that the city is as important as ever to shipping. Major financial institutions are based here who have financed vessels in the last decades, but most prominently in the last few years. Possibly Piraeus or Singapore matter more to shipping operations these days, but the place for innovative and attractive and plentiful financing in shipping is right here in this city (and by association in this country.) For equity and debt and mezzanine financing and sale-and-lease-back transactions and equity injections and strategic alliances and joint ventures. The ‘city of tall façades of marble and iron’ has always been attentive to her children, the ships that built her! Isn’t it a coincidence that the greatest financier of all times (J.P. Morgan) based in New York was the beneficial owner of the most famous ship of the world, the RMS „Titanic” (through his ownership of the International Mercantile Marine Company)?

City of Sea with S/Y Arabela (Image source: Karatzas Marine Advisors & Co.)

City of Sea with S/Y Arabela (Image source: Karatzas Marine Advisors & Co.)

We were reminded of the poem ‘City of Ships’ while reading an article in the Financial Times recently trying to assess the legacy of New York City’s outgoing mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Under his leadership, a lot of investments have taken place or are planned to be developed in the coming decade about New York’s waterfronts.  Times have changed and not many ships call to the New York harbor any more (but still, the seventh biggest port in the US by volume of trade) and the RMS „Titanic” will never dock here, but still the seafront is very important to the city and its culture; it’s about nourishing the culture and the cultures that built this ‘mettlesome, mad, extravagant city’!

We were also reminded of the poem ‘City of the Ships’ while were taking a stroll the other day by our office in the World Financial Center in downtown Manhattan and seeing on the waterfront by the Hudson River Walt Whitman’s inscription about the ‘City of the Sea’ where a sleek sailing vessel was docked next to a snow-covered dock!

Oh, New York! ‘City of the Sea!’

© 2013 Basil M Karatzas & Karatzas Marine Advisors & Co.  All Rights Reserved.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:  Access to this blog signifies the reader’s irrevocable acceptance of this disclaimer. No part of this blog can be reproduced by any means and under any circumstances, whatsoever, in whole or in part, without proper attribution or the consent of the copyright and trademark holders of this website.Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that information herewithin has been received from sources believed to be reliable and such information is believed to be accurate at the time of publishing, no warranties or assurances whatsoever are made in reference to accuracy or completeness of said information, and no liability whatsoever will be accepted for taking or failing to take any action upon any information contained in any part of this website.  Thank you for the consideration.

S&P Weekly Report

Please note that our latest sale & purchase report has been posted on our sistership website at Karatzas Shipbrokers Register on December 2nd, 2013.

Please follow this link for updated info!

MT TORM ANABEL

MT TORM ANABEL

© 2013 Basil M Karatzas & Karatzas Marine Advisors & Co.  All Rights Reserved.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:  Access to this blog signifies the reader’s irrevocable acceptance of this disclaimer. No part of this blog can be reproduced by any means and under any circumstances, whatsoever, in whole or in part, without proper attribution or the consent of the copyright and trademark holders of this website.Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that information herewithin has been received from sources believed to be reliable and such information is believed to be accurate at the time of publishing, no warranties or assurances whatsoever are made in reference to accuracy or completeness of said information, and no liability whatsoever will be accepted for taking or failing to take any action upon any information contained in any part of this website.  Thank you for the consideration.