Saturday, May 28, 2011

Vale Brazil: The Biggest Ship in the World


Port Townsend, today. Back in December, I wrote about the coming of the world’s largest ships, the “Valemax400,000 dead weight ton iron ore carriers.

Delivered from Rongsheng Yards in China, March 1st, the first of the giants, Vale Brazil, has just departed Ponta da Madeira (PDM) at Sao Luis, Brazil, with her first revenue cargo of iron ore, destined for China.

IMO 9488918

Billed as the “Largest Ship in the World,” Vale (pronounced “Valley”) has taken a bold step forward in the highly competitive iron ore market, taking delivery of the first of 16 VLOC’s – Very Large Ore Carriers.

This allows Vale to control the total cost of delivering iron ore, from the mine complex at Carajas, via the mining railroad, the Estrada de Ferro Carajas (EFC,) through the massive terminal at PDM, thence on to their customer on their own ships.

The entire operation has been thoroughly documented in this blog. The three part series begins with "A Whale: The Rail Connection."

One of my readers in Brazil connected me with Eric Azevedo. Eric had posted photo’s of his cousin, on board the Vale Brazil, on his blog. His photos can hardly begin to convey the immense size of this vessel.

On her way to PDM, she made a photo op stop in Rio on May 7th. an opportunity for the Vale to show off their new vessel. The banner reads: "Vale Brazil. The Biggest Mining Ship in the World."

Vale is proudly showing off the Brazil at their web site. When you bring up the site, be sure to view all the tabs, most especially the tab “Differentials.” There you will find a two-minute “music video” displaying the vessel in all her glory!

The music video sound track is "She" sung by French singer Charles Aznavour. And there is a slide show feature in the upper left panel.

Checking Vale’s Vessel Position Report issued this morning (May 28) we see a familiar name. One of “A Whale’s” sister ships, the “D Whale.” She is scheduled to arrive at Ponte de Madeira (PDM) from Taranto, Italy, on June 10th.

Next we spot the “
Berge Stahl” who up to now was at the top of the food chain. She is scheduled to arrive at PDM, from Europort, on June 15th.

And, Vale’s shining star, the Vale Brazil, has just
completed taking on her first revenue load, 389,053 metric tons of iron ore. That is 30,000 tons more than the capacity of the Berge Stahl, and not even her full capacity of 400,000 metric tons.

China has completed one 400,000 dead weight ton terminal at Qingdao, and rushing to complete, as near as I can determine, at least two more such terminals. Fully laden, the Vale Brazil draws about 72 feet of water (like parking next to a six story high building!) The depth alongside the new terminal Pier 4 at PDM is 75 feet.

The Vale Brazil is en route to Qingdao, China. The voyage of 12,088 nautical miles will take approximately 36 days, arriving in Qingdao on July 11th.

I appreciate Eric Azevedo allowing me to share the photographs of the Vale Brazil. Although Eric’s Blog is written in Portuguese, translation is a snap with Babel Fish. Simply plug in the http address, select the “from” and “to” languages, and boom! You can share Eric’s love of seafaring!

Also to Cristiano Oliveira. Cristiano was a big help in providing photos and technical assistance on the “A Whale Rail” connection series.

[Ed Note: For the sake of brevity, I purposely avoided the subject of "biggest ships." But for the record, the longest ship to sail the seas was the Mont, at 1,504 feet. But she was reduced to razor blades at Alang India in 2010. The next longest ship still in service is the container ship Emma Maersk, at 1,302 feet. Then there are two "TI" tankers, the "Europe" and "Oceania" at 1,202 feet. Two sisters are not transporting crude, having been converted to FSO's - Floating Storage & Offshore loading vessels, the Africa and Asia.]

UPDATE: The Vale Brasil was stopped in Durban, South Africa. After a day or so, she was re-routed to Taranto, Italy, instead of Dalian, China. Go to: Biggest Ore Carrier Delivery to Biggest Steel Mill.

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