E-Whale on the horizon

The elusive E-Whale

E-Whale on the horizon
E-Whale on the horizon

E-Whale is an ore and oil carrier, built in 2010 and registered in Monrovia, that has been at anchor in Table Bay, Cape Town, for over two years (since April 2012). The ship has been arrested because of debts of her owners, and her papers have been seized. She has a length of 340 metres and a beam of 60 metres, with a crew of 17 (not all of whom may be on board at this stage).

Table Mountain and E-Whale
Table Mountain and E-Whale

The vessel has a freeboard (the height from the sea surface to the deck) of over 30 metres, making it very exciting to pass close to her in a small boat (as we did, on our way back to OPBC after the Freedom Swim). We felt very small. To gain access to the deck when the ship is not in port, a crane is used to lift passengers on board while they are seated in a net. She is completely empty at the moment and riding very high out of the water, so her rudder is visible at the stern, partially protruding from the water.

E-Whale in Table Bay
E-Whale in Table Bay

Only one of the two anchors at her bow was deployed, but the following day’s weather forecast entailed a north westerly gale, which I am sure would have necessitated additional precautions.

Bow and anchors of E-Whale
Bow and anchors of E-Whale

She has a distinctive whale marking on her funnel, its cuteness somewhat at odds with the industrial aura projected by the rest of the vessel!

Whale marking on the funnel of E-Whale
Whale marking on the funnel of E-Whale

E-Whale has sister ships A-B-C-D-F-, G- and H-Whale, all of which are oil tankers. The company which owns them, Taiwan Maritime Transportation (TMT), has filed for bankruptcyA-Whale attempted to help skim oil pollution off the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, but doesn’t seem to have been up to the job.

Just this week E-Whale (which Tony pronounces “E-Whaley”) was sold for $61 million. We will miss seeing her on the AIS map!

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Clare

Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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