February 1977 - Maritime Reporter and Engineering News

PFEL Requests CDS To Convert Four Vessels At A Cost Of $24 Million

Pacific Far East Line, Inc., One Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, Calif., has applied to the Maritime Administration for construction-differential subsidy (CDS) to aid in the reconstruction of four existing Lighter- Aboard-Ship (LASH) vessels to full containerships to carry 20 and 40-foot containers in the trans-Pacific trade.

The company plans to have its four remaining LASH vessels (Thomas E. Cuffe, Golden Bear, Japan Bear, and Pacific Bear) converted to full containerships with capacities of 1,740 twentyfoot equivalent units each. Estimated cost for the reconstruction is $6 million per vessel. Originally built at Avondale Shipyards, Inc., New Orleans, La., in 1971 and 1972, the vessels presently are rated at 29,749 dwt and have capacities of 62 LASH barges each.

The construction work is scheduled to begin this spring. The converted vessels will be operated in PFEL's subsidized service between California and the Far East (Trade Route 29).

Cargo moving beyond the Hong Kong area is to be relayed from the main-line vessels to feeder vessels in Hong Kong or Taiwan.

The company plans to acquire three existing vessels to provide this feeder service. They may also serve the Philippines.

PFEL also has filed a series of amendments to its application with the Maritime Subsidy Board for a new 20-year operating-differential subsidy (ODS) contract to cover the operation of its vessels on Trade Routes Nos. 27 and 29.

If it is awarded a renewal of its 20-year ODS, PFEL plans to contract for the construction of a fifth vessel with cargo-carrying capabilities comparable to those of the converted LASH vessels.

This ship would operate on the main-line service in conjunction with the four converted LASH vessels. When the new vessel enters service, PFEL intends to extend its main-line service beyond Hong Kong to include the Singapore area. The relay operations would then be transferred to that area.

Other stories from February 1977 issue


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