Representatives from Oceanex Inc. were in Flensburg, Germany last week for the cutting of first steel of what will become the largest Canadian flag container/roll-on roll-off (Con/Ro) ship. This 19,500 dwt, twenty knot, heavy ice-class vessel, to be named the Oceanex Connaigra, is custom designed for Oceanex’s service and equipped for worldwide trade. It will be 210 metres in length and will have a carrying capacity of 11,000 tonnes of containerized payload on the upper deck, equivalent to 940 TEUs, together with up to 95 trailers on the lower decks. On voyages with RoRo traffic only, the vessel can accommodate 1,370 autos using its full 6,200 lane metres, or 155 53-foot road trailers.

According to Oceanex Executive Chairman, Captain Sid Hynes, “construction of this unique ship represents an investment of more than $100 million, demonstrating Oceanex’s commitment to meeting the needs of our customers throughout Eastern Canada and particularly the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Oceanex Connaigra has been designed to meet the company’s anticipated growth for the next 30 years.”

Oceanex Connaigra is being built by Flensburger Schiffbau GmbH & Co. KG of Germany, recognized for its high quality construction, for staying within budget and delivering on time. Peter Sierk, President and CEO for the Flensburger Shipyard states that “the vessel will be one of the most modern, innovative, environmentally friendly and adaptable ConRo ships in the world. Leading the industry, this eco-friendly vessel will be equipped with a dry scrubber exhaust gas cleaning system for its main engines and diesel generators and thus exceed the requirements of the proposed restrictive air emissions regulations. In fact, the vessel is classed by DNV as a ‘clean ship,’ which is constructed to higher environmental standards, particularly with respect to air emissions.”

The upper deck of the Oceanex Connaigra is designed for conventional lift-on/lift-off container ship operation and is able to accommodate different size containers, including the Oceanex high cube 53-foot units. Liftable ramps provide access to all five roro decks. Notably, the ship is uniquely designed with a 40-foot wide stern ramp to accommodate over-dimensional project cargo that can weigh several hundred tonnes, which Hynes states is critically important to construction and development projects throughout Atlantic Canada. The addition of a side ramp and starboard side door promotes more efficient and faster loading and unloading of automobiles.

The vessel is equipped with leading edge technology, such as the latest generation engines using a common fuel management system to provide high efficiency and smokeless operations. With the extreme weather conditions of the North Atlantic, three passive anti-roll stability tanks and a gyro-controlled active fin stabilizer system have been added to ensure cargo safety and crew comfort along with the highest quality European standard accommodation for the ship’s crew.

The Oceanex Connaigra is expected to enter service in Newfoundland in the fall of 2013 at which time it will join the current Oceanex fleet composed of the MV Cabot, the Oceanex Sanderling, and the Oceanex Avalon.

Oceanex Inc., a privately owned Short Sea Shipping company, is a leading player in the East Coast transportation industry. Oceanex provides full inter-modal transportation services between Mexico, the United States, and mainland Canada to the island of Newfoundland. Oceanex further serves all points in Newfoundland overland from St. John’s daily.

Flensburg Schiffbau, founded in 1872, has built an outstanding reputation for its work. The shipyard has delivered over 750 ships to date, concentrating on specialized and custom-built vessels, including ferries, freighters, Ro-Ro and RoPax vessels, research vessels, offshore service and supply vessels, offshore jack-up crane ships, and various types of naval ships.