Highland Chief

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Sister of the ship Chekiang III

Highland Chief
ID /IMO No. 8809189.
Type Geared Multi-Purpose Container carrier. 725 TEU.
Gross Registered Tonnage 7,908 grt. 4,238 nett.
Builder Miho Zosensho K.K., Shimizu. Yard No. 1348
Delivery date March 1990.
Hull Steel, bow thruster, 2 x 36 tonne cranes, fixed container guides, ballast tanks to maintain even keel during cargo. operations.
Decks 1, plus part 2nd. deck.
Length 129.5 m. over bulbous bow, F'c'sle 11 m. Poop 17.8 m.
Width 22.2 m.
Depth 11 m.
Engine Builder Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. Tamano.
Engine Type Burmeister & Wain, 2 stroke, single acting.
Engine cylinders 7.
Engine Power MCR 8,120 bhp.
Engine RPM 168.
Propulsion mode Single screw.
Speed 16 kts.
Power Diesel.
Aspiration Turbocharged.
Boiler Composite, exh.gas/fuel oil.
Fuel Diesel/fuel oil.
Generator 3 x Ssangyong L230/30 MAN B&W Holeby diesel engines.
Generator power 900 KVA
Generator voltage 440 ac.
Generator Frequency 60 Hz.
Propeller Right hand, Controllable pitch.
Propeller blades 4, 4,520 mm. dia., 3,420 mm. pitch.
Propeller material Ni-Al-Bronze.
Built classification society Lloyds +100A1 LMC UMS Cotainership.
Launched Nov 2nd. 1989.
Delivered to owner Mar.1990


March 1990. Delivered to China Navigation Co. as Highland Chief.

1999. Placed on charter, renamed Forum Tonga

2001. Renamed "Highland Chief", later became Kiribati Chief

March 2005. Lengthened by Miho Zosen, Shimizu. Specifications as in Images.


Events / Stories

"HIGHLAND CHIEF" was the lead ship of the class of five built for CNCO at Miho in the period 1989-91 and known as the "Miho Mark Twos", the "Mark Ones" having been the "PAPUAN CHIEF"II, "CORAL CHIEF"II, "CHENGTU"III and "NIMOS".

CNCo had not ordered a newbuilding since the "HUPEH"; an experience that was not considered entirely satisfactory. Consequently a great deal of care was taken to get these ships "right".

The design concept originated with John Milward, who, during a spell in command of the "POLYNESIA", spent his speare time drawing up his ideas for a replacement "POLY 2" incorporating more up to date ideas. His drawings and outline spec. were circulated round the office and attracted a lot of favourable comment, but the Polynesia Line trade could not support a newbuilding, so nothing was done until NGAL, in the person of Edward Scott, let it be known that they thought it was high time they had a new ship, and told CNCo to get on with it.

Using Captain Milward's sketches and outline spec, an enquiry was circulated to shipyards. This was educational in itself; several yards did not respond because we had gone to them direct and they were accustomed to dealing with brokers - we had to tell them who we were and that we were serious.

We did not include Miho in the initial circulation because we knew that their slipway was constrained and the ship we wanted would be too long for them. Several proposals were receieved including one from British Shipbuilders, who as usual submitted an excellent design, but their price was well outside what CNCo could afford.

At this point we receieved a phone call from Ken Kobayashi of Mitsubishi Corporation; he wanted to come to see us, and he did, bringing with him the senior staff of Miho who assured us that, thanks to a little ingenuity, they could not only build the ship we wanted but could and would tender competitively for her.

Being a Mitsubishi Group company, Miho proposed a Mitsubishi-UEC main engine; this did not meet with our approval and we insisted on a Mitsui-B&W, making these ships some of the very few Mitsubishi ships with Mitsui engines.

Rescue at Sea
Highland Chief was leaving Honaira on 16th June 2013 when the bridge duty officer spotted the faint outline of a life raft on the water. The Man Overboard alarm was sounded and the rescue operation immediately swung into action.

The six people rescued were the crew of Global Lestary, a 146 GRT landing craft, operating under the Solomon Islands flag. Their vessel was carrying logs from Isabel Province to Honiara, when it got caught in bad weather, started taking in water and subsequently listed, with logs falling overboard. The crew had to abandon their vessel, which quickly capsized and sank, and take to the six-man life raft.

The survivors had been drifting at sea for seven days and ran out of drinking water two days before being rescued. Their attempts at attracting the attentions of a passing ferry and tanker using the the vessel's distress flares failed and there was no other means of calling for help. Morale was extremely low and the crew were losing hope when they saw Highland Chief approaching. Once on board, the ship's crew took good care of the rescued seamen and they were returned safely to Honiara. Surprisingly, all six men survived the ordeal without any serious health issues and were extremely grateful to all on board Highland Chief for saving their lives.