Since publication of the article Soviet Workhorses (see SM, Nov 2009), the scrapping of the one-time class of 22 Leningrad-built ro-ro vessels has accelerated sharply, with only two of 11 vessels then remaining not having been scrapped in the last 18 months.
Constructed between 1975 and 1985 at the Zhdanov Shipyard, the ro-ro and general cargo vessels were built for a dual-purpose military and commercial role, and will be best remembered for their unusual design. Unusually for ro-ros, they have conventional cruiser-type sterns, with vehicle access through a very large lifting bow visor, behind which a strengthened 23m ramp unfolds forward, or slews sideways.
In late 2009 the Ukrainian operator Commercial Fleet of Donbass (CFD) sold their remaining four vessels Kapitan Pastushenko (1981, ex-Andino Glory, ex-Med Navigator, ex-Conti Success, ex-Vera Khoruzhaya), Viktor Talalikhin (1981, ex-Conti Progress, ex-Viktor Talalikhin), Donetsk (1984, ex-High Arabella, ex-Donetsk), and Katya Zelenko (1980, ex-Conti Glory, ex-Conti Will, ex-Katya Zelenko) to India for scrapping in Chittagong.
Meanwhile, the Russian-owned Valga (1979, ex-Waalhaven, ex-Aleksandr Osipov) went to Alang, where she arrived in December 2009. Owned by Baltic Mecur Ltd of St Petersburg, she and a sister operated on the Atlantic ro-ro weekly service between St Petersburg and Baltimore for many years. Also scrapped the same month were another two vessels: Van Uden Ro-Ro’s last remaining vessel of the class, Maximahaven which arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, and Grimaldi’s single vessel Salerno Express (1982, ex-Livorno Bridge, ex-Aleksa Dundik), which was latterly sailing under the Maltese flag and used on short-sea Mediterranean ro-ro services.
In April 2010 it was the turn of Ducky Science (ex-North Moon, ex-Burhan Dai, ex-Yellow K, ex-Aleksandr Starosten), recently trading for Ro Ro Line between Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Mainland China and the Middle East. Next, in October 2010, Baltic Mecur’s remaining vessel of the class, Viljandi (ex-Merwehaven, ex-Uniroller, ex-Boris Buvin), arrived at Alang. The most recent to go is Ducky Shiny, which arrived at Alang in February. She had also been trading for Ro Ro Line.
The scrappings mean that just two of the once-strong 22 class now remain. They are a single 139m vessel, FESCO Gavriil (8,467gt), and a single vessel of the 151m series, FESCO Nikolay (9,489gt), both of which are operated by FESCO between Vladivostok and ports in the Far East.