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Maritime Nantaise [MN] Chartered Ro-Ro

The French shipowner Maritime Nantaise [MN, of Nantes Saint Nazaire, France, also known as Morbihanaise & Nantaise de Navigation] operates a fleet of RoRo and ConRo [Container / Roll On] ships. The company had an agreement with the French government to supply cargo solutions to the French army. The Ro-Ros MN Eider and MN Eclipse, owned by MN, are operated as part of a time charter contract with the French ministry of defence, for an initial period of 3 years, with several options that could extend to 8 years. The contract implemented in January 2005, provides for the French bases in the Indian Ocean and on the West African coast, for overseas exercises and for individual deployments in operational theatres. The Ro-Ro MN Pelican, purchased in reply to an invitation to tender by the French ministry of defence for the time charter of a ship for a period of 5 years, with an option for an additional 3 years, joined the MN fleet on 12 January 2007.

In October 2011 the French operator Compagnie Maritime Nantaise (CMN) signed a contract with Hyundai MIPO, South Korea for two new RoCon vessels with an option for a third unit. The initial pair of two new ConRo will eventually be fllowed by a third one if MN turn the option on. The vessels are designed for being operated in French overseas territories with shallow waters and specific berthing facilities. The ships will be built at Huyndai Mipo. Delivery was expected in 2013 and 2014.

Knud Hansen has designed similar ships for DFDS and the German army, and has been selected for this French project. DFDS [Det Forenede Dampskibs-Selskab - The United Steamship Company] is Northern Europe's largest shipping and logistics company.

Knud E. Hansen A/S worked closely with CMN during 2011 to develop the design. A number of design options were studied taking into due consideration the operational requirements of CMN and physical constraints in the operating areas including size limitations, limited port facilities, etc. The main deck is loaded via a stern and a quarter ramp. The layout has been optimised to ensure a steady cargo flow to and from all decks even when using the quarter ramp. The layout has also been designed to enable controlled shifting of cargo between the decks at sea. In addition, the internal ramps to the upper deck have been highly optimised in order to limit an irregular or unusable space. This has been essential in order to achieve the specified cargo uptake within the maximum main dimensions. A unique feature is the flush, deck hatches on the weather deck which enables loading and unloading of containers directly onto the main deck, independent of the ramps.

The company Morbihannaise and Nantes navigation (MN) is a French shipping company. It became a property of Worms & Cie, and created in 1987 from the merger of several other companies such as Western Express, Nantes (CNNV) steam navigation company and the company of West Chargers. In 2001, it is split into two parts, the Nantes shipping company (NMC - Compagnie maritime nantaise) and Société morbihannaise navigation (SMN).

From its beginnings as the Cie Nantaise de Navigation steam (1882) to Cie Morbihanaise and Nantaise de Navigation (1996), many changes of name, structural organisation and adaptation that the Cie had. Simple independent armament company, she grew up absorbing and merging with Nantes Cies. In 1968, a new milestone was crossed as it was integrated in the Worms group as a subsidiary of the Cie naval IMU, the subsidiary of Cie Nationale de Navigation (1996). Beginning with a regular line service, Cie activities extend rapidly to cabotage and long-course. Thus, she signed contracts with the Ministry of the Colonies for the transportation of convicts.

From 1945, the tramping and long-haul bulk carriers develop next to cabotage and regular lines. The internationalization of the fleet came in 1986. The tramping activity of the Cie gradually disappeared while national and international cabotage to lead to more distant destinations such as the coast of Africa, the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. At the same time, it provides special transportation with the technical stewardship and armament of ships specialized as the soufrier liquid Béarn, the Barque Belem, hourglasses, and arming the MN Toucan for the transportation of the Ariane rocket.

It undertook transportation of passengers on the Loire and the islands of the French Atlantic evolved. Societe Nantaise et Morbihonnaise de Navigation was granted by the General Council of Morbihan (Brittany) a license to serve the islands of Belle-Ile, Groix, Hoat and Hoedic. These scenic islands are not very far from the coast of Brittany, thus explaining the motto of the company "C'est déjà les îles" ("There are already the islands"). The seat of the company is in Le Palais, on the island of Belle-Ile.

Of the three companies created in 1932, only one remained in 1996, providing ferry services on the Loire and the utility of Belle-Ile. Gradually, this activity of stewardship of public services extended to all of the islands of Morbihan, Lorient Harbour and the maritime link with the island of Aix at the mouth of the Charente.

Under a 15-year contract with Arianespace, these 2 vessels carry launcher components of Ariane 5 from Europe to French Guiana. They are specially designed and built to transport these components, integrating the constraints associated with the components and the ports in which they operate. The MN Toucan was put into service in July 1995 to carry the first elements of the Ariane V launcher to Kourou. With a length of 115.6 m and wide 20 m, it has a garage of 96 m long, 17 m wide and 8 m high allowing horizontal transhipment ("roll - on, roll-off") containers. Built by IHC Merwede de Kinderkijk (Netherlands), the MN Toucan as the MN Colibri, are operated on behalf of Arianespace by the Morbihanaise and Nantaise de Navigation, a subsidiary of Compagnie Nationale de Navigation.

Ordered in 1895, the Belem was delivered to her shipowners on July 30th, 1896. She was especially created to transport cocoa and sugar from Brazil and the West Indies to Nantes, France. Built in steel without orlop, lined with a deck in pitchpin, she was a well-deck vessel with a poop and a forecastle. Masted in three masted barque with topgallant, royal and double topsails, she had a wooden masting. In 1979, thanks to a financial help from Les Caisses d'épargne, the Belem ownership became French once more. Today she is today a school ship which welcomes students wishing to learn the traditional techniques of sailing and enjoy a unique experience. The management of the crew and supplies are entrusted under control of the Foundation to the Société Morbihanaise and Nantaise de Navigation.

Compagnie Nationale de Navigation de Marseille, an entirely unrelated company, was founded by Marc Fraissinet in 1879 to open scheduled lines with India, Indonesia and Philippines (then called in France Insulinde) and Indochina, where the company specialized in the transport of troops to Tonkin. Only the Indochinese line was still active in 1896, and by 1904, the company had to face the competition with the Messageries Maritimes and the end of the monopoly on transport of war material to Tonkin. Therefore, it was decided to sell off the company while it was still profitable, and the fleet was sold to the Messageries Maritimes and the Chargeurs Réunis.



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