AAL Shanghai helps float Australia’s historic Alma Doepel
AAL Shipping was on hand in October this year to help re-launch a historic Australian sailing ship, the 118-year-old, three-masted topsail schooner, Alma Doepel. The vessel had been in dry dock for rebuilding, having served the Victoria Community as a youth training vessel.
The restoration work of the vessel has so far cost around A$3.5 million with an additional A$1.5 million and two more years of volunteer hours needed to complete the restoration.
The Alma Doepel was built in 1903 to transport goods such as timber, wheat, and jam around the coast of Australia. As part of its 118-year history, during the Pacific War she served as a supply vessel to the Australian forces in New Britain (present-day Papua New Guinea). And now, with more history still to be written, the Alma Doepel is the figurehead of a youth development programme to introduce young Victorians to seafaring and help them build resilience and awareness.
The 31,000-deadweight heavy lift vessel, the AAL Shanghai, was chosen to execute the Alma Doepel operation. She is one of six mega-size MPVs serving the AAL Shipping’s ‘Asia to East Coast Australia Monthly Liner Service’ and was calling Melbourne on a southbound journey from North Asia, to discharge a cargo of heavy lift transformers.
After discharging her project cargo, she was met by a barge carrying the newly refurbished hull of the Alma Doepel and, using her onboard heavy lift cranes, carefully lifted and manoeuvred the historic ship back to water after an eight-year absence.
AAL operates scheduled monthly liner services between Asia and East and West Coast Australia, employing ten young multipurpose heavy lift vessels along its two trade lanes. In 2022, to satisfy a growing demand for its cargo services, AAL will be deploying a further two 19,000 deadweight S-Class heavy lift vessels to its Asia – East Coast Australia Service.