On February 4, 2006, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Kobe shipyard launched Hatsu Smile, the fourth in a series of ten 7024TEU S-type container vessels that the shipbuilder is constructing for the Evergreen Group. Like the first three ships in the series, Hatsu Smile will be operated by London-headquartered Hatsu Marine Ltd.
Hatsu Smile was named by Mr Chang Kuo-Cheng (K C Chang), Vice Group Chairman of Evergreen Group and Chairman of Evergreen Marine Corp. The honour of cutting the ceremonial rope sending the traditional bottle of champagne against its bow to launch and send the vessel on its way down the slipway was given to Mrs Kuo Yeh Chiung-Yu, wife of Captain S Y Kuo who is also Vice Group Chairman for the Evergreen Group.
The Evergreen Group is taking delivery of 18 large post-Panamax containerships over the period 2005 to 2008 – ten S-types and eight 8063TEU C-types – allowing the Group companies to upgrade existing services and phase out older vessels.
Hatsu Smile is due to be delivered to Hatsu Marine towards the end of May and will commence her maiden voyage to Europe shortly thereafter. As well as the four S-type vessels, the Hatsu fleet also comprises five 6332TEU E-class vessels plus two 1618TEU P-class vessels currently deployed in regional Asian services within the Evergreen Group. All ships fly the UK flag.