The Hatsu Ethic, the last in a series of five 6332TEU E-type container vessels for Hatsu Marine Ltd.
, London, was launched today by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). The ship is due for
delivery in January and will fly the U.K. flag.
The vessel was named by Evergreen Group Chairman, Dr. Y. F. Chang. As part of the U.K. drive to attract ships back to the British flag, Pauline Prescott, wife of the Right Honorable John Prescott MP, U.K. Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State, cut the ceremonial rope sending the ship down the slipway and into the water for the first time.
Hatsu Marine was established in January, 2002. By the end of this year, it is planned that it will be offering shippers a global container service embracing North America, Asia, and Europe.
Mitsubishi Chairman Nobuyuki Masuda noted that the Hatsu Ethic was the last of 38 containerships his shipyard has built for the Evergreen Group since
1992. "This is an unprecedented relationship between shipyard and ship owner," he said, adding that he anticipated more business from Evergreen in the future.
Prescott has a particular affinity with the shipping industry. In 1953 he began work as a steward in the British merchant navy for 10 years.
Moreover, it was maritime safety that motivated Prescott to work as a full-time official for the national Union of Seamen between 1968 and 1970.
Commenting on the launch of the last in Hatsu Marine's UK-flagged post-Panamax vessels, he said:
"I am proud to be involved in the launching of a merchant ship that will bear the Red Ensign. We now have four million more tonnes under the flag
than we had four years ago. I am heartened by the fact that more ships are returning to the standard and that the flag is recognized internationally as a mark of quality."
Hatsu Marine is taking advantage of the optional tonnage tax regime that offers a simpler way of calculating taxable profits. Part of the regime
includes measures to improve seafarer training and recruitment.
Comparing his seafaring roots with those of Group Chairman Chang, Prescott added: "I am sure Dr. Chang agrees that it is an honor to
contribute to the future of world shipping about which we are both passionate." He also congratulated Evergreen's founder on his "vision,
commitment, and courage."
The five Hatsu E-type vessels will all be deployed in the transpacific trades linking North America and Asia. Later this year, Hatsu will commence services linking Asia
and North Europe and North Europe and North America.
However, no specific dates have yet been attached to these plans.
Hatsu Ethic has an overall length of 300 metres and a beam of 42.8 metres.
It can carry up to 6,332 TEUs 17-abreast on deck and 15-wide below deck and
have a deadweight tonnage of 76,000 on a service draft of 13.5 meters and a
service speed of 25 knots.
The celebratory air in Kobe was shared by more than 200 people who traveled
from all over the globe, including guests from Evergreen local offices in
North America, Europe, and Asia and also by the shipyard workers and members
of their families who cheered and were applauded as the gigantic ship hit
the waters of Kobe Harbor.