Hapag-Lloyd's giant hi-tech ship to be christened today
By K. K. CHADHA
ONE of the world's largest and most modern containerships will be named Stuttgart Express at the Kwai Chung container port today.
The 4,422-TEU (20-ft equivalent units) ship, owned by German shipping line Hapag-Lloyd, will be christened by Mrs Vera Niefer, wife of the late Mercedes-Benz director, at Modern Terminals' berth.
She will be accompanied by Hapag-Lloyd's new chairman Bernd Wrede.
The ship will operate on the line's Far East to Europe service.
The Stuttgart Express is the fifth company ship to be named after the German city.
The first, a passenger ship, left on its maiden voyage in January 1890.
The Stuttgart Express is the seventh of a class of eight containerships ordered by Hapag-Lloyd from Samsung Heavy Industries of South Korea.
Sister ships are the Hannover Express, Leverkusen Express, Dresden Express, Hoechst Express, Ludwigshafen Express and the Essen Express.
The Stuttgart Express was accepted in Korea on December 16 and commenced its maiden voyage after loading in Tokyo on December 18.
It sailed to Hong Kong via Shimizu and Kobe in Japan and Pusan in South Korea.
Following the ceremony the ship will sail for Jeddah, Southampton and Hamburg.
The hi-tech ship is manned by a crew of 15.
Mr Wrede said the crew have been trained in both deck and engine-room duties. The bridge of the ship is designed for a one-man operation.
The ship, 294 metres long with a maximum draught of 13.52 metres, has a service speed of 23 knots.
As with other Hapag-Lloyd ships, high environmental standards have been set on board the Stuttgart Express.
All dry and wet wastes are collected separately by type in the central waste compartment, or in separate containers.
Mr Wrede said: ''Hapag-Lloyd is extremely pleased with the performance of the six sister ships of the Stuttgart Express so far delivered and we expect the new ship will perform just as well.'' Hapag-Lloyd has 18 container ships with a total capacity of 58,500 TEUs.