CENARGO International, the British-based private shipowning group, has taken delivery of its largest newbuilding to date, the 162,000 deadweight tonne Capesize bulk carrier Merchant Prestige. The vessel will be joined in June by a sister vessel, Merchant Paramount. Together they represent the addition of almost one-third of a million deadweight tonnes to the much-depleted British merchant fleet. Merchant Prestige, built by Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea at a cost of US$45 million, has been chartered for two years by the Japanese shipping company Mitsui-OSK for $22,000 per day. Its first voyage will be from Hay Point and Gladstone, Australia, to Rotterdam with a full cargo of coking coal. According to Cenargo's chairman and owner Michael Hendry, the two new ships have been built to the highest specification. Based on a Hyundai design, they are strengthened for the carriage of iron ore in alternate holds and feature the latest B & W Mk V 6S70 MC main engine developing 22,920 brake horse power. In trials, Merchant Prestige achieved a speed in excess of 17 knots. Normal service speed in laden condition will exceed 15 knots. In accordance with its normal standards of safety and conscious of the structural integrity of large bulk carriers, Cenargo specified these ships be built to Lloyd's Register of Shipping's latest recommendations. These included strengthening for a 25 tonne empty grab notation and the fitting of a bridge-controlled, stress monitoring system. Other features of the ships include extra strengthening of bulkheads and additional ballast capacity sufficient to meet the air draft requirements under the discharge cranes at the Dunkerque East terminal, one of Europe's major iron ore and coal facilities. Merchant Prestige represents the latest bulk carrier design technology and was contracted and chartered through Lambert Bros Shipbroking (a division of Inchcape Shipping Services) in London.