The Mediterranean Shipping Company has taken delivery of the MSC ABIDJAN, the third of six compact widebeam ships of 8,827 teu from Sungdong Shipyard of South Korea.
Four of the orders have been placed directly by MSC, whereas two ships of the type were ordered by the Greek non-operating owners Costamare, who will charter them to MSC on ten-year contracts. The Costamare ships MSC ATHENS and MSC ATHOS were delivered in March and the MSC ABIDJAN should thus be the first MSC-owned vessel of the type. Market reports however suggest the MSC recently sold the ship before her delivery with a charter-back arrangement. The identity of the buyers has not yet been disclosed, but the ship is believed to be managed by UK’s Zodiac Maritime.
Whether the remaining three sisters will stay with MSC or whether similar sale and lease-back deals have been arranged still remains to be determined.
The MSC ABIDJAN will soon phase into MSC’s Far East-South Africa-Europe Pendulum service.
Altogether, MSC has ordered a total of no fewer than 18 compact wide beam ships from Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries, Sungdong and Jiangnan Changxing, both directly and through third parties and long term charter deals. While each of the yards builds an individual design, all ships share similar parametres. They are all about 300m long and 48.20m – that means 19 rows – wide. They all provide increased reefer power for up to 1,000 containers and all have a moderate design draft of 14.00m. While Hyundai Samho and Sungdong opted for a conventional arrangement, Jiangnan Changxing will build twin-island ships with a forward superstructure and a slightly higher nominal teu intake.
In addtion to the six MSC vessels from Sungdong, the Korean yard will build five more or less identical ships for Costamare, intended for charter to Evergreen. The first of these, VALOR, is handed over almost in parallel to the MSC ABIDJAN.