05 July 2008

First Subic-made Ship Launched

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has launched the first ship to be built in this Freeport by Hanjin Heavy Industries Corp.-Philippines (HHIC-Phil), calling it “a milestone achievement in shipbuilding” and a showcase of excellence for Filipino ship workers.

In the formal naming ceremony for MV Argolikos at the HHIC-Phil shipyard here, President Arroyo lauded the Korean shipbuilder and its workers for completing the 41,000-ton vessel six months ahead of schedule.

“We are elated and proud,” the President said.

“This very first ship that sails out of the Hanjin shipyard — the largest ever built in the Philippines — is a marvelous showcase of sound engineering and design. It brings pride to its owner, it brings pride to its creator, and it brings pride to us as the host of its creation,” she said.

“MV Argolikos shows off to the world the excellence of the Filipino workforce in building vessels sailing the seven seas,” she added.

Arroyo also said that the $1.7-billion Hanjin shipyard here is “a massive boost” to the country’s bid to be the best value for investment in Asia, with projected jobs expected to reach 21,000 during full operations.

She also noted that Hanjin is helping secure the country’s place as an attractive investment destination, and displays the Filipinos’ skills and work ethic.

In recognition of Hanjin’s contribution to the Philippine economy, President Arroyo conferred the Presidential Medal of Merit to Hanjin chairman Nam Ho Cho.

MV Argolikos, which is also the first container ship to be built in the country, will be delivered sometime this month to Dioryx, a Greek shipping firm that has placed the first six orders for ships to be built by Hanjin in Subic.

Reportedly costing $60 million, MV Argolikos has a cargo capacity of 4,300 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), has a length of 258.9 meters, a width of 32 meters, a height of 19 meters, and an actual speed of 24.6 knots.

Hanjin officials said the ship has passed the required sea trials on May 29-29, and “performed well beyond expectations.”

“Today we now have all the components to become a major shipbuilding power in the ASEAN region,” Arreza said, pointing out that aside from Hanjin’s shipbuilding facility, the Subic area has two dry docks and ship repair facilities.

Arreza added that with the full operation of the Hanjin shipyard, the Subic Freeport expects to double its export production to about $3 billion annually.

In the same occasion, Dioryx chairman Dimitri Papadimitrou said the launching of the Argolikos ushers in “a new era for Hanjin and for the Philippines as well.”

“My company takes pride in being the first client of Hanjin,” Papadimitrou said, confirming that Dioryx has placed a total order of six container ships to be built in Subic. (SBMA Corporate Communications)