First black empowered ship enters service today

Mar 8, 2004
Author: P&S

Southern Tankers took delivery of their new 37,000/40,000-dwt products tanker Southern Unity from her South Korean builders earlier today (8 March).

The ship was specially specified and built to service Southern Tankers' charter with Shell South Africa and BP Southern Africa, said Unicorn Tankers marine director Rob Young. Southern Unity will be used to distribute refined petroleum products between southern African ports.

Southern Unity commences her maiden voyage tomorrow when she departs the builder's yard and makes her way to a Korean oil terminal to load a full cargo of petroleum products for discharge at Seattle, USA. Thereafter the ship is expected to route via the Panama canal into the Atlantic where she might head for Europe before making her way home to South Africa. She is expected in these parts during June.

Southern Unity is managed and crewed on behalf of Southern Tankers by Unicorn Shipping out of Durban. She is manned with a full South African crew under Captain John Williams and Chief Engineer Rennie Govender, both the products of Unicorn's long-established cadet training scheme.

The ship is fully double-hulled and extra effort was paid in her design to environmental protection features and redundancy of safety-critical equipment, some examples of which include, respectively, extra waste incineration capacity to deal with both solid and liquid wastes, and duplication of boilers and generators.

The shallow-draught ship has exceptional manoeuvring capabilities with good acceleration and deceleration capabilities, while an unusually powerful bow thruster combined with a high-lift ‘Becker’ flap rudder enables the ship to rotate 360 degrees within her own length, or to crab bodily sideways without making any headway or sternway. These are unusual manoeuvring features on ships of this size, particularly tankers.

Unicorn Shipping has a further five of this series of tanker on order from the same yard. The first of these identical sisters, Nyathi, delivers during June. She will be employed by an oil major in the Mediterranean.

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