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SBMA chair cites Korean ship builder's role in Philippines economy

Written by Allen M. Villa   
Monday, 19 September 2011

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman Roberto Garcia acknowledged the contribution of Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Co.-Philippines (HHIC-Phil) to the Philippine economic development through its shipbuilding operations inside the Freeport.

This, as the Korean firm launched two newly-built bulk carriers during a vessel-naming ceremony held at its shipyard on Saturday.

The vessels, which were named M/V Star Borealis and M/V Star Polaris, were purchased by Star Bulk Carriers Corp., a global shipping company based in Athens, Greece, providing worldwide seaborne transportation solutions in the dry bulk sector.

“As you maybe well aware of, because of Hanjin’s presence in the Philippines in the past few years, the Philippines has come from nowhere to become the fourth largest shipbuilder in the world. And I congratulate [HHIC-Phil president Jin Kyu Ahn] and his staff for the magnificent job that they have done here in Subic Bay,” chairman Garcia said in his message.

Garcia also welcomed Hanjin’s plans to expand the shipbuilder’s presence in Subic Bay, saying that the SBMA has already reserved an additional 200 hectares for such purpose.

“We hope that in a few years, the Philippines will go from number four to number one in the world,” the chairman said.

Garcia also added that he hopes Hanjin will continue to contribute to the country’s economy, not only in terms of ship production, but also in creating more jobs for Filipinos.

Star Bulk president Spyros Capralos extended his gratitude to Hanjin for making top-quality ships for his company.

“Today’s ceremony is of high importance because Star Borealis and Star Polaris are the company’s first newly-built vessels ever,” he said in his address adding that their company is pleased “not only with the superb construction quality, but also with the safety record of the construction since there were zero incidents.”

Capralos also said that Star Bulk and Hanjin share the same vision for better and more efficient ships that will surpass the strictest global safety and environmental standards.

“We acknowledge the efforts made to ensure that our vessels were designed with low-waste levels and highly-efficient plans and equipment to support low-energy operation. Improving energy efficiency is critical not only because it reduces emissions, but also because it directly affects our stability,” he said.

HHIC-Phil, which is located at Subic’s Redondo Peninsula, has the two largest dry docks in the world. It currently employs 22,000 skilled workers from various local communities. [via PIA]


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