December 10 - The first of two new vessels commissioned by Schiffahrtskontor Altes Land (SAL) will today embark on its maiden voyage.

The ship, with a lifting capacity of a total of 2,000 tonnes and speed of 20 knots, is described by SAL as "the world's largest heavy lift vessel to date".


MV Svenja , a Type 183 new building which was christened yesterday in Hamburg and named after the daughter of one of SAL's co-owners, will be put to use for the offshore oil, gas and wind energy markets.


On its first voyage, the vessel is heading to the Far East before returning to Europe to transport complex "templates" for offshore oil exploration along the Norwegian coast.


It was built in just six months.


Lars Rolner , SAL's managing director and co-owner, said he expected further growth in the offshore energy sector.


"We see demand worldwide and forecast that the market will grow dynamically over the next few years. The Svenja is equipped with a dynamic positioning system, making it perfectly suited for employment in the oil, gas and wind offshore sectors," he said.


With MV Svenja, SAL, in which the Japanese "K" Line Group holds a 50 per cent stake, currently has a fleet of 15 ships.


SAL said it plans to introduce a second Type 183, already under construction at the Sietas shipyard, in March 2011.


The order for the two heavy vessels is worth a total of €120m.


In line with tradition, all the company's ships bear the name of one of the wives or daughters of the company's owning families. MV Svenja is named after the daughter of SAL founder and co-owner Hans Heinrich .


"I grew up with the shipping industry, which makes this a very special moment for me," says a delighted Svenja Heinrich, who also works at SAL.