New addition to Unicorn Shipping fleet

Sep 18, 2003
Author: P&S


The 47 000-dwt products tanker Eland, built in Japan for long-term charter to Unicorn Shipping, commenced her maiden voyage under Unicorn colours today, 18 September, on departure from her builder's yard. The newbuilding is employed in the US-based Dorado (Heidenreich Marine) products tanker pool.

A further newbuilding tanker, the 45 000-dwt Kudu, will follow early next year.

Eland is slightly larger than three other products tankers in the Unicorn fleet, Rainbow, Simunye and Hambisa, of which Rainbow and Hambisa are employed on the South African coast while Simunye operates offshore.

Another Unicorn tanker, the 46,700-dwt Helix also trades offshore while two other smaller Unicorn tankers, Stolt Ntombi and Stolt Ntaba operate in a pool with Stolt Tankers.

The other Unicorn tanker in the fleet is the diminutive Durban-built tanker Oranjemund, which was highly successful in tucking in close to the container ship Sealand Express, aground in Table Bay, and taking off about 3000 tonnes of that ship’s bunker fuel before the ship itself could be salvaged. Oranjemund normally operates along Southern Africa’s west coast to ports like Port Nolloth and Luderitz and is currently in Cape Town where she is undergoing general maintenance.

Unicorn Shipping is the shipowning arm of Durban-based Grindrod Limited and is South Africa’s oldest and only national ship owner. The company’s roots go back to the 1860s, when Unicorn’s predecessor companies Thesen’s Steamship Company, African Coasters and Smith’s Coasters developed thriving coastal and regional shipping operations, which merged into the modern Unicorn Shipping in 1966.

Initially owning exclusively dry cargo ships, tankers have been part of the fleet since the end of World War II. The company has served the South African oil majors continuously since 1946 by distributing refined products along the coast of South Africa and to export destinations in its owned and occasionally chartered tankers.

Unicorn has built a total of 11 ships in South Africa and 17 in foreign yards to service its various operations, with the two tankers mentioned above now being delivered or on order.

From its Durban base, Unicorn Shipping performs its own Ship Management while its Crewing Department is responsible for the training of crews. The company’s Cadet Officer training scheme has been a prominent developer of South African talent since 1965 and provides South African Maritime Authority-approved training courses to local and international customers.


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