Herma invests to build tankers at own yard

PHILIPPINES tanker-owner Herma Shipping and Transport is investing $55m in tanker newbuildings and double-hull conversions at its own shipyard.

On Monday Herma took delivery of its first newbuilding, the tanker Matikas, from its 17 ha Herma Shipyard in Bataan.

According to Herma Group chief executive Herminio Esguerra, the tanker is the first of four newbuildings it is building at the yard at a cost of $50m in total, local press reported.

He said that the Matikas, which has cargo capacity of 22,000 barrels or roughly 3,000 dwt, was built at a cost of $10m, some $6m less than it would have cost at overseas yards.

The vessel has been chartered to Phillipine’s oil company Petron for 10-years, while a second tanker due for delivery in November has been chartered to Chevron also for a period of 10 years.
The two further newbuildings are to be delivered in 2009 and 2010.

The company is investing a further $5m for single-hull to double-hull conversions.

Herma has a fleet of eight barges and tankers upto 4,900 dwt ranging from seven to 33 years in age according to data from Lloyd’s MIU.

In theory, the Philippines banned single-hulled tankers from its waters from April this year. However, domestic owners in the country have struggled to replace their fleets due to few shipyards wanting to build the small coastal tonnage that they operate.

One answer from the Philippine authorities has been to try and attract investors to small shipyard developments in the country.

“The launching of Matikas answers my nagging question whether we Filipinos are ready to build tankers for the global market,” Mr Esguerra said at the launch. “I stand here proud, because instead of importing a tanker, we said ‘yes’ to the challenge. With Filipino skill and talent, we built Matikas to international design and construction standards, all by ourselves.”