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BEE SHIPPING COMPANY ON A ROLL

Cape Town based BEE shipping company, Marine Bulk Carriers, has expanded its interests in the international bulk shipping business by adding two more vessels to those already under its commercial management. These agreements require MBC to employ these vessels on a worldwide basis and be responsible for all aspects of freight and vessel operations.

MBC has further expanded its relationship with Sanko Steamship Company of Japan by being awarded another Cape size vessel for full commercial management. MBC has also independently chartered a Panamax size vessel for a period of two years.

Lester Peteni, Company chairman and major shareholder says "While the world shipping markets are at an all time peak driven by the commodity boom and imports to China, MBC has been able to establish itself as a mover in the bulk business. These latest moves will boost our capital base for further expansion. MBC now has an annual turnover of R400 million and has come a long way since its establishment four years ago."

Marine Bulk Carriers' Director Jan Rabie says in terms of an agreement with Sanko, MBC will be taking over the commercial management of the 162 000 ton Cape size vessel 'Sanko Oasis'. "We already have the 150 000 ton 'Sanko Spark' under our commercial management and the latest agreement is further confirmation of Sanko's commitment to our business."

Sanko owns a 20% share in Marine Bulk Carriers, in what the Sanko company chairman and CEO, Mr Steve Matsui, described as a long term commitment to the South African shipping business. The Sanko investment in MBC gave MBC access to a fleet of more than 120 bulk carriers, tankers, LPG gas carriers and offshore vessels for the development of its international business, including focusing on Southern African business.

Sanko also committed a significant number of training berths on its vessels for South African cadets who require experience at sea before they are able to qualify as officers.

Mr Rabie says the fact that the 'Sanko Spark' and 'Sanko Oasis' each represents earnings potential of more than US$ 150 000 per day to Sanko, places a huge responsibility on the South African company and is an indication of the confidence Sanko has in MBC`s ability to manage the employment of these vessels.

"Sanko has also asked us to utilize these two vessels to create more job opportunities for South Africans," he says. "By 2008 MBC will have 16 officer cadets and five qualified officers working in the Sanko fleet. These officers and cadets are all products of the training, development and placement programme of our sister company, Marine Crew Services, for South African seafarers." MCS has already, despite the complete lack of support from government and the discredited TETA organisation, created 105 seafarer jobs for South Africans and a further 102 jobs for other Africans, mainly Angolan. Deanna Collins, director of MCS, says "Job creation for us is a reality, not just a slogan"

Collins says it is also MBC's intention to utilize the Sanko Spark and the Sanko Oasis to create more opportunities for South African ratings.

MBC has also chartered the Panamax size vessel, Elinakos, of 73,780 tons for a period of two years. The Elinakos is presently loading coal at Dalrymple Bay in Australia for shipment to Brazil. Mr Rabie says the Elinakos will add a new vessel size category to Marine Bulk Carriers' business.

Issued on behalf of Marine Bulk Carriers by:

Fred Meintjes
021 7128817 - 082 901 1399 - wordfact@telkomsa.net