Press Release


Press Release

December 10, 2007

MOL Launches World's Largest Iron Ore Carrier
Third-Generation Brasil Maru Joins Fleet

TOKYO - Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL, President: Akimitsu Ashida) today announced the launch of one of the world’s largest iron ore carrier, the Brasil Maru (327,180 MT DWT). Naming and delivery ceremonies were held at the Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. Chiba Works on December 7, 2007. It will transport Brazilian iron ore to Japan under a long-term contract with Nippon Steel Corporation.

The new ship is the third-generation of MOL vessels to carry the Brasil Maru name, succeeding the first-generation cargo and passenger liner Brasil Maru (built in 1939) and the second-generation cargo and passenger liner Brazil Maru (built in 1954), reflect the long history of the Japan-South America route.

On hand for the ceremonies were Nippon Steel President Akio Mimura and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding President Yasuhiko Kato. President Mimura named the ship and his wife Yoshiko cut the rope. Other special guests included passengers, a captain and crew members who were aboard the second-generation Brazil Maru, in effect passing the torch to from the second-generation of the Brazil Maru to the third, and celebrating its completion.

It will go into service in 2008 - the centennial anniversary of Japanese emigration to Brazil.

With launch of the third-generation Brasil Maru, MOL will be the first Japanese shipping company to begin full-scale operation of 300,000 MT DWT class very large iron ore carriers (VLOCs). The number of MOL-operated 300,000 MT DWT class VLOCs (including Brasil Maru) will be five in August, 2008.

[Outline of new carrier]

Length overall : 340.00 m
Breadth : 60.00 m
Draft : 21.13 m
Deadweight tonnage : 327,180 MT
Shipbuilder : Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.

[Outline of contract]

Contract : Contract of Affreightment (C.O.A.)
Cargo : Iron ore in bulk
Loading ports : Main iron ore loading ports in Brazil (Tubarao, Bonta De Madila)
Discharging ports : Nippon Steel Corporation's major mills (Oita, Kimitsu, etc.)
Annual transport volume : About 1.4 million tons a year

* Reference

The first-generation Brasil Maru, a 12,752 MT DWT cargo and passenger liner, was launched on December 23, 1939. It was a sister ship of the Argentina Maru built at the end of May 1939, and assigned to the westbound around-the-world route of Osaka Shosen Kaisha (OSK Line, one of the MOL's corporate predecessors).

It was Japan's most advanced ship featuring state-of-the-art marine technologies of the day. The decor of the first-class passenger rand VIP rooms featured a traditional Japanese style and the accommodations were on par with a luxury hotel. In January 1940, the vessel made its maiden voyage from Yokohama to South America. It sailed from Kobe to Santos in 36 days, 10 days shorter than conventional ships of the time.

However, World War II was intensifying, and the Brasil Maru left Yokohama on its third and final voyage to South America on September 11, 1940. In 1941, it was assigned to the Dalian route, which was relatively safe. On Sept. 4, 1941, it was commandeered by the Japanese navy, and in August 1942, it was torpedoed by a U.S. submarine and sank near the Truk Islands.

The second-generation Brazil Maru, a 10,100 MT DWT cargo and passenger liner, was launched on July 10, 1954. Japan's ocean shipping industry was destroyed in WWII, but postwar reconstruction was remarkable, and Osaka Shosen resumed the South America route immediately after liner service returned to the private sector in 1950.

As Japan's leading cargo and passenger liner, it departed on the South America route via Panama from Kobe to Brazil on July 30, 1954. It carried many Japanese emigrants to Brazil and overseas travelers, along with its sister vessel the Argentina Maru, serving 21 years from 1952 to 1973. The number of emigrants from Japan after WWII totaled about 63,000, and some 50,000 traveled on our vessels including the Brazil Maru.

In November 1972, the Brazil Maru was retired as emigration declined. It served as a maritime pavilion called the "Toba Brazil Maru" at Toba port in Mie Prefecture from 1974 until 1996, when it was sold to China. The ship attracted thousands of visitors, especially cruise ship enthusiasts captivated by its elegant lines.

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