The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), held a naming ceremony for their new container vessel the Aino, on Friday, 16 August at the Port of Durban.

The vessel was launched three weeks ago at the Korean shipyard, where it was built.

The company held the naming ceremony as part of their commitment to increase the county’s economic growth.

Speaking during the ceremony, Captain Salvatore Sarno said,“Durban is increasingly demonstrating to the country and the world that it is able to offer a much wider range of service to the shipping sector.”

Sarno also expressed his excitement for the MSC Cruise’s construction of a new passenger terminal that will give jobs to 100 people in the country. It will also be the host of the MSC’s new training facility, the Shosholoza Ocean Academy where MSC cruise staff will be trained.

“Within five years, this initiative will create 5000 new jobs with an approximate one-billion dollars in salary being brought back into the South African economy,” said Sarno. The academy will train students in hospitality as well as electricians, mechanics, engineers, boiler makers and refrigeration technicians who will specialise in the repairs and maintenance of the vessel.

Keynote speaker at the ceremony, KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala, thanked the MSC for hosting the naming ceremony in Durban. Zikalala said that government is striving to grow the maritime industry in South Africa, as it has many prospects for the country.
“South Africa has not yet registered any ship which is manufactured and owned in the country. This is one of the commitments that we want to make, and we will do this by ensuring that we grow the maritime industry,” said Zikalala.

Zikalala noted that Durban has one of the busiest ports and therefore finds it necessary for the city to become a hub for ship repair and replenishment. The unveiling of the ship’s name was carried out by Captain Sarno’s wife, Sandra Sarno, where the ship was named after Aino, a daughter of an MSC manager.