It took British Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani just one go to activate the mechanism that sent a big champagne bottle crashing against the massive sidewall of the “Afif”. This marked the official naming of the 15,000 TEU container ship on 16 July 2018. The name “Afif” is of Arabic origin and means “purity” and “honesty”; also, Afif is a city in central Saudi Arabia. With its ten sisters, “Afif” belongs to the category of “Ultra Large Container Vessel”, the second-largest ship class in Hapag-Lloyd’s fleet. “It is an honour to name Afif, Hapag-Lloyd’s latest container ship, as it will have a vital role in the growth of the UK economy by moving our exports and imports,” said Nusrat Ghani.
“We are happy to once again name a ship in the United Kingdom after twenty years. The ‘Afif’ is over three times the size of the ‘London Express’, a ship that received its name in Southampton, England, in 1998,” said Anthony J. Firmin, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Hapag-Lloyd. “London Gateway is one of the most important terminals in Northern Europe. It offers Hapag-Lloyd a fantastic opportunity to unite customers and markets all over the world.” Furthermore, 2018 marks the five-year anniversary of the cooperation between DP World, one of the biggest port operators worldwide, and Hapag-Lloyd.
The “Afif” was built for United Arab Shipping Lines (UASC) in 2017– with whom Hapag-Lloyd merged in May of the same year. The ship is 385.5 metres long and 51 metres wide. In addition to that, the “Afif” is one of Hapag-Lloyd’s 17 “LNG-ready” ships, which are equipped with the technology to use liquid gas (LNG) as fuel. The ship was built by Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries in South Korea.
The “Afif” sails on the FE4 service, also known as Far East Loop. From Southampton, the ship will sail to Yantian, Shanghai, Busan and Ningbo before returning to Europe.