The launch of a £22 million bulk carrier in China has helped to raise the international profile of the Isle of Man Ship Registry and build a number of important new business relationships.
The Caly Manx was officially named at the Tsuneishi Zhoushan Shipyard near Shanghai last week before setting sail under the Manx ensign.
Chief Minister Tony Brown MHK headed an Isle of Man Government delegation to China, supported by Trade and Industry Minister David Cretney MHK and Director of the Ship Registry Dick Welsh.
The naming was performed by local singer and actress Samantha Barks who rose to fame on BBC talent show ‘I’d Do Anything’.
The Cabaret star sang the Manx National Anthem and cracked a bottle of champagne against the ship’s bow during the ceremony.
The mission to Shanghai supported efforts to promote further awareness of the Island’s Ship Registry, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary.
The Chief Minister said, "The Isle of Man is home to a dynamic and successful shipping industry that is renowned throughout the maritime world for its high standards.
"This visit enabled us to highlight the many advantages of the Isle of Man Ship Registry through a series of meetings in China with business leaders and shipyard owners.
"Sam Barks was a superb ambassador for the Island and made a great impression on everybody she met. To hear her sing the National Anthem in China was breathtaking and added to the sense of occasion."
Mr Cretney commented, "I am sure that the Caly Manx will prove be a valuable addition to the Manx fleet which continues to grow in influence every year.
"It was a privilege to be part of the naming celebrations.
"The personal contacts made during the event helped us to cement some important relationships and promote a greater understanding of the Island’s international position."
Construction of the Caly Manx was commissioned by Lars Ugland, the Douglas-based chief executive officer of local shipping companies LTU Management Ltd and Seven Mile Shipping.
It is the first of three new cargo ships to carry the Manx name, with Star Manx and Geraldine Manx scheduled for delivery on 30th November and 25th January respectively.
Mr Welsh said, "The visit to China could generate further business opportunities for the Isle of Man Ship Registry as the cost and quality benefits of sailing under the Manx ensign become clear.
"The head of one of Japan’s most prestigious ship building corporations has already declared his intention to register the company’s next vessel in the Isle of Man.
"A number of other influential contacts in the Far East and Scandinavia were also very positive about what the Island has to offer.
"Overall, this was a tremendous opportunity to showcase the Isle of Man and we are grateful to Lars Ugland for his hard work pulling everything together."
Pictured (l-r): Director of the Isle of Man Ship Registry Dick Welsh, DTI Minister David Cretney, Richard Barks, Sam Barks, CEO of Seven Mile Shipping Lars Ugland, Chief Minister Tony Brown, and Partner in Seven Mile Shipping Andreas Ugland.