Long Voyage

March 04, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Hemas Holdings has got two seats on the board of directors of Mercantile Shipping Company, a ship owner and operator in which it acquired a stake last year. Hemas group director Imtiaz Esufally and Irshad Mushin, director – maritime transportation of Hemas group, have been appointed non-executive directors of Mercantile Shipping, company officials said.

Hemas Holdings said last November it bought a 17 percent stake in Mercantile Shipping, a German-Sri Lankan joint venture in which Reederi Eugen Friedrich of Bremen and D E G of Koln have stakes.

Hemas said the move was part of its strategic thrust into shipping, a business it plans to expand.

Mercantile is the largest ship owner and operator in Sri Lanka with a fleet now made up of six vessels ranging in size between 3,000 and 17, 400 tonnes deadweight which are operated throughout the Indian Ocean.

Mercantile said in a stock exchange filing it had recently decided to sell one of its ships, mv ‘Mercs Ruhunu’ which had been damaged in an attack by Tamil Tiger rebels off northern Jaffna peninsula last year.

The company’s fleet has long been deployed on the Jaffna run which was cut off