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Homeport: Leer, Germany

Change of flag on March 10: the 35,000 cbm gas carrier "GasChem Bremen" of Leer-based shipping company Hartmann Reederei flies the German flag now.

„After more than eight years of crisis in the shipping industry, the re-flagging of GasChem Bremen means to send out a positive signal for us", explains Michael Ippich, Managing Director of the company. „The challenging times have come to stay and it will take some more time for the markets to recover. But there is a constant, albeit slight upward trend." Changes in German legislation on payroll tax, social insurance and safe manning last year facilitated the re-flagging process for German owners, enabling them to operate vessels under their national flag more competitive than before.

On re-flagging, GasChem Bremen has become Hartmann Reederei's largest training ship. She will provide training positions for at least four German trainees on board at the same time.

„Training plays an important role for us since the founding of the company", says Michael Ippich. Despite the global shipping crisis, Hartmann Reederei invests in training and qualifying young seafarers. Additionally, the company offers further education and training courses for officers and crew. To date, there are more than 100 highly qualified German seafarers on board Hartmann Reederei vessels.

One reason for the company's commitment to education and training is due to the Hartmann fleet: Alongside multi-purpose vessels and container ships, Hartmann Reederei specializes in the management of gas carriers. „This type of vessel is one of the most sophisticated in the world. As a matter of course it has to be manned with the most reliable, specially-trained and experienced seafarers."

On a long term perspective, Hartmann Reederei plans to operate further vessels under the German flag.

GasChem Bremen was built at South Korean shipyard Hyundai Mipo in 2010 and sailed under the flag of Liberia for more than six years.