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All shipshape as Benguela Stream clocks up 100 voyages

MV Benguela Stream has carried enough bananas for everyone in Britain to have 36 each has celebrated the start of her 100th voyage.

She set sail for the Caribbean this week (Tuesday, September 15) after a ceremony to mark the occasion at Albert Johnson Quay in Portsmouth.

A celebration lunch was held aboard the Dutch-registered 150m vessel and the company’s Financial Director Chris Roberts presented a commemorative plaque to her new Captain, Paul Hagendoorn and previous Captain, Arno Durkstra.

In her 100 round trips for Geest Line the 9,300-tonne Bengeula Stream has transported 2.3 billion bananas and travelled more than a million miles – equal to more than 400 times around the world. Geest Line has been the premier cargo shipping company linking Europe and the Caribbean for more than 60 years.

Mr Roberts said: “I am delighted that Bengeula Stream has reached this landmark. She was purpose-built for the ocean transport of perishable cargo and that she carries out this role perfectly is testament to the expertise of her 20 crew and Geest Line staff.

“She is versatile and absolutely suits Geest Line’s needs. She has a big capacity in four temperature-controlled holds, a highest speed of 21 knots and only needs to refuel in Portsmouth.

“I must emphasise that Geest Line is about much more than just bananas. We pride ourselves at the company on the diversity of the products and cargo we carry – any break bulk cargo from personal effects and furniture on pallets to race horses and supplies for major cruise ships in the Caribbean.”

Benguela Stream, fitted with her own crane, can carry 324 20-foot containers and, unusually for a major shipping line, will also accommodate 10-foot containersBengeula Stream’s 28-day round voyage takes in Le Havre, Martinique, Barbados, St Lucia, St Vincent, Antigua, St Kitts and the Dominican Republic – carrying freight to the Eastern Caribbean, operating inter-island services and returning across the Atlantic laden with millions of bananas and other tropical fruit.

She is one of four similar specialist refrigeration ships on charter by Geest Line from Dutch company Seatrade since 2008. That charter has just been extended to December 2017. Sister vessel Klipper Stream completed her 100th voyage last month (August) with Timor Stream and Agulhas Stream to follow suit in the next few months as Geest cements its position as the only shipping line sailing direct from the UK to Eastern Caribbean with no transhipment.