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Ship-building Swiss sea giants hatch in Vietnam

With their 87,000 tonnes of cargo, the "Tzoumaz", the "Diavolezza" and "Bregaglia" are the biggest cargo ships ever built for the Swiss maritime fleet. Journalist Olivier Grivat and photographer Mike Gorsky visited the Vietnamese site Nha Thrang, where these ships took shape in 2015.

The book "Swiss Navy: 75 years on the Oceans" offers much more than a historical perspective. Several chapters are devoted to expeditions on the high seas, or to strategic places of maritime navigation, like the Panama and Suez canals.

Both authors are also introduced in the Vietnamese port of Nha Thrang, which houses half a dozen large ships under construction on its quays and dry docks.

Among these are three cargo vessels commissioned by Suisse-Atlantiqueexternal link, a company from the Swiss canton of Vaud that manages the largest commercial fleet of ships flying the Swiss flag.

With their unusual dimensions – 240 metres long and 38 meters wide – these "Postpanamax" vessels are tailored to the dimensions of the new locks of the Panama Canal, whose official opening is planned in 2016.

It is no accident that Vietnam was chosen by the Swiss ship-owner. With its affordable labour, which is understood to be increasingly efficient, the "emerging dragon" of Southeast Asia has risen during the past decade to take its place among the ten largest ship-builders in the world.

(Text: Samuel Jaberg)

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SWI swissinfo.ch on Instagram

SWI swissinfo.ch on Instagram

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