V.Ships France welcomes the oldest vessel under French Flag

It has been a busy time for V.Ships France, taking over the management of 4 new buildings fitted with the latest technology, electronic engines dual fuel. Our experience in supporting the management of these vessels will set us apart as a reliable partner of choice, as the world transitions its fuel technology to reach Net Zero.

Nevertheless, our latest win coincides with the earliest part of shipping, when ships used sails to harness the power of wind to propel the vessel. On the 17th May 2022, the Nantes office was delighted to welcome the BELEM in their fleet. Dating from the 19th Century, the French commercial ship is a 3-masted vessel which is still sailing, being the oldest vessel under French Flag.

The ship is 58 meters long, with 22 sails, which totals 1200 square meters of sail area. Sixteen professional crew members, along with 48 trainees, manage all vessel operations.

She made her maiden voyage as a cargo ship in 1896, sailing from the West Indies, Brazil and French Guinea to Nantes, France. The Belem was an ambassador for French business, promoting trade and industry around the globe.

After many decades on the sea, different owners and Flags, the Belem was bought in 1979 by the French Bank Caisse d’Epargne, which created the “Foundation Belem” in 1980. Since then, the Foundation preserves ancestral professions and promotes the transmission of know-how of the great sailing navy. In 1981, the Belem was classified as an Historical Monument by the French Administration.

Thierry Sarrazin, V.Ships France Managing Director, commented: “We anticipate a great and exciting collaboration with the Foundation Belem for operating this very old lady. Each year, the Belem sails from April to November, benefitting of thousands of trainees.”

“This project is a combination of maintaining this historic sailing vessel, as well as providing skilled and competent crew via our network. It embodies what the maritime industry is – a fantastic link between our present activities and the past of our honorable ancestors. This is also quite fitting for the V.Ships France office being located in Nantes, creating that additional affinity and bond with the history of the vessel. The vessel may also be used as a spectacular venue to organize seminars and team building sessions for shore and sea staff.”

“From commercial ships dating from the 19th Century to vessels fitted with the latest technology, and everything in between, it’s fantastic to see how we are able to provide comprehensive solutions for vessels of all ages!”