LYKES' JOINT US-AFRICA SERVICE TO EMPLOY 2 FOREIGN-FLAG SHIPS

LYKES' JOINT US-AFRICA SERVICE TO EMPLOY 2 FOREIGN-FLAG SHIPS

Two foreign-flag Lykes Bros. Steamship Co. ships will enter a joint U.S.-Africa service Lykes operates with Safbank Line Ltd. at the end of this month.

The nine-vessel service will provide sailings every nine days to and from ports in South and East Africa and the East and Gulf coasts of the United States.Ardley Hanemann, Lykes' vice president of corporate relations, said the New Orleans-based company, while traditionally a U.S.-flag carrier, intends to operate more foreign-flag ships in the future.

Lykes will add foreign-flag ships "wherever we can operate them under the (U.S.) statutes (and) wherever they will be profitable," he said.

Because Lykes receives operating subsidies from the U.S. government, it must receive permission from the Maritime Administration to operate foreign- flag ships.

There now are seven foreign-flag ships in Lykes' fleet, but the two African service ships - the Doctor Lykes and the Joseph Lykes - will be the first bearing the Lykes name.

The Doctor Lykes will make its first call in Savannah, Ga., on Feb. 28.

It then will make regular calls in South Africa at Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Richards Bay; in Mozambique at Beira and Nacala; in Tanzania at Dar Es Salaam; in Kenya at Mombasa; and in the United States at New Orleans; Savannah; Wilmington, N.C.; Newport News, Va.; and New York. The service also will call at St. John, New Brunswick.

The five Safbank ships in the service are the Infanta, the Recife, the Olivebank, the Columbine, the Vidal, the St. Blaize and the Natal.

Both the Lykes and the Safbank ships are multipurpose vessels that can carry between 700 and 1,100 20-foot containers.

The agreement between the two companies provides for the possibility of expansion up to 12 vessels, the companies said.