First of 12 very large ethane carriers with LNG notation delivered by Korea for US-China trade

Wednesday, 18 November 2020
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The American Bureau of Shipping, the US classification society, said the first of an order of 12 very large ethane carriers (VLECs) with LNG notation and built to ABS Class has been delivered from the Goeje shipyard in South Korea of Samsung Heavy Industries.

The “Seri Everest” was handed over to Zhejiang Satellite Petrochemical (STL) and is the first of a phase-one order by STL which was subsequently sold to the Malaysian shipping line, MISC Group.

The vessel with more than 98,000 cubic metres capacity is the largest VLEC ever built.

A second phase of the order also includes six vessels, bringing the total to 12, scheduled for trade from the US to China to support STL’s ethane cracker facility in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu.

“This is the first VLEC to be delivered with the LNG Cargo-Ready notation that was released by ABS in 2019,” said the US class society.

“The notation provides assurance to owners and charterers that the VLEC can be upgraded to trade LNG cargoes in the future,” ABS explained.

Christopher J. Wiernicki, Chairman, President and Chief Executive of Houston, Texas-based ABS said that as part of the shale-gas revolution, shipping of liquefied ethane was developing into a significant new market.

“At ABS we have supported this development from the early stages and are happy to see that this leadership role is being recognized in the current VLEC market,” added Wiernicki.

Yee Yang Chien, President and Group Chief Executive of MISC, said he was proud to welcome “Seri Everest” as the first VLEC in MISC’s existing fleet.

“With this first delivery, our VLEC has set a new benchmark in the ethane market,” added Yee.

“The ‘Seri Everest’ has the capacity of transporting large-scale ethane over long distances while ensuring the highest level of safety and reliability,” stated the MISC CEO.

“We hope to continue to capitalize on this opportunity as we are confident that we will gain a strong foothold to cater to the increasing demand in this niche segment,” said Yee.

The MISC CEO noted that he was pleased that the “Seri Everest” was delivered according to schedule amidst the disruption caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Hohyun Jeong, SHI Executive Vice President for Engineering Operations, said that it was great to have the VLEC delivered on time during the pandemic as well as with the addition of the newly introduced ABS LNG Cargo Ready notation.

“The VLEC has been built with a cargo containment system for dual cargo loading and the cargo-handling system can be converted for LNG at any time, as needed,” Jeong explained.

“It has been all thanks to the close cooperation with ABS, STL and MISC working from anywhere, regardless of location,” he added.

ABS is the leader in provision of classification services to VLEC owners.

The US class society was chosen to oversee the very first order for six dedicated VLECs in 2014 by the Indian company, Reliance Industries.

ABS said the 87,000 cubic metres capacity VLECs have been successfully trading for Reliance and laid the foundation for the next generation of larger VLECs.

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