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Delivery of world's largest ethane carrier: it burns LNG, methane, HFO, MGO... and soon ethane

Owner confirms that it is 'very well advanced' towards also making the vessel ethane-ready.

Updated on 11 Aug 2016 00:02 GMT

The first of the four Navigator Gas Ltd ethane/ethylene midsize vessels, Navigator Aurora, was delivered at Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai on 2nd August.

With a length of 180 metres, the newly built Navigator Aurora has a carrying capacity of 37,300* cubic metres (cbm), enabling the vessel to hold up to 20,000 tonnes of ethane/ethylene, making it the largest ethane/ethylene-capable vessel serving the global market.

The state-of-the-art vessel has been chartered for a minimum of 10 years to the European chemical group Borealis for the transport of ethane from the U.S. East Coast to Europe, with commercial operations scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2016.

What also makes this vessel special is that her propulsion and electrical systems are designed to use liquefied natural gas (LNG) or methane as fuel, in addition to traditional heavy fuel oil (HFO) and marine gas oil (MGO).

Navigator Gas has also confirmed that it is "very well advanced in the process of adopting the main engines and software to allow the ship to burn ethane (C2) as a third fuel alternative".

"This will allow even greater economies for our customers as there is a choice of also using cargo as fuel when carrying ethane, which has only been possible on a few number of vessels in the past," the company said.

According to Navigator Gas, the main engine, which has a high pressure gas injection system, is "the most fuel efficient two-stroke engine on the market".

"This selection of engine and fuel gas system allow the ship to be extremely fuel efficient both when using normal fuels as well as when using LNG," the gas transportation specialist added.

Commenting on the charter agreement with Navigator Gas, Markku Korvenranta, Borealis Executive Vice President Base Chemicals, said: "This state-of-the-art vessel is key to our efforts to secure a safe, cost-efficient and reliable supply of ethane for Borealis operations over the long term. We are pleased to have gained such an experienced partner with Navigator Gas. This project and the related investments underline our commitment to further strengthen our monomer position in Europe."

Image: Navigator Aurora

* Borealis Group claims the vessel has a total cargo tank size of 35,000 cubic metres (cbm).

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