The first of four 99,000m3 very large ethane carriers (VLECs), designed with IMO Type B tanks, has been launched at Jiangnan Shipyard in China. The ship, Pacific Ineos Belstaff, is one of a series of ABS-classed tankers under construction for Tianjin Southwest Maritime. They will be chartered to Zhejiang Satellite Petrochemical.
The vessels, the largest VLECs built so far, are designed primarily for the transport of ethane, which has a boiling point of -89°C, but they can also carry LPG cargoes including propane and butane (-42°C) and ethylene (-104°C).
The shipbuilder’s chief of Corporate Technology, Keyi Hu, commented: “The first VLEC launching is not only a significant milestone in construction, but also a landmark to prove the technical feasibility of our own-developed ‘BrilliancE’ Type B containment system.”
He noted that the knowledge gained in development of the BrilliancE tank design will also be transferred to Type B tank designs for LNG tankers in the future.
Sean Bond, ABS director, Global Gas Development, said: “Launch of this vessel is a key milestone in the development of the industry. It’s significant not simply because of its scale, but in the fexibility it offers operators to adapt in an evolving global marketplace.”
First of four largest-ever VLECs launched in China