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New AET Aframax vessels to feature LNG dual-fuel option

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LNG Industry,

Petroleum and chemical tanker owner and operator AET has announced that up to four of its new Aframax tankers will feature an LNG dual-fuel option.

The vessels are currently under construction by Samsung Heavy Industries Co. Ltd (SHI) and are due for delivery from 3Q18 onwards. They will be 113 000 DWT, and will replace existing tonnage as part of an ongoing fleet renewal programme. AET claims that it has been working on a Green Sustainable Agenda in order to control the emission of particulate matter (PM), sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and carbon. The company also claims that it anticipates that up to half of its Aframax fleet and other petroleum assets, including VLCCs, will also adopt the LNG dual-fuel option in the next few years.

In the statement, AET claims that the new Aframax vessels will have global trading flexibility, but that their initial operations will focus on areas where LNG bunkering is available (likely North America, Northwest Europe and Asia). Featuring twin LNG tanks, they will be capable of operating for approximately a month before needing to refuel. AET is also actively working with potential LNG suppliers to ensure reliability of the LNG bunker supply chain globally.

AET is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Malaysian energy shipping corporation MISC Berhad, which expects significant growth in the world’s LNG-fuelled vessel fleet. This follows an LNG fuelling feasibility study that it carried out, the results of which support the findings of industry participants and other experts. The shipping company has also carried out a fleet review that has mapped expected LNG bunkering infrastructure expansion across strategic locations, alongside traditional bunkering for LSFO and MGO, to ensure security of supply and optimum operational efficiency across its global operations from 2020 onwards.

Yee Yang Chien, Chairman, AET and President/Group CEO, MISC Berhad, said: “As an organisation, operating in a responsible manner and improving our environmental stewardship is key to the way business is managed at MISC. We have complete confidence that LNG will play a significant part in the marine fuels mix in the coming years, and we have been reviewing the feasibility of developing a dual-fuel LNG fleet since 2015. MISC is a leading global transporter of LNG, with unparalleled experience in handling LNG cargoes and a complete understanding of the entire supply chain. We are utilising this experience with the new AET ships, which we believe sets us ahead of other operators with similar vessels. Our experience allows us to have confidence that the required infrastructure for LNG bunkering will develop at pace as we approach 2020 giving much more trading flexibility in the future.”

Captain Rajalingam Subramaniam, President and CEO, AET, added: “At AET we are fully committed to building a sustainable fleet and working to develop solutions that improve our environmental footprint. Our Green Sustainable Agenda aims to provide innovative solutions based on our experience across our different asset classes. This is further enhanced by a close working relationship with Samsung Heavy Industries. Our customers and strategic partners have been very supportive and I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to all our major customers and strategic partners with whom we have worked very closely to determine LNG supply availability and commercial viability of our vessels. Now we look forward to working with our entire customer base to lead the way in this sector.

“As a business, it is important that we have the ability to operate with flexibility in the face of change, which means developing a diverse fleet portfolio, expanding our core capabilities and investing in people – both at sea and onshore – who are equipped to flawlessly operate our vessels with optimum efficiency.”

In addition to the LNG dual-fuel engines, the new vessels will feature a variety of eco-innovations in order to maximise fuel efficiency and minimise their emission impact on the environment. This will enable them to be awarded the Green Passport notation. They will also feature IMO-compliant ballast water management systems.

Dae-young Park, the President and CEO of Samsung Heavy Industries, commented: “These new vessels represent a milestone for AET, the tanker sector and the commercial shipping industry as a whole. We are proud to be able to play our part in what is a truly innovative project. By choosing the LNG option, AET has raised the bar and it will be only a matter of time before other operators follow.”

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