Oil major fixes dual-fuel Aframax pair

Dual-fuel Aframax tanker 'Eagle Brasilia' is set for Shell charter (credit: AET) Dual-fuel Aframax tanker 'Eagle Brasilia' is set for Shell charter (credit: AET)

Two LNG dual-fuelled Aframax tankers are set to join the fleet of Singapore-based AET, part of Malaysian energy shipping group MISC Berhad, following construction at Samsung Heavy Industries’ Geoje complex in South Korea. David Tinsley reports.

The 113,400dwt Eagle Brasilia and Eagle Bintulu will commence long-term charters to Shell in the coming weeks, primarily for operations in the Atlantic Basin.

Each vessel’s single two-stroke propulsion engine, three auxiliaries and two auxiliary boilers have LNG dual-fuel capability. Running in gas mode, the ships will meet the IMO’s forthcoming global 0.5% sulphur cap and the Tier III NOx emission limit.

AET conducted its own, extensive study into LNG fuelling and global fuel availability before deciding on dual-fuel propulsion for two of four Aframax units contracted from Samsung. Its investigations included mapping out expected LNG bunkering infrastructure expansion across strategic locations alongside conventional bunkering for low-sulphur fuel oil and marine gas oil, and drawing on the expertise of parent company MISC, a leading transporter of LNG, with regard to fuel handling and supply chain aspects.

In what constituted one of the first endorsements of the dual-fuel concept by the crude oil carrier sector, AET chose 6X62DF low-speed, dual-fuel engines, designed and licensed by Winterthur Gas & Diesel (WinGD), for Eagle Brasilia and Eagle Bintulu. Twin LNG tanks of 850m3 apiece located on the main deck aft give the possibility to sail on LNG for approximately 6,000 nautical miles. Each is equipped with two LNG feed pumps, ensuring full redundancy.

The hydrodynamically-optimised hull form features various energy saving devices such as an asymmetric rudder bulb, SAVER fin and SAVER stator. Variable frequency drives (VFDs) are employed for the seawater cooling pumps, and mass flow meters are installed to measure fuel consumption. The overall effect of the engineering and design measures is reflected in an Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) that is about 28.8% below the reference line, bordering on the 2025 Phase 3 target figure when operating on LNG.

AET chairman and MISC Berhad president and Group CEO Mr Yee Yang Chien observed that the vessels’ high environmental credentials were achieved without detriment to their operational and commercial flexibility. “To my mind, Eagle Brasilia and Eagle Bintulu are proof that, as an industry, we needn’t see increasing environmental requirements as a threat to how we operate, but rather as an incentive to develop new, more innovative and sustainable shipping solutions,” he added.

AET is aiming to adopt LNG dual-fuel technology on up to half its Aframax fleet and other tankers over the next few years.

Charterer Shell has been an advocate of LNG as a marine fuel for many years, and has invested substantially in supporting the development of a comprehensive LNG bunkering infrastructure.

The Anglo-Dutch oil major has also entered into long-term charter commitments against two of the ships in SCF Sovcomflot’s newbuild series of six LNG-fuelled, ice-classed Aframax tankers ordered from Hyundai Heavy Industries, including the July-delivered, first-of-class Gagarin Spirit. The recent LNG refuelling of Gagarin Spirit marked the first ship-to-ship delivery of the fuel by Shell in the port of Rotterdam, using its LNG bunker tanker Cardissa.

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