Epic Gas Ltd. of Singapore has taken delivery of the 8,319gt and 11,000m3 LPG carrier Epic Salina, the last vessel in a series of 8 pressurised LPG newbuildings ordered from Kyokuyo Shipyard, Japan. Since the first quarter of 2013, the Epic Gas fleet has grown from 22 vessels with a total capacity 99,500m3, to 41 vessels totalling 268,900m3, a 270% increase. Average vessel size has increased from 4,523 to 6,559m3.

Golden Ocean Group has entered into agreements to purchase Quintana Shipping’s dry bulk fleet under an all-share transaction. As part of the acquisition, Golden Ocean will acquire Quintana’s 14 vessel fleet and assume the fleet’s corresponding debt of $262.7m in consideration for 14.5m shares of Golden Ocean. The 14 ships consist of 6 Capesizes and 8 Kamsarmaxes/Panamaxes. Golden Ocean will also acquire 2 2017-built ice-class Panamax vessels from Hemen in consideration for 3.3m shares of the company, with Hemen issuing a seller credit of $22.5m that matures in June 2019. Upon completion of this deal, Golden Ocean will control a fleet of 77 vessels and own 6 Capesize newbuilding contracts.

Hanjin Shipping casualties are continuing to be sold off with five bulk carriers, owned by the former South Korean shipping giant, disposed of to multiple ship owners for a total of around $125 million in March. The 43,004gt/2012 built Hanjin Port Kamsar and Hanjin Hadong, were purchased by South Korean shipping firm Pan Ocean for $21m each plus the 93,152gt/2010 built Hanjin Rizhao/Hanjin Dangjin and the 93,166gt/2012 built Hanjin Esperance were sold on 15th March. Korea Line bought the 2010 built Hanjin Rizhao and Hanjin Dangjin for $26.5m each whilst the Hanjin Esperance was purchased by JP Morgan Global Maritime for $29.5m. Capital Ship Management paid $31m per ship for five 113,515gt and 9,954 TEU capacity sisterships built 2010-2011, namely the Hanjin United Kingdom, Hanjin Netherlands, Hanjin Spain, Hanjin Korea and Hanjin China.

Maersk Tankers is to have one of its ships fitted with two Flettner style rotor sails as part of an industry project seeking to test the century-old wind propulsion technology’s potential to reduce fuel consumption in modern day shipping. The project will be the first installation of the wind-powered energy technology on a product tanker, and will provide insights into fuel savings and operational experience. Norwegian rotor sail company Norsepower Oy Ltd., in partnership with Maersk Tankers, The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), and Shell Shipping & Maritime are jointly running the trials. Maersk Tankers will supply a 109,647dwt Long Range 2 (LR2) product tanker which will be retrofitted with two 30m tall by 5m diameter Norsepower Rotor Sails. Combined, the alternative propulsion technology is expected to reduce average fuel consumption on typical global shipping routes by 7 to 10 percent. The rotor sails will be fitted during the first half of 2018, before undergoing testing and data analysis at sea until the end of 2019. The Norsepower Rotor Sail Solution is a modernised version of the Flettner rotor, a spinning cylinder that uses the Magnus effect to harness wind power to propel a ship. Each Rotor Sail is made using intelligent lightweight composite sandwich materials. When wind conditions are favourable, the main engines can be reduced in speed, providing a net fuel cost and emission savings, while not impacting upon scheduling. Independent experts will analyse the data gathered from the project before publishing technical and operational insights, and performance studies. Experimentation with Flettner rotors to aid in ship propulsion dates back to the 1920s. Although the technology has not been widely adopted, modern Flettner rotors are currently in use aboard the 12,968gt/2010 built E-Ship 1, which has four large rotor sails and is owned by wind turbine manufacturer Enercon. Also the 18,205gt/1999 built roll-on/roll-off vessel Estraden, which operates across the North Sea, is equipped with two Norsepower Rotor Sails.

Odfjell of Norway has signed of a letter of intent for two additional chemical tankers with stainless steel cargo tanks to be built by China’s shipyard Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding. The 38,000dwt vessels will have 40 tanks and a cargo capacity of around 45,000m3. Both tankers will be prepared for dual fuel operation.

Sovcomflot, the Russian state-owned shipping company, has placed an order for the construction of four 114,000dwt and 250m long/44m beam Ice-Class IA Aframax tankers at South Korean yard Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries (HSHI). The ships will be the world’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fuelled Aframax tankers and are scheduled to be delivered from the third quarter of 2018. The world’s first icebreaking liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier, the 128,806gt/2016 built and 299m long/50m beam Christophe de Margerie was delivered to Sovcomflot in late March from South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME). The vessel has a capacity to carry 173,600 cubic meters of LNG and the ARC-7 class icebreaking vessel, which recently completed her ice trials, will be deployed at a gas field on the Yamal Peninsula, in the western part of Siberia. DSME is scheduled to deliver the remaining 14 icebreaking LNG carriers, currently on order at the yard, by 2020.

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Spliethoff of Amsterdam has ordered six 18,000dwt ice-class multipurpose vessels at China’s Zhejiang Ouhua Shipbuilding. The first newbuilding, the Raamgracht, is scheduled to be delivered in January 2019, followed, in regular intervals of two months, by the remaining five sister vessels, to be named Realengracht, Reguliersgracht, Rijpgracht, Ringgracht and Rozengracht. The ships are designed in accordance with the Polar Code and suitable to trade in remote areas such as the Arctic. The newbuildings will also be optimised for fuel efficiency and equipped with scrubbers to reduce their environmental footprint. With a hold length of over 100m and heavy lift cranes which are combinable, the vessels are suitable to operate in the specialised breakbulk market with heavy and outsized cargoes. Spliethoff currently manages a fleet of over 100 multipurpose, heavy lift, Ro-Ro and semi-submersible vessels ranging in size from 3,000-23,000dwt.

Stena Bulk has agreed to buy out Weco Shipping in their 50/50 joint venture Stena Weco, a rapidly expanding specialist in the medium range product tanker segment. Copenhagen-based Stena Weco had around 20 ships when established in 2011, but now operates 65 vessels that ship vegetable oils, chemicals and oil products. Half of the current fleet is owned by the company, and half chartered in.

Stena Bulk also received the GREEN4SEA Tanker Operator Award 2017 at an awards ceremony in Athens in early April. After an online vote, Stena Bulk was selected as one of the winners and received this year’s award in the aforementioned category. The award goes to a ship operator who, by means of energy efficiency, has substantially reduced its environmental impact and thus contributed to more sustainable shipping.

Stolt-Nielsen is separating out its tanker fleet, Stolt Tankers, from the rest of the group to operate it as a standalone concern prior to seeking a future partnership with another operator. The diverse group currently includes Stolt Tankers, Stolthaven Terminals, Stolt Tank Containers, Stolt Sea Farm and Stolt-Nielsen Gas. The standalone tanker operation would still be 100% owned by the Stolt- Nielsen group.

Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding and Wallenius received all the necessary approvals from competition authorities, bond holders and general meetings in early April for a merger between the two companies. Under the agreement, the companies will combine ownership in Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, EUKOR Car Carriers and American Roll on Roll off Carriers. The agreement is expected to remain in force until 31st December 2021. The merged company is to be named Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics ASA. At the completion of the merger, Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding ASA and Wallenius Lines AB will hold 37.8% and 48% of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics ASA.

The parties have agreed that Wallenius will reduce its shareholding subsequent to the merger, whereby both parties eventually will have an equal shareholding in the new entity. The merger was announced in September 2016 when Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding and Wallenius signed a letter of intent to establish a new ownership structure.

Thames Ship Society

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