ABS, AEC Working Together on New Ultra Large Ethane Ships

Classification society ABS and the American Ethane Company (AEC) are collaborating on a next generation fleet of ultra large ethane carriers (ULEC).

ABS has been supporting AEC and its shipping project partners with the technical and regulatory requirements related to the vessels. Namely, the parties would build, own and operate a fleet of ULECs to transport 7.2 MTPA of ethane from the U.S. Gulf Coast to a number of petrochemical facilities in China.

With a capacity of around 150,000 m³ each, these gas carriers will be among the biggest and most advanced ethane carriers to be ordered, according to the classification society.

“The joint effort between China Merchant Group, AEC and ABS means this vessel has incorporated modern technologies such as cargo containment systems, ethane propulsion, and hull design and brings logistics efficiency and cost savings to long-term ethane shipping between the USA and Asia,” John Houghtaling, AEC CEO, said.

“Approval in Principal of this design by ABS is the first step to further innovations in the industry,” he added.

ABS classed six 87,000 m³ VLECs that were built with a GTT Mark III cargo containment system at Samsung Heavy Industries for Reliance Industries to carry ethane from the U.S. to India. Six more 98,000 m³ VLECs are currently on order to ABS class.

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