Maersk Tankers reveals mega order for up to 10 very large ammonia carriers

Tanker operator Maersk Tankers has confirmed that it has ordered up to ten very large ammonia carriers (VLACs) at Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries in Korea.

Illustration; Archive; Courtesy of Jiangnan

The order has been placed by an affiliated company of Maersk Tankers, validating previous media reports. As disclosed, Japanese company Mitsui & Co. will join as a co-investor in the first four vessels. Maersk Tankers will operate the vessels.

The newbuilds of 93,000 cbm will be among the largest ammonia carriers in operation, capable of carrying a full cargo of ammonia. The first four firm VLACs are due to be delivered from late 2026 onwards, and the contract includes options for an additional six vessels.

Maersk Tankers said it was working with MAN Energy Solutions and Hyundai Heavy Industries’ Engine Machine Division (EMD) to make the vessels capable of running on clean ammonia. However, a decision to install ammonia-capable engines requires both regulatory and customer support.

The vessels will hold a classification from the American Bureau of Shipping.

“Concrete actions are needed for the tanker industry to progress the energy transition, and in Maersk Tankers, we want to play our part in making transportation of clean energy a reality. We are building on our legacy of operating gas carriers to offer a crucial transportation service that will aid the transition. With this initiative, we will be able to service clean ammonia producers and users in many parts of the world with highly energy efficient and safe ships,” Maersk Tankers’ CEO, Tina Revsbech, said.

“Mitsui will leverage its expertise and experience in the shipping industry as well as in energy and chemicals to accelerate the transportation of ammonia which we see as one of the promising options for sources of next generation energy,Kensuke Kubota, General Manager of the Marine Solution Business Div. at Mitsui & Co., Ltd. said.

“Through this project and other initiatives, Mitsui will contribute to the realization of a carbon-neutral society.”

The order is being attributed to the anticipated rise in demand for the transportation of ammonia as a derivative of clean hydrogen, as both of them are poised to become vital commodities during the transition to clean energy.

Many of the clean ammonia projects under development in the world require seaborne transportation. The market is therefore looking for energy-efficient and safe solutions to meet the growing ammonia transportation needs.