Production of MSC’s LNG-ready giants in full gear

The construction of MSC’s 16,000 TEU ultra-large containerships in China is ramping up with the second boxship hitting the water in the first two weeks of this year.

Image credit GSI

Namely, Chinese shipbuilder Guangzhou Shipbuilding International (GSI) has launched a 16,000 TEU ULCVs named MSC Noa Ariela.

The vessel is equipped with the necessary infrastructure to enable for potential conversion to LNG. It will feature air lubrication and a shaft generator to reduce drag and cut fuel consumption while emitting less GHG. The containership is fitted with a hybrid exhaust gas cleaning system (scrubber) in line with the IMO 2020 requirement.

The vessel is the first of eight 16,000 TEU containerships GSI is building for MSC. The ships were ordered back in 2021 in several separate deals for up to 17 LNG-ready Neo Panamax vessels, split between GSI and Dalian Shipbuilding Industry.

GSI said that during the construction process, the company had to overcome multiple hurdles including insufficient construction experience with these types of ships, as well as extensive use of new technologies, equipment, and building processes further hampered by the COVID-19 impact on the workforce.

On the same day, GSI launched Proteus Ingrid, a 110,000-ton LNG dual-fuel crude oil & product tanker being built for Bank of Communications Leasing. The vessel is part of a series of eight LNG dual-fuel oil tankers being built by the yard for Bocomm. In 2020, the financial leasing powerhouse ordered a dozen of LNG-powered LR2 tankers from CSSC supported by seven-year-long charter deals with Shell. The investment was worth a whopping 4.6 billion yuan ($657 million).

Image credit GSI

The latest undocking comes on the back of a similar construction milestone DSIC shared a few days ago. Namely, the yard has also launched a scrubber-fitted New Panamax boxship being built for MSC, named MSC Chiyo.

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Separately, DSIC Tianjin yard laid the keel for another 16,000 TEU containership at the beginning of this week. The vessel was ordered by China’s Minsheng Financial Leasing (MSFL) on behalf of MSC in 2021 as part of a two-ship deal. The duo is slated for delivery in 2023 and 2024.

Image credit DSIC

The ship adopts a MARIC design, and it will span 366 meters in length, and 51 meters in molded width and will have an endurance of 22,500 nautical miles. It will be able of carrying 16,520 standard containers.

In terms of its green specifications, the containership, like its sister vessels, will be fitted with air drag reduction technology, as well as a hybrid scrubber system. The main engine of the vessel will be equipped with high-pressure Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) which reduces NOx exhaust emissions making the vessel compliant with the IMO Tier III emission standards.