Spotted: Esshu Maru Traversing Cocoli Locks
In today’s spotted, we bring you images of the Esshu Maru, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker, transiting the Cocoli Locks of the Expanded Panama Canal on November 13, 2016.
Owned by Japanese shipping company Transpacific Shipping 2, a joint venture of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), Mitsubishi Corporation and Chubu Electric Power Company, the vessel has a capacity of 155,000 cubic meters.
The 138,000 gross ton vessel Esshu Maru was built at Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 2014.
Featuring a length of 288 meters and a width of 49 meters, the Bahamas-flagged tanker transports LNG that Chubu Electric Power is procuring from the Freeport LNG Project in Texas.
Earlier this year, the Maran Gas Apollonia became the first LNG carrier to transit the waterway’s expanded locks.
Officially inaugurated on June 26, 2016, the Panama Canal is said to be able to accommodate 90 percent of the world’s current LNG tankers with LNG-carrying capacity up to 3.9 billion cubic feet (Bcf), while, prior to the expansion, only 30 of the smallest LNG tankers with capacities up to 0.7 Bcf, which make up 6 percent of the current global fleet, could transit the canal.
The canal has significant implications for LNG trade, reducing travel time and transportation costs for LNG shipments from the US Gulf Coast to key markets in Asia and providing additional access to previously regionalized LNG markets, US Energy Information Administration (EIA) earlier said.
World Maritime News Staff; Image Courtesy: Panama Canal Authority