Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) received the liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier Kumul at Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding in Shanghai on April 29.
The 290-meter long vessel, which was ordered by MOL subsidiary Gemini LNG Shipping Limited, is the last in a series of four newbuilding LNG carriers ordered by MOL to provide LNG transportation for projects in Papua New Guinea.
Featuring a cargo tank capacity of 171,800 m3, the vessel will be operated under a long-term charter contract for the PNG LNG project operated by ExxonMobil, according to MOL.
The first vessel from the batch, the Papua, was delivered in January 2015, the second one, the Southern Cross, joined its owner in June that year, while the owner took delivery of the third one, the Beidou Star, in November 2015.
All vessels have been launched to sail under long-term charters with ExxonMobil.
In April, MOL launched the operation of its newly established LNG carrier management company, MOL LNG Transport (MOLLNG (Asia)) in order to meet demands of an anticipated growth in LNG transport sector for Asia.
The company revealed its intention to play a central role in ship management, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, as it becomes involved in the operation of a growing number of LNG carriers.
The company is currently involved in the operation of about 70 LNG carriers.
Singapore-based shipowner Ocean Tankers has recently placed an order of twenty 11,000dwt chemical tankers with two Chinese shipbuilders, reported a domestic shipping news portal.
The total value of the 20 vessels is approximately US$360m.
Currently, Ocean Tankers owns 82 vessels composed of 14 VLCC, 1 Suezmax tanker, 14 Aframax tankers, 6 Panamax tankers, 22 MR tankers, 4 chemical tankers, and 21 general-purpose tankers.
Damen Schelde, part of Damen Shipyards Group, has officially secured a contract to design and build Australia's new icebreaker worth AU$529m (US$403m).
Australian company DMS Maritime Pty is to project manage the overall ship design and building process, and after that operate and maintain the icebreaker from its home port of Hobart.
The Australian government expects the cost of the entire project to hit AU$1.9bn, including the vessel's 30-year operations and maintenance costs. The project is said to be the single biggest investment in the history of the Australian Antarctic program.
The contract signing follows the recently unveiled Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20-year Action Plan by the Ministry of the Environment.
The new icebreaker will be used for the resupply of Australia's Antarctic research stations and to lead scientific expeditions, according to the government.
In addition, the vessel is said to be faster, larger and stronger than the Australian Antarctic program's current icebreaker, Aurora Australis, and offers increased endurance and icebreaking capability.
The ship is scheduled for delivery in mid-2020.
Spanish state-owned shipyard Navantia embarked on constructing the first of four Suezmax tankers for compatriot ship manager Ibaizábal Group.
The 156,000ton ships will be built at Navantia's yards in the Bay of Cadiz, while some parts are scheduled for construction at the company's Ria de Ferrol site.
Featuring a length of 274 meters and a width of 48 meters, the first tanker, which will be chartered to the Spanish oil company Cepsa, is expected to join its owner late next year.
The deal for the four vessels was signed in July 2015 and includes an option for two more.
The new offshore installation vessel of the Jan De Nul Group was christened by Her Majesty the Queen of Belgium in the Port of Ostend, which is the base camp for Jan de Nul Group's project team for the Bligh Bank Phase 2 project, better known as the Nobelwind project.
The vessel was given the name Vole au vent.
The Vole au vent, which is 140 metres long and has a Liebherr crane on deck, was acquired by Jan De Nul group in 2015, aiming to be a partner in the offshore wind energy industry.
It is one of the largest vessels of its kind in the world as its large clear deck space, high loading capacity and the lifting capacity of 1,400 tonnes allow it to install the heaviest foundations and components of offshore wind farms.
The vessel is equipped with four spud poles so that it can be jacked up above water and work safely and unaffected by wave impact. The Vole au vent can install all types of foundations and the latest generation of wind turbines at sea up to a water depth of 50 metres.
The vessel has been specifically built for the execution of offshore wind projects, but is also deployable for other offshore industries such as oil & gas.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' (NCLH) brand Oceania Cruises added to its fleet the newest cruise ship Sirena, holding a christening ceremony at the Port of Barcelona.
The company purchased the ship formerly-named Ocean Princess from Princess Cruises in 2014. Upon its delivery in March 2016, the ship underwent a 35-day, US$40m refurbishment in Marseille, France and has now been renamed to Sirena.
Scheduled for May 2, Serena's first voyage starts in Rome and lasts 9 days until reaching Venice.
The cruise ship's refit is part of the company's large refurbishment program, following its three sister ships that underwent a multimillion-dollar transformation. The refurbishment of the three mid-size cruise ships, Regatta, Nautica and Insignia was completed in 2014.
Featuring a length of 593.7 feet and a width of 83.5 feet, the ship has a gross tonnage of 30,277t.
Sirena has an accommodation space for 664 persons and 400 crew members.
Europe's short sea RoRo operator United European Car Carriers (UECC) has launched its new dual-fuel liquefied natural gas (LNG) pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) TBN AUTO ECO.
The vessel, the first of its kind ordered with an LNG fuel propulsion system, was built to Lloyd's Register (LR) class.
The next milestones for the ship will be sea trials and gas trials, where its dual-fuel capabilities will be put to the test and its engines will run solely on LNG.
TBN AUTO ECO, which was constructed at NACKS shipyard in Nantong, China, is the first of two LR classed dual-fuel LNG PCTCs ordered in March 2014.
The vessel is scheduled to be delivered to UECC on Sept. 28, 2016 in Nantong, China, while the second car carrier is also expected to join its owner in the second half of the year.
Featuring a length of 181 metres with a 30 metre beam, the vessels will have 1A super Finnish/Swedish ice class.
With capacity for approximately 3,800 cars, it will be the largest PCTC type vessel specifically designed for transiting the Baltic and other ice prone areas.
Dalian COSCO KHI Ship Engineering Co., Ltd. (DACKS), jointly invested by China Ocean Shipping Group Company (COSCO) and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. (KHI), delivered a 61,000dwt bulk carrier to a foreign shipowner in a naming and delivering ceremony held on April 26, reported a domestic shipping news portal.
The vessel is the first one in a series of two for the shipowner.
The vessel measures 199.90m in length, 32.24m in breadth moulded, and 18.60m in depth moulded, with the design speed of 15.8 knots, according to the report.
Cosco Zhoushan Shipyard, part of Singapore-listed Cosco Corporation, has recently inked a contract with Greek shipowner Aegean Shipping Management for the construction of four 113,000dwt tankers, according to a domestic shipping news portal.
The deliveries will start from 2018.
The Greek shipowner did not reveal the concrete prices of the four vessels, noting that the price for each one is well below the current market average of US$56.5m.
Newbuilding activity fell to historically low levels in 2015 and just 77 orders have been reported in the first quarter of 2016. Compared to average annual contract volumes over the last decade, owners in many major shipping countries placed orders for significantly less tonnage last year. However, in one or two of the key owner nations investors did manage to buck the global trend.
Appetite for Newbuildings
Newbuild activity provides one indication of an owner country’s likely future fleet growth, though secondhand sale and purchase and demolition activity will also influence the size of an owner country’s fleet. Over the last decade, shipowners’ fleet expansion plans have generally been fairly positive, and an annual average of 91.8m GT was ordered between 2005 and 2014. However, contracting slowed in 2015 with 70.2m GT contracted and newbuild demand has been extremely limited in 2016 so far with only 1.6m GT reported ordered. In numerical terms the decline has been even more stark, as interest in the larger ship types supported the tonnage ordering total last year.
European Ordering Down
Greek owners accounted for the largest volume of orders placed 2005-14 with an average 14.0m GT ordered. In 2015, Greek owners pulled back from the newbuild market, and with limited bulker contracting, Greek order volumes fell to 7.8m GT, 44% below the historical average 2005-14. Meanwhile, German owners ordered 68% less tonnage in 2015, 2.4m GT, compared to an average of 7.6m GT p.a. 2005-14, reflecting the overall decline in German ordering since the collapse of the KG finance system. Norwegian and Italian owners also accounted for relatively fewer newbuild orders in GT terms and in 2015 ordering levels fell 30% and 50% below their 2005-14 averages with 2.8m GT and 1.6m GT contracted respectively. A depressed offshore market reduced Norwegian newbuilding activity while Italian ordering fell from volumes seen in recent years.
Asian Demand Still Firm?
However, one major shipowning country did see ordering volumes increase in 2015. Japanese owners signed a reported 14.1m GT of orders compared to an average 12.8m GT contracted p.a. between 2005 and 2014. The majority of this tonnage (85%) was reportedly contracted domestically. Furthermore, Chinese owners saw a relatively limited 11% decline in ordering last year compared to the 2005-14 average (12.3m GT) with 11.0m GT placed. Ordering was largely state-backed and 51% of orders in GT terms were placed at state building groups CSSC and CSIC last year. Elsewhere, the volume of contracts placed by South Korean and Singaporean owners declined by 30% and 45% respectively in 2015 compared to the average 3.3m GT and 1.7m GT contracted p.a. 2005-14.
Exceptions to the Rule
Nonetheless, although Japanese owners were relatively active last year, owners from most other major countries still saw ordering volumes decline. With reported contracting levels so weak in 2016 so far, and activity expected to remain limited, shipbuilders will be crying out for investors from more than one country to prove exceptions to the rule this year.