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Euronav has announced the launch of a Joint Development Program (JDP) with Hyundai Heavy Industries and classification societies Lloyd’s Register and DNV to help accelerate the development of dual fuel Ammonia (NH3) fitted VLCCs and Suezmax vessels.

The initial term of the JDP will be three years, the Belgium-based tanker company said.

‘Shipping is entering an era of rapid technological developments and increasing environmental efforts demanding strong stewardship. Working with key partners toward the safe transport and commercialisation of new technologies will be instrumental in delivering benefits for the wider marine industry,’ said Hugo de Stoop, CEO of Euronav. ‘This partnership will accelerate the development and adoption of ammonia as one of the key solutions for the shipping sector.’

Since the beginning of the year, Euronav has acquired two Suezmaxes through resale of contracts – and announced it was ‘working closely’ with the builders of the vessels, Daehan Shipyard in South Korea, to have an ammonia-ready structural notation.

In addition to the ammonia JDP, Euronav also announced that it had entered into new contracts for the building of three Suezmaxes and, following an order for two LNG-ready VLCCs in April, confirmed that is has lifted the option to build a third vessel.

All the newbuildings will be delivered in a staggered timing, which Euronav said would enable all parties involved to make ‘concrete progress towards the development of ammonia-fitted tankers’.

Euronav said: ‘Every vessel ordered is part of our fleet rejuvenation program and is already outperforming any other existing vessels in terms of fuel consumption and emissions, and in particular the older vessels that will be phased out of the fleet because of their age profile. In addition, the vessels will feature a gradual and increasing degree of readiness to be converted into dual fuel fully fitted Ammonia ships at a later stage, while retaining the possibility to convert them into dual fuel LNG vessels if it would make more commercial sense.’

The three firm Suezmaxes were contracted for a total cost of $199.2 million ($66.4 million each). The vessels will be delivered in the third quarter of 2023 and the first quarter of 2024. Delivery for the lifted option VLCC would have been the second quarter of 2023.

 

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