Shanghai-based Jiangnan Shipyard delivered Navigator Aurora, the first of four Navigator Gas ethane/ethylene midsize vessels, just three weeks ago. The vessel is the newest ethane carrier in a global fleet of some 26 such ships contracted so far to lift US ethane exports.
Navigator Aurora is chartered for a minimum of 10 years to the European chemical group Borealis, which specialises in polyolefins, base chemicals and fertilisers. It will transport ethane from the US east coast to Europe, starting commercial operations in the fourth quarter of this year.
At 180m long and with capacity of 37,300m³ Navigator Aurora is – for now, at least – the largest ethane/ethylene-capable vessel on the water. The vessel is classed by ABS.
Navigator Aurora enables Borealis to “secure a safe, cost-efficient and reliable supply of ethane… over the long term," says Borealis executive vice-president base chemicals Markku Korvenranta. "We are pleased to have gained such an experienced partner with Navigator Gas. This project and the related investments underline our commitment to strengthen our monomer position in Europe."
What sets Navigator Aurora apart, says Navigator Gas, is its propulsion and electrical systems that are designed to run on LNG, methane as fuel, heavy fuel or marine gas oil. The MAN B&W 6S50ME-C8.2-GI main engine is the most fuel-efficient two-stroke engine on the market designed with a high-pressure gas injection system.
Its engine and fuel-gas system make the ship extremely fuel-efficient when using either normal fuels or LNG. Navigator is pressing ahead with adapting the main engines and software to allow the ship to burn ethane (C2) as a third fuel alternative, to meet tougher environmental regulations and to take advantage of falling prices for natural gas and ethane.
“This will ensure we are at the forefront of compliance with environmental legislation to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and provide even greater economies for our customers as there will also be a choice of using cargo as fuel when carrying ethane, which has only been possible on a small number of vessels in the past,” Navigator Gas says.
Ship profile: Navigator Aurora
Ship type: LPG/ethylene carrier
Shipowner/operator: Navigator Gas
Year built: 2016
Class society: ABS
Containment system: Type C
Number of cargo grades: 2
Intended sphere of operation: US-Northwest Europe
LOA x B x d (m): 180 x 29.6 x 19.4
Max tank pressure IMO (barg/kPa): 4.16 barg
Min cargo temperature: -104°C
Max cargo density (kg/mᶾ): 0.97 (70 per cent limit). 0.67 (98.5 per cent)
Propulsion system power output (kW/rpm): MAN B&W 6S50ME-C8-2-GI; 8100kW on 108 rpm
Service speed, knots: 16 knots
Main generator diesel engine: Wärtsilä 2 x 1400 kW 8L20DF and 2 x 900 kW 6L20
Cargo pumps: 6 x 550m3/h + 2 x booster pps Svanehoj
Cargo heater/vaporiser: Yes
Cargo compressor: 3 x Sulzer B
Cargo level gauges: Henri Lloyd
Nitrogen generator: PSA plant producing N2 – 1800m3/h @ 99 per cent N2
Propeller: Fixed 6.25m diam
Bow thruster: Nakashima 900 kW