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China Merchants Energy Shipping orders world’s first methanol-fuel VLCC

 China Merchants Energy Shipping (CMES) has ordered a methanol dual-fuel VLCC, claimed to be the world’s first methanol-fuelled VLCC.

At a total cost of $107.5m, the VLCC will be constructed by a shipyard in Dalian and is scheduled for delivery by April 2026.

China Merchants Energy Shipping didn’t reveal the shipyard’s name which is likely to be Dalian Shipbuilding Industry (DSIC). The two parties have maintained a close cooperation and relationship for many years and have already inked over thirty large-size vessel orders of VLCCs and LNG carriers.

Earlier this month Euronav placed an order for VLCC at Behai Shipbuilding which would appear to be methanol-ready with space to equip the vessel with methanol fuel tanks. The Belgian owner has previously order ammonia/methanol ready Suezmaxes in Korea.

Methanol is rapidly becoming the alternative fuel of choice with orders in recent months far surpassing those for LNG-dual fuel, the most commonly used alternative fuel at present. According to classification society DNV’s Alternative Fuels Insight platform 48 of the 62 alternative fuel ship contracts placed in July were for methanol dual fuel including 15 retrofits. By contrast 14 contracts were place in July for LNG dual fuel tonnage.

As of end July there were 204 methanol-fuelled ships on order, still a long way behind the 949 contracts for LNG-fuelled vessels, excluding LNG carriers, but the gap is closing.

More orders continue to be placed and earlier this month Hafnia contracted for a quartet of 49,800dwt dual-fuel methanol-fuelled, chemical, medium-range tankers from Guangzhou Shipyard International (GSI). These were Hafnia’s first order for methanol-powered tonnage.

China Merchants Energy Shipping currently operates a fleet of over 300 vessels including 52 VLCCs.

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