The world’s first Very Large Ethane Carrier (VLEC), ETHANE CRYSTAL, is flagged with the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and at the time of writing had sailed from Yosu, Korea to Houston, United States (US) via Panama and to India West Coast via the Suez Canal after loading ethane in Houston.
ETHANE CRYSTAL, built by Samsung Heavy Industries, was delivered on 9 November 2016 for Reliance. She is the first of six VLECs ordered by Reliance. Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) is supervising the newbuild process and is the appointed operator and ship manager for the vessels, which will transport ethane from the US to India.
With a length of 228 meters (m) and cargo tank capacity of 87,187 cubic meters (m3), the vessels are the largest ethane carriers ever built and will provide safe, reliable, and efficient ethane transportation to petrochemical complexes of Reliance, where the ethane shipped will be used as a feedstock.
With its Qualship 21 status and office in Mumbai, India, the RMI is the perfect flag State to ensure the VLECs are safely operated, pass US Coast Guard (USCG) inspections, and avoid delays in trading.
Sanjay Maini, Country Head – India, IRI Maritime and Corporate Services Private Limited, attended ETHANE CRYSTAL’s naming ceremony in Geoje Island and has been in close contact with Reliance and MOL as the main contact throughout the flag registration process.
“It was very satisfying to have ETHANE CRYSTAL under the RMI flag. She is an advanced vessel and will play an important role along with her sister VLECs exporting affordable US shale energy, specifically the by-product ethane, to developing markets in India. We look forward to supporting MOL and Reliance as they operate and trade these magnificent vessels,” said Jasbir Jaspal, Senior Maritime Advisor, IRI Reston.