An immaculate and pretty impressive sight as she passed under the Lions Gate Bridge on Monday (Family Day) this week on her inbound leg to Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Terminal was the Greek owned Aframax tanker Aqualegend.
Built by in 2012 Samsung Shipbuilding & Heavy Industries, Geoje, South Korea
Owned and operated by Unisea Shipping, Athens
GRT 61,237 tons
DWT 115,571 MT
Aqualegend is seen alongside Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Terminal, above left, and under the escort of a Seaspan tug off Victoria, above right.
Unisea Shipping was established in 2005 to operate tankers and bulk carriers with an emphasis on safe, secure, efficient and environmentally friendly shipping. The company manages its activities through the Greek office located in the Athens suburb of Kifissia and through Unisea Philippines Inc., Manila.
Following recent project approvals received from both the Federal and Provincial Governments, the board of Kinder Morgan is shortly expected to make a Final Investment Decision on expansion of pipeline capacity from Alberta to the Westridge terminal from 300,000 barrels/day to around 890,000 barrels/day. Construction would then begin in September 2017 with a view to completion in late 2019 and having the terminal operational in early 2020. In addition to an additional (and larger diameter) pipeline to be built, mostly along the existing right of way, the project includes expansion of oil storage capacity and the construction of three new load berths.
Crude oil tanker spot rates continue to be subject to variable supply and demand pressures. As shown in the above graph, a fleet utilization of around 94% in 2015 was a bumper year for owners but has since tailed off to below 90%. This is placing pressure on rates but within the numbers there are considerable regional variations. Fleet growth and reduced demolition is also a problem.
Despite the country’s well documented economic challenges, Greece retains its position as the world’s leading ship owning nation having control of around 18% of the world fleet with 333m DWT in service and a further 40m DWT on order. While Greek owners have diversified into other shipping sectors, primary focus continues to be on the tanker (35%) and dry bulk ( 47%) sectors. The balance of the fleet consists of container ships (11%) and gas carriers (4%), the balance being mostly ferries in the domestic trades.
The Greek fleet is valued at a staggering $90 billion which is third in the rankings behind the US due to the value weighting of the cruise fleet. Greek owners also continue to be the number one buyers in the sale and purchase market.
Ship of the Week contributed by Captain Stephen Brown, West Pacific Marine Ltd.