The liquefied natural gas tanker British Merchant, owned by UK-based oil and gas major BP Plc, will be the first LNG tanker to transit the Expanded Panama Canal in late July, according to Bloomberg.
Featuring 138,000 cbm, the tanker will start its journey from the Caribbean Port of Point Fortin, Trinidad and Tobago, where it is currently anchored, according to AIS data provided by Marine Traffic.
The 75,059 dwt vessel was built by South Korea’s shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries in 2003.
The Expanded Panama Canal is capable of serving the LNG carriers coming out of Trinidad and Tobago with destination Chile, as these vessels will now be able to go through the new waterway, saving hundreds of sea miles.
The Panama Canal Authority estimated that the new canal could see about 20 million tons of LNG pass through it on an annual basis, equivalent to some 300 ships a year, Bloomberg writes.
Panama Canal Administrator and CEO Jorge L. Quijano, earlier said that there are currently “170 reservations for Neopanamax ships, commitments of two new liner services to the Expanded Canal, and a reservation for the first LNG vessel.”
The USD 5.25 billion canal’s locks are 70 feet wider and 18 feet deeper than those in the original canal, and they use less water due to water-savings basins that recycle 60 percent of the water used per transit.
World Maritime News Staff