South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries launched
its first V-Max VLCC or very large crude carrier at its Ulsan shipyard on Thursday.
The V-Max is designed with features to improve existing tanker safety and to offload directly into ports with shallow anchorages.
Concordia Maritime, an affiliate of Sweden's shipping conglomerate Stena, financed the project, known by the name Stena
V-Max, based on an initial three-year charter from U.S. independent refiner Sun Oil.
The president of Sweden's Concordia Maritime said
his company expected to take delivery of a second V-Max VLCC from Hyundai Heavy in July.
Hyundai was awarded the order three years ago to construct the world's first two Stena V-Max VLCCs, which are designed for a 30-40 year life span.
The actual construction cost of the Stena V-Max VLCC is estimated at around $10 million above that of a normal VLCC of equivalent size. Over the past 10 years, costs of constructing a normal VLCC have varied from $70 million to $100 million.
The purpose of the Stena V-Max VLCC design is that apart from safer transportation of crude oil, the new features will also provide a savings of $.15 to $.30 cents per barrel in transportation costs, as the V-Max would be able to navigate in shallow and narrow waterways.