, the new 138,000 cu. m. liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier launched on January 29 by Izar’s Sestao yard in Bilbao, is a significant ship for many reasons, both technical and business. The 284.4 m, 19.5 knot ship embodies the hopes of a shipbuilding nation that is seeking to re-establish its presence in the LNG niche that it has not occupied for more than three decades, as the production of gas ships generally
lays in the hands of Far East builders today.
The ship is unique in many respects – not the least in that it was launched into the water, sliding down its building way in the traditional manner to great fanfare in the presence of thousands of guests, both local residents and VIPs from the shipping world. It is the first of the series of five (two to be built at Sestao, two to be built at Puerto Real, and the fifth still undecided) that takes advantage of the millions invested in updating the shipbuilding technology and capacity at Sestao, and also of the many relationships the shipbuilding company Izar has forged with companies around the globe to deliver the LNG technology from Spain. In the last two years, the shipyard in Sestao has: New flow of fabrication; new curve-blocks lines; new light-blocks lines; new subassembly curve blocks lines; additional lifting capacity; and new warehouse building construction.
The shipyard has forged ties with companies including MHI (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries); GTT (Gaz Trasnport & Technigaz); STII; and KONSBERG-SIMRAD to ensure its ships are built to the highest technical standard.
Iñigo Tapias and its four sister ships were built to be compatible with these 12 ports of call,
as required by RYPF, the charterer: Bilbao, Barcelona, Huelva, Cartagena, Boston, Peñuelas (Puerto Rico), Bonny (Nigeria), Das Island (UAE), Point Fortin (Trinidad & Tobago), Bethouia (Algeria), North West Shelf (Australia), Ras Laffan (Qatar), Qalhat (Oman).
In total, for the five ship series, there are two charterers, RYPF and U. Fenosa; and three shipowners, Naviera F. Tapias, Elcano and Knutsen/Marpetrol.