The <i>Bow Persistent</i> parcel tanker, pictured at her naming ceremony in January. (Credit: Odfjell)The Bow Persistent parcel tanker, pictured at her naming ceremony in January. (Credit: Odfjell)

A further phase in the major fleet investment programme implemented by chemical tanker specialist Odfjell has been realised with the 24 June handover of the Japanese-built, 36,000dwt Bow Persistent, writes David Tinsley.

The second of two Japanese-owned sisters constructed at Fukuoka Shipbuilding’s Nagasaki yard for long-term bareboat charter to the Norwegian operator, the vessel is designated a “super-segregator” by virtue of a fully-stainless steel, 28 cargo tank configuration.

Exemplifying the parcel tanker concept, the 183-metre Bow Persistent provides a high degree of shipment and trading flexibility, providing for the transportation of separate products, grades and consignments in all tanks, across the IMO Type 1 and 2 cargo range. Maximum overall intake is in the order of 40,000m3.

The design is the outcome of cooperation between the builder, which has a long track record in chemtanker production, contractual owner Taihei Kaiun, and Odfjell, having been customised to the charterer’s requirements. The Bergen-headquartered group’s stake in the project extends to the commercial and technical management of the ship, and also the crewing. Bow Persistent was due to make her maiden voyage to Malaysia, to load a cargo in Sandakan this month, thereby joining the February 2020-commissioned first-of-class Bow Prosper in around-the-world trade.

Bow Persistent is powered by an MAN six-cylinder S46ME-series two-stroke diesel specified for a 6,000kW output at 116rpm, manufactured in Japan by Makita Corporation, a sub-licensee of Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding.

Through a mix of owned, leased, timechartered and bareboated tonnage arrangements, Odfjell has put in place the means of renewing and developing its fleet with 30 newbuild deliveries over the period between 2017 and 2020. Following the Fukuoaka-built pair, and the recent commissioning of last of the record-breaking Bow Orion-type quartet, the company’s outstanding newbuild commitments are two 38,000dwt parcel tankers booked from Hudong-Zhonghua in China.

Bow Optima, the final unit in the 49,000dwt Bow Orion series, was delivered at Hudong-Zhonghua in April this year. The class is the largest expression to date of the “super-segregator” concept, each ship affording the scope for as many separate consignments as its 33 cargo tanks, achieving a total revenue-earning volume of nearly 55,000m3 encapsulated wholly in a stainless steel lining.

The vessels consume 14% less fuel compared to older parcel tankers deployed by Odfjell, while offering 35% more cargo space than the company’s 40,000m3 generation. The two smaller, Duplex 2205 stainless steel newbuilds due out of Hudong-Zhonghua later this year embody similar design principles, for a cargo volume of 45,000m3.

Tonne-mile demand has surpassed net fleet growth in the chemtanker market since the second quarter of 2018. The stronger market conditions and improving fleet utilisation experienced before the onset of Covid-19 have ameliorated the impact of the pandemic. Moreover, the chemicals sector has been considered as an essential industry in most countries, such that operations have been sustained.


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