Guangzhou Shipyard International (GSI) has commenced sea trials of the first Chinese-built methanol-driven dual-fuel tanker called Stena Pro Patria.

GSI secured a contract from Proman Stena Bulk, a joint venture of Swedish firm Stena Bulk and Swiss firm Proman, for the construction of three 49,990 DWT dual-fuel tankers.

The other two ships, named Stena Pro Marine and Stena Prosperous, are currently under construction and expected to be completed by the end of the year.

GSI noted that the contract has been extended for the construction of three additional ships based on the same design.

GSI vice-president William Zhou stated: “We won the contract under stiff competition from Korea and this ship shows what GSI is truly capable of building on our experience of building 30 dual-fuel vessels. 

“The construction of the Stena Pro Patria is a massive achievement for all parties involved and I would like to thank Proman, Stena, our team, MAN engines, as well as the class society DNV, for all they are doing to make this bold ship design and fleet a reality.”

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The launch of sea trials and the trial of the propulsion equipment were termed a ‘watershed moment’ in the development of methanol as an alternative fuel for medium-range tankers by Zhou.

By using around 12,500 tonnes of methanol as marine fuel a year, each tanker can significantly reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions.

The ship features a MAN dual-fuel 6G50ME C9.6 engine, without catalyst conversion.

It also features the latest in energy efficiency technology, including continually controlled combustion, enhanced tuning, redesigned and aerodynamic hull lines, and an energy shaft that generates lower fuel usage.

In 2019, GSI received a contract from Proman Stena Bulk to build two methanol tankers.