With a capacity of around 150,000m³ each, these gas carriers will be among the biggest and most advanced ethane carriers to be ordered, ABS noted.

The ships are expected to supply ethane from the US Gulf Coast to a number of petrochemical facilities in China.

ABS has been supporting AEC with the technical and regulatory requirements for the VLECs. China Merchant Group is also a project partner.

 The joint effort between China Merchant Group, AEC and ABS means this vessel has incorporated modern technologies such as cargo containment systems, ethane propulsion, and hull design and brings logistics efficiency and cost savings to long-term ethane shipping between the USA and Asia. Approval in Principal of this design by ABS is the first step to further innovations in the industry,

...said AEC CEO John Houghtaling.

With six 87,000m³ VLECs that were built with a GTT Mark III cargo containment system at Samsung Heavy Industries for Reliance Industries to carry ethane from the US to India, ABS is the leading class for the biggest VLECs currently in service. Six more 98,000m³ VLECs are currently on order to ABS class.

On the occasion of Gastech 2019 this week, South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co. Ltd. (DSME) also secured an Approval in Principle (AIP) by ABS for the design of what it is claimed as the world's largest Ethane/Ethylene Carrier.

ABS also signed with Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) on a joint development project (JDP) to collaborate on a next generation LNG carrier with advanced air lubrication and smart capabilities.