Kairos, which is owned by Babcock Schulte Energy and will be operated on a time charter basis by a joint venture between Nauticor and Klaipėdos nafta, was built by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard starting February this year. The 171m vessel has an LNG capacity of 7,500m3, making it the largest of its type.
It is of a ‘ballast-free’ design, exempting it from installing a ballast-water treatment system, and features a compressed natural system (CNG) system which will utilise boil-off gas from the cargo tanks as fuel. The vessel is classed by Lloyd’s Register, achieving notations certifying the use of methanol in the type C tanks and a minimum cargo temperature of -165°C, as well as Finnish-Swedish Ice Class 1A. These features have led to Kairos being selected for RINA’s Significant Ships of 2018.
LNG uptake has been tempered by concerns over a reliable bunker supply. As such, Kairos’ arrival in the Baltic is set to provide a significant boost for LNG-fuelled shipping in Europe. The fuel is seen as an attractive option for operators seeking to comply with the 2020 sulphur cap and Emission Control Area rules.
Kairos will initially be stationed in the Port of Klaipėda in Lithuania. The CEO of minority chartering partner Klaipėdos nafta, Mindaugas Jusius, comments: “The main advantage and ambition of the new vessel is to ensure more competitive pricing for the LNG reloading station users. It will not only reduce the cost of the LNG supply chain, but will also ensure the smooth and reliable service to distribution station users in Klaipėda.”