Petrochemicals producer Ineos has taken delivery of the first trio in a series of four gas barges, promoted as being the largest vessels of their kind to operate on the River Rhine. According to Hugh Carmichael, feedstocks trading director at Ineos Trading & Shipping: “This supersized delivery is the result of a four-year project to design and build this new class of barge [which has] three times the cargo capacity of a typical gas barge.”
The newbuilds have all been built to meet the relatively new Agreement on Dangerous Goods (AND) gas barge 2019 standard, and will be used to transport butane gas around Europe, including runs from the ARA region (Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam) to Ineos’ ethylene cracker facility in Cologne, Germany.
The vessels have been assembled by two Dutch builders: Teamco Shipyard, which has subcontracted hull construction duties to compatriot yard Rensen-Driessen Shipbuilding and Poland’s Stocznia; and Veka Shipbuilding. The build project has been overseen by Imperial Gas Barging, which will also operate all four barges on Ineos' behalf.
The barges have been named after types of bhaji. Aloo and Brinjal, both built by Teamco, comprise 110m x 15m sisters, each featuring six cargo tanks with a combined capacity of 4,446m3. The larger, Veka-built Onion, meanwhile, measures 110m x 17.5m and can hold up to 5,538m3 across its six tanks.
The gas tanks were manufactured by Barlage. Ineos states: “The barges all use a Veth pod-drive system rather than the usual shaft propulsion.” The fourth barge in the series, whose name is yet to be confirmed, will be delivered later this year, Ineos says.