By 30 September, Hamburg-based Nauticor will gain 100% control of Kairos, the world’s largest LNG bunker vessel, following an agreement with Lithuanian terminal operator Klaipedos Nafta.
Nauticor, part of the gas and engineering group Linde, holds a 90% stake in Blue LNG, the charterer of Kairos, which entered service in the Baltic Sea in Q4 2018. With a capacity of 7,500 m3, the LNGBV bunkers ships in the region and transports LNG from the Klaipeda import terminal to the reloading station at the port of Klaipeda. Klaipedas Nafta (KN), operator of the Klaipeda LNG import terminal, holds the remaining 10% stake in Blue LNG. Nauticor exercised an option to acquire the stake.
With LNG as a marine fuel growing in the Baltic, Nauticor chief executive Mahinde Abeynaike said the rationale behind the move was straightforward. “By having 100% control over Kairos, we can deploy the vessel at the LNG bunkering ‘hotspots’ without having the obligation to deviate to Klaipeda on a regular basis.” With full control, Nauticor will be able to tailor its bunkering services to its customers’ scheduling requirements.
For Klaipedas Nafta, the move frees up the terminal operator to work with “new possibilities for LNG transportation emerging in the region,” said KN chief executive Mindaugas Jusius. Chartering Kairos initially made sense for KN when there was a lack of LNG transportation services in the market. “At that time, it was the only possibility for KN to assure the full LNG supply chain for its customers,” said Mr Jusius.