Erik Thun AB of Sweden has a long history of working with Ferus Smit shipyard in The Netherlands. The LNG-fuelled tanker Thun Eos is the latest product of that relationship
The launch of the IMO type II chemical tanker Thun Eos on Saturday 16 June 2018 is another milestone in the long history of the Erik Thun group. Erik Thun AB was founded in 1938 by Erik Thun, and upon his death it was taken over by Helge Källsson. Descendants of Helge Källsson control the group today. The current chief executive of the Erik Thun group is Anders Källsson, with Johan Källsson and Henrik Källsson deputy managing directors.
Thun Tankers itself is a relatively new entity in the Erik Thun group. Erik Thun AB re-established its tanker division, Thun Tankers, in November 2012 when Broström sold its share in 13 Broström/Erik Thun co-owned tankers to Thun Tankers. The “Bro” prefix on the tankers was changed to “Thun” and today, Thun Tankers operates and commercially manages 13 Erik Thun tankers and two of its close partner Wisby Tankers.
At the time of the formation of Thun Tankers, Anders Källsson, chief executive of Erik Thun, said: “It is a natural step for Thun to invest further in the small tanker segment by taking over Broström’s 50% share in the vessels."
He added: “Our cooperation with Broström has been very successful and we are determined to continue running this segment, under the name Thun Tankers, with the highly qualified employees from Broström.”
An important feature of Erik Thun, and one of the reasons it emphasises environmentally friendly shipping - as embodied in the development of Thun Eos - is the location of its headquarters, in the picturesque town of Lidköping on Lake Väner.
This is the largest lake in Sweden, the third largest in Europe and an important trade route for the industry surrounding the lake and beyond. The lake forms an important link between the Göta Canal, a waterway that crosses Sweden, from Gothenburg on Sweden’s west coast to Stockholm on the east coast. Improvements on the Trollhätte Canal means that seagoing vessels are able to enter from the Kattegat (the sea region between the Denmark peninsular and Sweden) to serve Lake Väner ports such as Karlstad, Lidköping, Vänersborg, Kristinehamn, Åmal, Säffle, and Mariestad. These towns have important industries, such as tanneries, ironworks, and paper mills.
The Erik Thun group operations are closely related to the lake; it manages a fleet of 14 so-called Väner-max ice-class dry bulk carriers (4,000 to 6,500 dwt), which were built at Ferus Smit. Two of these are LNG fuelled.
“We in Erik Thun have always had a high focus on cost awareness and resource efficiency, that translates into modern environmental care,” said Anders Källsson.
“Having built the world’s first dry cargo vessels that use LNG as a fuel is an example of that. We are convinced that these vessels will contribute to provide the best logistical and most environmental friendly transport solutions to our customers.”
It is against this background that the new series of small clean/chemical tankers has been designed. The new Thun Tankers E-class will replace the older units in the fleet, that distribute fuel and oils between refineries and depots around the Swedish coast and the Baltic Sea on long-term contract for oil majors and independents.
“The E-class will continue to provide our clients with the dynamics of always having climate-smart high-quality tankers in the right position at the requested time,” said Thun Tankers chief commercial officer Joakim Lund at the time of the launch.
Leading the way
Thun Eos was launched by Scheepswerf Ferus Smit in The Netherlands in June this year, becoming the lead tanker in Thun Tankers new E-class series.
The Erik Thun group’s association with Ferus Smit stretches back over 20 years. The yard has built more than 450 vessels in 100 years, and 33 of these vessels have been for the Erik Thun group, including four singledeckers, and two small clean chemical tankers at the now closed Foxhol yard. Ferus Smit has also built 11 vessels (five singledeckers, and six small clean chemical tankers) for Erik Thun at its Hoogezand shipyard.
Hull number 443, Thun Eos, is the 11th tanker constructed for Erik Thun at the Ferus Smit facility at Westerbroek and the first of four vessels in the Thun Tankers E-class series. The E-class series has been designed entirely in-house. The close VIP-style relationship with the Dutch yard gives Thun Tankers a great deal of flexibility when it comes to design changes, according to Mr Lund.
Thun Eos is the first vessel in a renewal programme of 10 coastal tankers that are to be delivered to Erik Thun by Ferus Smit over the coming years. The completion of that programme would mark over 30 years of partnership between the shipbuilder and owner. Thun Tankers also has a series of 17,500 dwt IMO II product/chemical tankers at Avic Dingheng Shipbuilding Ltd in China, some of which are also powered by LNG.
Thun Eos features a canoe bow, with no bulbous bow. While this design is not uncommon on lake vessels, the absence of a bulbous bow is a recent trend in ship design. Even large tankers like VLCCs are being built without the bulbous bow, something that has been a common feature in commercial shipping for the last 30 years. The canoe bow of Thun Eos is said to produce less speed loss in heavy seas and less resistance. Thun Eos is designed to operate all year round in the Baltic Sea and is classed as ice class 1A FS by Lloyd’s Register.
The tanker also features a high efficiency below the waterline hull design, using a propeller fitted with a nozzle ring, which is said to reduce noise in the water. Wärtsilä supplied the 3,350 mm diameter controllable pitch propeller, which also features a water lubricated stern tube to reduce the possibility of oil entering the sea.
Eefting Energy of Groningen, The Netherlands, was selected to deliver the fuel and energy efficiency monitoring systems for the E-class series of vessels. Besides the fuel gas and fuel oil consumptions of the main engine, the consumptions of the auxiliaries, propeller power, generator power and various navigational data will be monitored. The system will be equipped with the latest fully automatic MRV reporting functionalities.
The nine cargo tanks are equipped with five double valve segregations and coated with Jotun ultra-premium tank coating. According to Jotun global director of tank coatings Marc Giesselink, this coating has built-in flexibility that allows cargo molecules to be absorbed, but more crucially, the cargo molecules are rapidly desorbed without damaging the coating.
“Most coatings need 10 days ventilation between aggressive cargoes,” he said, “Tankguard Flexline needs only three days.”
This is a significant reduction in the turnaround time between carrying aggressive cargoes like methanol or acetone, and the repeated carriage of such cargoes.
The cargo pumps are supplied by Framo and are rated at 350 m3/hour per pump or up to 1,500 m3/hour where the shoreside facility permits. The loading rate is 900 m3/hour per tank pair. The manifold connections are 8 inch and 10 inch, and there is one heat exchanger per tank pair.
Tank ventilation is arranged with each tanker having a high velocity pressure vacuum valve. The purging system is a nitrogen system rated at 400 m3/hour.
The vessel will be technically managed by the Erik Thun associated company, MF Shipping Group, which takes care of all Thun Tankers’ quality control, technical management and crewing.
The capacity of Thun Eos is 7,999 dwt and 9,540 m3 cubic volume in nine coated cargo tanks, suitable for MARPOL and IMO Type II chemical cargoes. The main dimensions are: overall length 115m; breadth 15.87 m; with a draft of 6.95m.
Dual fuel engine
Thun Eos is equipped with a 2,999 kW Wärtsilä 6L34DF dual-fuel main engine, which is based on the Wärtsilä 32 diesel engine introduced in the mid-1990s. According to Wärtsilä, the dual fuel engine can be run on either conventional liquid marine fuels (LFO, HFO or liquid bio fuel) or LNG. The switch between fuels can be made seamlessly without loss of power or speed. Such fuel flexibility enables compliance with emission regulations in controlled areas, while giving operators the option of determining the fuel according to cost and availability.
When operating in gas mode, the Wärtsilä 34DF engine is compliant with IMO Tier III regulations without any secondary exhaust gas purification systems (scrubbers). Also, when fuelled by gas, the SOx and CO2 emissions are notably reduced and smokeless operation is attained.
In liquid fuel oil mode, the dual fuel engine is fully compliant with the IMO Tier II exhaust emissions regulations set out in Annex VI of the MARPOL 73/78 convention. The engine is able to operate efficiently and economically on low sulphur fuels (<0.1% sulphur), making it suitable for operation in emission-controlled areas. The Wärtsilä 34DF has obtained certification of emissions standard compliance from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
The installation of the Wärtsilä 6L34DF includes the latest version of the Wärtsilä LNGPac fuel gas handling system. This includes the bunkering station, LNG tank and related process equipment, as well as the control and monitoring system.
This is a space saving system, with the fuel gas handling airlock and control cabinet inside the tank connection space. The functional components of the gas valve unit are also installed inside the tank connection space.
With the latest version of the Wärtsilä LNGPac, the heating media skid is replaced by an intermediate heating media circuit in the tank connection space. The new circuit requires no pumps and is able to directly utilise the engine’s cooling water. Therefore, fewer interfaces and less installation work is required.
The Wärtsilä LNGPac uses two principles for transferring LNG fuel, namely the pressure build up system and the cryogenic Wärtsilä Svanehøj ECA fuel pumps. The ECA fuel pump provides constant pressure in all weather conditions as all sensitive components, including the electric motor, are placed outside the fuel tank, thereby easing maintenance and avoiding the transfer of heat to the LNG.
According to Wärtsilä, this has a positive influence on opex and by using a pump to pressure the LNG, the tank design pressure can be lowered, reducing capex.
“The fuel efficiency of the Wärtsilä 34DF engine, whether in gas or diesel mode, was a prime consideration in its selection for these ‘next generation’ tankers,” said Wärtsilä Marine Solutions vice president sales Aaron Bresnahan. “Similarly, the successful track record of both the controllable pitch propeller and LNGPac solutions, and the proven efficiencies that they have demonstrated, were convincing arguments in our favour,” he added.
Erik Thun AB managing director Anders Källsson added “We have worked closely with Wärtsilä on many projects for more than 45 years, and we recognise their technical expertise and the reliability of their products. We are pleased, therefore, to have Wärtsilä as a partner for this project where efficiency and sustainability are the key essentials.”
The switch to LNG fuel is driven in part by access to EU funds and information. Both Erik Thun and Ferus Smit are taking part in the EU Pilot LNG project. The project aims to establish a pilot LNG supply and transport infrastructure and provide LNG from a bunker vessel to commercial end-users, entering and leaving the Baltic Sea, primarily in the Gothenburg/Skaw area. The infrastructure includes all components required to ship LNG from the gas supplier to the LNG terminal, from the terminal to the bunker vessel, and from the bunker vessel to the LNG-fuelled vessels. According to the shipyard, Thun Eos has enough gas fuel capacity to enable round-trips of about two weeks.
However, not all the vessels in the E-Tankers series may necessarily include the LNG fuelling option. As with any design consideration, this is first and foremost a business decision. In this case, it will be driven by the needs of the customer/charterer.
“We always strive to meet our customers’ various demands with sustainable solutions. With this order we intend to further extend that offer by building a series of identical sister ships where some use LNG as a fuel and others do not,” said Erik Thun AB deputy managing director Johan Källsson.
|Builder||Scheepswerf Ferus Smit|
|Length, oa||115 m|
|Draft, design||6.9 m|
|Main engine||2,999 kW Wärtsilä 6L34DF dual-fuel|
|Class||Lloyd’s Register ice class 1A FS|
|Cubic capacity (at 98%)||9,500 m3|
|Generator sets||3 Scania diesel generators of 280 kW / 328 kVA each|
|Cargo pumps||1 Framo stainless steel deepwell pump for each cargo tank|
|Discharge rate||300 m3/h (per tank)|
|Discharge rate||1,500 m3/h (total)|
|Filling rate||400 m3/h (per tank)|
Gothia Tanker Alliance
Thun Tankers is a member of the Gothia Tanker Alliance, which is a central marketing operation based in Gothenburg for seven partners: Rigel Schiffarhts, Northern Energy Services, Uni-Tankers A/S, Thun Tankers, Furetank, Rederi AB Älvtank, and Wisby Tankers.
The alliance commercially operates 34 chemical and product tankers split into two distinct ranges: 5,000 dwt and 10,000 dwt and ships between 10,000 dwt and 40,000 dwt. The clients are the oil majors and independents which require ice-class tankers to distribute oil and oil products around the Baltic Sea all year round. Gothia Tanker Alliance performs more than 2,000 voyages and over 4,000 port calls annually. The Eos Thun is earmarked to operate in the smaller range, as are the three other tankers in the series.
The Thun Tankers vessels on order in China, mentioned above, are due to enter the larger range.
Speaking about the creation of Gothia Tanker Alliance, Furetank Chartering Sweden chartering manager Stefan Magnusson said: “The network will combine efficient and reliable tanker management with extended optionality to our existing service.”
“By providing extended optionality to our clients with a wide range of quality ships in different sizes, we aim to offer increased benefits by having the right sized ship in the right position at the requested time,” said Thun Tankers chief commercial officer Joachim Lund. Thun Tankers undertakes the commercial and chartering activities for the range of smaller tankers in the alliance.
Joakim Lund (left) was a Master Mariner before joining the tanker operations department of Broström Tankers. He became the head of chartering of Broström’s small tankers. When Broström sold its share in the Broström / Erik Thun co-owned tankers to Erik Thun in November 2012, he was appointed the chief commercial officer of the new company.
Helge Källsson succeeded Erik Thun, taking over the business in 1938, which has remained in the Källsson family ever since. Johan Källsson (pictured) and his cousin, Henrik, became joint deputy managing directors in 2013.