Retrofitted LPG Carrier has 'Fender Bender' During Maiden Voyage

Retrofitted large LPG carrier in minor accident on maiden voyage
BW Genimi during sea trails in October 2020 - courtesy BW LPG

Published Dec 21, 2020 5:55 PM by The Maritime Executive

In the midst of the return leg of her maiden voyage, the BW Gemini, the first Very Large Gas Carrier retrofitted with Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) dual-fuel propulsion technology, suffered the equivalent of a shipping industry “fender bender.” BW LPG, owner of the vessel, reports the crew is safe and uninjured, and that the vessel suffered only minor damage.

The BW Gemini was at anchor off Cristobal, Panama awaiting her reservation for a transit of the Panama Canal. At about 7:30 am local time on December 19, BW LPG, reports that vessel was lightly struck by another LPG carrier arriving near the canal for its transit. 

Soundings have been conducted to ensure the integrity of the BW Gemini, the company reported that all indications were of no leaks and that no pollution was spotted. They said that all required notifications have been made and that the BW Gemini has been inspected by relevant authorities and surveyors. “As she awaits her slot to cross the Panama Canal, she will proceed for repairs. No impact to her voyage is expected,” the statement said.

The incident comes just after the company celebrated the completion of the vessel’s first crossing of the Pacific since the retrofit and the loading of the first cargo. On December 14, BW LPG said that a record load of 49,000 metric tons of LPG had been put aboard at Houston’s Enterprise Terminal while the vessel also refueled. By being able to carryout both processes at the same time the company highlighted it speeded up the turnaround time increasing the vessel’s availability to customers.

At the beginning of November, the BW Gemini completed its sea trials after the retrofit and after the tests of the dual-fuel propulsion system was award class certification by DNV GL. During her first crossing of the Pacific, it was expected she would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent versus using traditional fuels and use approximately 10 percent less fuel.

BW LPG has already commenced the conversion of additional vessels to the LPG dual-fuel system. The company had previously increased the order to 12 vessels to be refitted. At the completion of the voyage to Texas, they announced that they had decided to add three more vessels to the conversion project bringing the total to 15 vessels with a combined cost of approximately USD 130 million.