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World's Largest Ethane Carrier Advertises an Iconic Clothing Brand

brand belstaff
Pacific INEOS Belstaff arrives in Houston to load her first cargo of ethane (Belstaff / INEOS)

Published Feb 10, 2022 2:14 PM by The Maritime Executive

Plastics and petrochemicals giant INEOS has christened the world's largest ethane carrier, the new Pacific INEOS Belstaff. Built with prismatic Type B tanks that conform to the shape of the hull, she can carry nearly 100,000 cubic meters at a time. Her construction marked an achievement in precision for Chinese shipbuilding, according to shipyard CSSC Jiangnan. 

The vessel is as distinctive in its appearance as it is in its specifications. INEOS is known in the maritime community for the bold mottos on its vessels' hulls, like the phrase "Shale Gas for Prosperity" emblazoned on INEOS Independence, but it has gone a step further with the Belstaff. The vessel serves as a floating billboard for a separate business, and she bears the name and logo of another INEOS-owned brand in letters approximately three meters in height. 

INEOS (formerly Inspec Ethylene Oxide Specialities) is a leading manufacturer of commodity chemicals and plastics, like polyethylene, styrene, polypropylene, PVC and ABS. It has expanded rapidly through acquisitions - including the $5 billion purchase of BP's petrochemical portfolio in 2020 - and through partnerships with leading petchem companies like BASF and Solvay. 

INEOS' shipping fleet carries a product of natural gas extraction, ethane, which is a key building block for plastics production. Its vessels were the first of their kind to export ethane from U.S. shale gas fields, and they provide a steady supply of affordable American feedstock for ethylene cracker plants in the UK, Europe and China. 

Though its core business is in industrial chemicals and plastics, INEOS also owns a historic clothing brand specializing in classic outerwear in leather, waxed cotton and wool. That brand, Belstaff, has clothed the likes of Steve McQueen and Che Guevara, among other famous names. “We have a lot in common [with Belstaff],” said INEOS chairman and founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe when the firm bought the clothing brand in 2017. “We are British, we are entrepreneurial, straightforward, adventurous and most importantly, we are successful.”

Belstaff's 98-year history is now represented in the name and the hull markings of Pacific INEOS Belstaff, which will serve as an ambassador for an "iconic, prestigious British brand."

“I am proud to be godmother to this new and innovative carrier as it becomes a part of the growing INEOS fleet," said Belstaff CEO Fran Millar in a statement. "In displaying the Belstaff brand along the length of the ship it also provides Belstaff with an enormous billboard introducing our logo to some very new places around the world."