A Taiwanese shipowner is being linked to the sale of a 20-year-old steam turbine-driven LNG carrier controlled by BW LNG.

Shipping industry sources named bulk carrier owner Taiwan’s Eddie Steamship as the buyer of the 138,028-cbm BW Everett (built 2003), which is one of the oldest in a fleet of 11 steamships for BW LNG.

They said a price of $45m has been negotiated for the vessel.

The ship purchase would be a first move into LNG for Chih-Chien Hsu-led Eddie Steamship which has a listed fleet of seven bulk carriers.

Hsu declined to comment on the reports when contacted. BW LNG has yet to respond to TradeWinds’ questions about the vessel.

BW LNG controls a fleet of 29 LNG carriers and currently lists the BW Everett among its vessels.

Of these 29 ships, 11 are steam turbine vessels built between 2003 and 2008. The BW Everett and BW Boston are the oldest in this group.

Speaking to TradeWinds in October 2022 about the effect of the then-incoming carbon intensity indicator (CII) regulations, BW LNG chief executive Yngvil Asheim said she saw “limited opportunities” for changing the physical parameters of steam vessels that could make a big impact on emissions.

Asheim said at the time that BW believes that the way to make significant improvements is by using the data it has gathered to understand what is driving emissions, and to operate vessels in the most environmentally friendly way.

Steam turbine vessels are coming under increasing pressure in the LNG trading market. While they still represent around one-third of the trading fleet, they are small and less efficient than their larger, more modern cousins. The advent of CII also highlights that they may produce higher emissions when compared to new two-stroke ships.

Fleet replacement is underway with over 300 LNG carrier newbuildings now on order as owners and operators move to both serve the needs of a growing industry but also to replace older tonnage with more efficient vessels.

This has led to an active sale and purchase market in what has traditionally been a very illiquid secondhand LNG carrier sales sector.

At least four LNG steamships have been sold to date this year with several others floated for offers.

The Japanese controlled, 154,982-cbm Trinity Arrow (built 2008) was sold to Chinese trader Jovo for around $60m and MISC’s137,489-cbm Puteri Intan Satu (built 2022) to Capital Gas for close to $35m.

Brokers said the larger steamships of around 150,000 cbm are attracting a premium, as are vessels in good condition.

Golar LNG agreed a strong price of $77.5m on the 149,172-cbm Fuji LNG (built 2004) but market players said this high level was partly because the shipowner was specifically looking for a Moss-type ship for conversion.

In February, TradeWinds reported that Elcano’s 138,000-cbm steam turbine vessel Castillo de Villalba (built 2003) has been put up for sale by its financier, Santander, in advance of ending the Spanish tax lease on the ship.

A month later Mitsui OSK Lines and Karpowership joint venture KARMOL put the 147,546-cbm Moss-type steamship LNG Ebisu (built 2008) up for sale.

Market talk continues about the possible sale of some of Nigeria LNG’s steamships along with other vessels of similar vintage which are being groomed as possible disposable tonnage.

Secondhand LNG carrier sales in 2023

Puteri Intan Satu137,4892002MISCCapital Gas$35m
Seapeak Unikum12,0002011SeapeakTitan$25m+
Seapeak Vision12,0002011SeapeakTitan$25m+
Trinity Arrow154,9822008Shoei KisenJovo Group$60m
Seapeak Arctic89,8801993SeapeakDemolition cash buyers$15m**
Golar Seal160,0002013CoolCoHoegh LNG$184.3m
Golar Athens145,0002006GasLogTMS Cardiff Gas$55m
Fuji LNG149,1722004TMS Cardiff GasGolar LNG$77.5m*
Adriatic Energy126,9111983Sinokor Merchant MarineDemolition cash buyers$21m+**
LNG Alliance154,4722007TotalEnergies/NYKSinokor Merchant Marine$68m***
GasLog Sydney155,0002013GasLog PartnersChina Development Bank Leasing$140m***

*sale agreed at this price and $5m deposit paid. Due for completion on delivery of vessel in Q1 2024

** sold for recycling

*** sale and charter back deal