Hyundai Heavy Confirms Polaris Shipping Order for 10 VLOCs

valemax ore carrier
File photo

South Korea shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries has announced it has signed a $800 million contract to build ten of the world’s biggest iron ore carriers for Polaris Shipping.

The contract, which was signed September 25, is the biggest single order that HHI has received since 2012 when it built ten large containerships for a Greek owner.

The order calls for the construction of ten 325,000 dwt Very Large Ore Carriers, aka VLOCs, which are currently among the largest ships in the world being used to transport dry bulk commodities. According to HHI, the ships will measure 340m in length, 62m in width, and 29.8 meters in height, and will be designed to be LNG-ready to meet toughening environmental relations. The vessels will be made even more eco-friendly through the use of a ballast water treatment system and exhaust scrubber technology.

The vessels are scheduled to be delivered by 2021.

“Even under unfavorable market conditions, we have proven our competitiveness with a big order contract in five years. We are beefing up our marketing efforts to meet clients’ needs on the back of our eco-friendly technologies,” HHI said in a statement.

To date, HHI has received a total of 20 newbuild orders Polaris Shipping, and delivered seven vessels including four 250,000 ton VLOCs that it had ordered in 2013. The total number of ships HHI Group won so far this year is 99 ships worth $5.8 billion, which is a 500% plus increase for the comparable period last year when it clinched 20 ships worth $2 billion.

Over the past few years, Polaris Shipping has been ordering new tonnage to replace its older VLOCs that were converted from existing single-hulled Very Large Crude Carriers. One such vessel, the 266,000 dwt Stellar Daisy, sank earlier this year in the Atlantic Ocean while underway from Brazil to China with the loss of 22 crew members. While cargo liquefaction has been eyed as one possible cause, some believe that the loss could be more closely associated with the conversions since two survivors reported that the Stellar Daisy broke in half prior to sinking and at least one of its sister vessels was discovered with a cracked hull. In total, Polaris converted 19 vessels to VLOCs.