The LNG carrier Lech Kaczynski left South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan on 23 November for its second sea trials. At the time, their completion, according to some sources, was scheduled for 7 December. The ship received its first cargo of liquefied gas.
As part of the second series of sea trials, the vessel Lech Kaczynski (IMO No 9922976; GT 114,000; deadweight 92,323 t; LNG capacity 174,000 m³, according to other sources, 170,520 m³) took on its first cryogenic cargo, presumably only partial (not full-ship). It spent almost 17 hours on 24/25 November at the jetty of Kogas’ LNG terminal in Tongyeong loading liquefied natural gas at minus 163 °C. This was a process cargo for cooling, commissioning and testing of the vessel’s tanks and cargo system (including pipelines, fittings, and pumps).
The vessel started its first sea trial cycle on 28 October and was announced to return from trials on 5 November. The gas carrier completed the first sea trials on schedule.
It should be recalled that the Lech Kaczynski is the first of a total of six LNG carriers that, in two tranches, have been chartered by the Polish gas importer PGNiG (now the PKN Orlen group) from the Norwegian shipowner Knutsen OAS Shipping AS, which in turn ordered these vessels, under ‘Polish’ charter, from the South Korean shipbuilding group Hyundai Heavy Industries.
The vessel is 299.00m in overall length, 46.40m of moulded breadth; 12.50m of moulded draught; 26.50m in moulded depth. It has four prismatic membrane cargo tanks. Two main propulsion engines with a combined MCR of 24,224 kW (32,934 hp) and two propellers are expected to give the ship an operational speed of 19.5 knots and a maximum speed of 21.5 knots.
The gas carrier Lech Kaczynski was launched on 3 June this year, its keel was laid three months earlier – on 2 March – and construction began on 30 August last year. Also already launched – on 12 September 2022 – is the second, twin unit, the Grazyna Gesicka, which keel was laid on 8 June 2022 and construction started on 21 December 2021. Construction of the third vessel, with an as yet undisclosed name (shipyard construction number 8148), began at another shipyard of the same concern (Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries), on 29 July this year.
In addition to the six LNG carriers from Knutsen OAS Shipping AS, PGNiG is chartering from a Greek shipowner, which is also building new vessels for this charter. According to earlier announcements from PGNiG – the Polish charterer expected the first two vessels – Lech Kaczynski and Grazyna Gesicka – to be launched in 2023. It may indeed be that the first commercial cargo of the tanker Lech Kaczynski will not take delivery until early next year, but it is quite highly likely that it will be handed over by the Korean shipyard to the shipowner and charterer as late as December 2022.