Double hull tanker starts Pakistani fleet upgrade

By an OGJ correspondent

KARACHI, July18 -- Pakistan's state-owned shipping firm, Pakistan National Shipping Corp. (PNSC), has acquired the MT Quetta, its first double hull oil tanker.

The vessel is the first of many upgraded vessels PNSC intends to purchase as it begins extensive modernization of its aging fleet with more versatile ships to better serve Pakistani trade. Only PNSC is authorized to transport crude oil in Pakistani waters.

The MT Quetta, received in Fujairah (UAE) July 10 and began loading crude oil. It is scheduled to arrive in Karachi by July 18 on its maiden voyage under the PNSC flag.

MT Quetta, completed in May 2003, is a 107,215-tonne deadweight double hull Aframax tanker, 247 m long, with a beam of 42 m. The vessel was purchased from Stena Snowdrops of Bermuda, a unit of Stena Bulk (Sweden).

The PNSC board has approved a plan for replacing the ageing fleet. Initial purchases will include two double hull tankers and two general cargo vessels in fiscal year 2008-09. The company already has begun searching for these ships in the international market.

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