The TI class supertankers is a class of the four largest ships in the world by displacement, gross tonnage, and deadweight tonnage. They are owned by Tankers International L.L.C.
The TI in the name stands for the same (Tankers International). These were the first ultra-large crude carriers built in nearly the past three decades. They have contributed greatly to the transport of crude oil through waterways for many years. This class comprises four ships namely – TI Africa, TI Asia, TI Europe, and Tankers International. The original names of the ships at the time of their construction were Hellespont Metropolis, Hellespont Alhambra, Hellespont Tara, and Hellespont Fairfax respectively. They were built in South Korea by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in Okpo in 2002 and 2003 for the Hellespont Group shipping company.
The four ships all together are also known as the fantastic four. They are all dual hull ships. They are safe for sharing oil without causing oil spills or major environmental hazards in case of accidents. Almost all of them have a speed of about 16.5 knots which is quite high. This enables the fast and time-efficient transport of cargo across countries.
The ships have ballast tanks and inert gas systems in order to reduce complications that may occur out of leakage of gases. The upper house of the ship is painted white in order to reflect the energy of the sun. Owing to all these features the hydrocarbon emissions from the ships have been considerably minimized. The ships also have the ability to travel through the Panama Canal as well as the Suez Canal.
Currently, three of the four ships have been converted into Floating, Storage and Offloading (FSO) vessels like the Knock Nevis before its scrapping, but all of them are still in use.
They have been in service for almost two decades now and are estimated to have a life of another 5 years.
Each of these four ships has been briefly described as follows.
1) TI Africa
This is the second oldest shared among the four ultra-large crude carriers. It was awarded in January of 2000 and launched in September of the next year. It was initially named Hellespont Metropolis what was given its current name in 2004. It was purchased by the OSG group. It is a double hull ship that has a gross tonnage of about 234,000 tons. It was converted into a Floating, Storage and Offloading (FSO) vessel from a supertanker in 2010. It is still in service as of 2019.
Also read: Largest Container Ships In The World
2) TI Asia
TI Asia is the oldest ship among the four TI class supertankers. Ordered in January of 2001, it was launched in June of the following year. In 2010, it was converted into an FSO i.e. a Floating, Storage and Offloading vessel. It has a length of about 380 m and a beam of 68 meters. Its gross tonnage is 236,638 units. It was originally called Hellespont Alhambra but renamed as TI Asia in 2002. It was bought by the OSG Group like her sister, TI Africa.
3) TI Europe
The TI Europe was ordered in the year 2001 and launched in November 2002. It has a gross tonnage of about 234,000 tons and a speed of 16.5 knots. It has the capacity to carry more than 5 million liters of crude oil. Like its other sister ships (TI class supertankers), it has a length of 380 meters and a beam of 68 meters. It is owned by Euronav NV. It was initially named Hellespont Tara but was renamed in 2002. It was converted into a Floating, Storage and Offloading (FSO) vessel in 2017 and is still in service as of 2019. It currently comes under the French flag.
4) TI Oceania
TI Oceania ship was ordered in 2001 and launched in the year 2002. It is almost exactly similar in dimensions to the rest of the TI class supertankers. It has a deadweight tonnage of nearly 400,000 tons and it has the capacity to carry more than 3 million barrels of oil. It is currently under the French flag but has also been under the Greek and Belgian flags at a point in its life. It is still successfully in service as a supertanker, unlike its other three sisters which have been converted into Floating, Storage and Offloading (FSO) vessels, as of 2019.
It was initially named Hellespont Fairfax at the time of construction. It was renamed as TI Oceania in 2004. Its currency name is Overseas Laura Lynn which is given to it in March 2015.
Also read: Knock Nevis: World’s Largest Ship Ever