International petroleum tanker owner-operator AET has taken delivery of the world’s first purpose-built lightering support vessel (LSV). The new craft, designed by Elliott Bay Design Group of Seattle and built by Leevac Industries in Louisiana, was formally named at AET Offshore Service’s headquarters in Galveston, Texas on 6 October.

The vessel, named AET Innovator, is designed and built to streamline ship-to-ship transfers in the US Gulf and is the first of four sister craft to be built and delivered into the AET Offshore fleet, replacing older tonnage.

General Manager of AET Offshore, Bill Merritt said: ‘Lightering has been conducted in the US Gulf since the 1980s but, until now, support has been provided by converted offshore supply vessels. Three years ago AET began work on a new fleet of speciality lightering support vessels. These new ships provide a more stable and effective working platform for our lightering crews and are more manoeuvrable and able to handle less favourable weather conditions.’

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