BP Shipping

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BP Shipping is the maritime arm of British headquartered global oil company, BP. The unit covers the marine transport, logistics and insurance requirements of all BP's global activities.

Formed in 1956 as BP Tanker Company Ltd, its roots go back to the British Tanker Company Ltd, which was formed to carry products for the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. It is hence the oldest continuous business unit in the BP group. The company changed its name to BP Shipping in 1981 to encompass its marine insurance activities, and in 2006 transported 251.7 million tonnes of crude and products, representing around 5% of the world's sea borne oil movements


British Tanker Company[edit]

British Emperor, launched in 1916

Having initially employed independent contractors to carry its oil from Persia (now Iran) back to Europe and into India, in April 1915 the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) set up the British Tanker Company Limited (BTC) in April 1915, with an initial capital of £100,000. The BTC placed orders with two Tyne based shipbuilders, Armstrong Whitworth and Swan Hunter, for a total of 7 steam-powered oil tankers.

The BTC's first tanker was the 3,663 gross tonnage British Emperor, launched in 1916. The names of all the first 7 ships bore the prefix "British", and all future additions to the fleet have followed the same naming convention. The 60th ship was the new flagship, the 6,998 gross tonnage British Aviator, BTC's first diesel engined oil tanker, and was at that time the most powerful single-screw motor ship in the world.

Through steadying of relationships with the Shah of Iran, APOC managed to strengthen its position within the industry during the Great Depression. With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the British government chartered the BTC's whole fleet of 93 vessels, to transport fuel for its armed forces. The fleet lost 41 ships sunk during the war, with 2 others so badly damaged they could only be used as storage hulks.

BP Tanker Company[edit]

In November 1954, APOC renamed itself the British Petroleum Company, and in 1955 the BTC became the BP Tanker Company (BPTC). By the end of the 1950s, the BPTC's fleet stood at 146 vessels, including supertankers of 38,000 gross tonnage (67,000 deadweight tonnes), with plans to build tankers of 60,000 gross tonnage (100,000 deadweight tonnes), which would hold more than 25 million US gallons (95,000 m3) of crude oil. In 1981 the company was renamed BP Shipping Ltd to reflect its changing role in managing the tanker fleet.


Today, while BP Shipping remains responsible within the group for all water-born logistics, much of its fleet capacity is gained through hiring other operators vessels. The result is that it is also responsible for marine assurance on everything that is sited within or floats on water.[1]

Employing 2,800 people based mainly in London, Singapore and Chicago, at the end of 2006 BP Shipping managed:[1]

  • 57 vessels - four Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), one North Sea shuttle tanker, 42 medium size crude and product carriers, seven liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers and three new liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carriers
  • 24 regional vessels, including coasters
  • 100 hydrocarbon-carrying vessels above 600 deadweight tonnes on time charter

Resulting in:[1]

  • The shipping of 270 million tonnes of cargo volume
  • 7,000 voyages, of which at any time 450-500 cargoes are "on the water"
  • On average two thirds of shipments are made by seagoing tankers, the rest via inland and harbour barges

The marine insurance activity covers 800-900 miscellaneous craft such as tugs, crew boats, barges and seismic vessels used in support of BP group business around the world. All are vetted, with policy being that BP Shipping considers a vessel to be unacceptable unless positively identified otherwise. Of the 4,700 inspections in 2006, half resulted in an initial rejection.[1]

Other marine holdings include:[1]

  • BP Shipcare Sdn. Bhd. - a lay-up facility located in East Malaysia
  • Alaska Tanker Company - minority shareholding in four purpose-built ships of 110,693 GRT retained on time charter to transport crude oil from Alaska to west coast US ports. The ships are Alaska Legend, Alaska Explorer, Alaska Frontier and Alaska Navigator.[2]
  • China LNG Shipping - 40% shareholding in ship management service to LNG carriers serving the Guangdong LNG terminal


Retired Fleet[edit]

Class Builder Type Ships Flag Port of Registry Service Notes
Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Shuttle Tanker (DP2) Loch Rannoch  United Kingdom Lerwick, Shetland 1998–2013 Returned to owners, Knutsen OAS, September 2013
P Class Samsung Heavy Industries VLCC British Pioneer  Isle of Man Douglas, Isle of Man 1999–2011 Renamed Ridgebury Pioneer
British Pride 2000–2016 Renamed Ridgebury Pride
British Progress 2000–2016 Renamed Ridgebury Progress
British Purpose 2000–2016 Renamed Ridgebury Purpose

Active Fleet[edit]

Class Builder Type Ships in Class Flag Port of Registry in Service Notes
Tree Class Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co. Aframax British Beech  Isle of Man Douglas, Isle of Man 2003
British Hazel 2004
British Holly 2004
British Vine 2004
Bird Class Samsung Heavy Industries Aframax British Osprey  Isle of Man Douglas, Isle of Man 2003
British Swift 2003
British Robin 2003
British Curlew 2004
British Cormorant 2005
British Gannet 2005
British Mallard 2005
British Merlin 2005
British Cygnet 2005
British Falcon 2006
British Eagle 2006
British Kestrel 2006
E Class Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Medium Range Products Tanker British Esteem  United Kingdom London UK 2003
British Explorer 2003
British Envoy  Isle of Man Douglas, Isle of Man 2006
British Ensign 2006
British Emissary  United Kingdom London, UK 2007
Virtue Class Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Large Range Product Tanker British Integrity  Isle of Man Douglas, Isle of Man 2004
British Liberty 2004
British Loyalty 2004
British Security 2004
British Tenacity 2004
British Unity 2004
British Fidelity 2004
British Chivalry 2005
British Courtesy 2005
British Harmony 2005
British Serenity 2005
British Tranquility 2005
C Class Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Carrier British Commerce  Isle of Man Douglas, Isle of Man 2006
British Courage 2006
British Councillor 2007
Trader Class Samsung Heavy Industries LNG carrier British Trader  Isle of Man Douglas, Isle of Man 2002 First Spot-market LNG carriers.
British Innovator 2002
British Merchant 2003
Gem Class Hyundai Heavy Industries LNG carrier British Emerald  Isle of Man Douglas, Isle of Man 2007 First Dual-Fuel Diesel-Electric (DFDE) LNG carriers.
British Diamond 2008
British Ruby 2008
British Sapphire 2008
Kawasaki Heavy Industries LNG carrier Northwest Shearwater  Bermuda Hamilton, Bermuda 1991 Vessel operated for North West Shelf Venture.
Barge Breko Nieuwbouw B.V. Lubricating Oil Victoria  Netherlands Rotterdam, Netherlands 2005 Operated by Verenigde Tankrederij B.V.
Vanora 2006
V Class Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering VLCC British Venture  Isle of Man Douglas, Isle of Man 2013
British Vantage 2013
R Class STX Offshore and Shipbuilding Co. Ltd Aframax British Respect  Isle of Man Douglas, Isle of Man 2016
British Resource 2016
British Regard 2016
British Renown 2016
British Rigour 2016
British Restraint 2016
British Reliance 2016
British Resolution 2016
British Reason 2016
Century Class STX Offshore and Shipbuilding Co. Ltd Suezmax British Century  Isle of Man Douglas, Isle of Man 2017
British Heritage 2017
British Tradition 2017
Mariner Class Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Product Tanker British Mariner  Isle of Man Douglas, Isle of Man 2016
British Navigator 2016
British Seafarer 2016
British Sailor 2016
British Cadet 2016
British Captain 2017
British Chief 2017
British Officer 2017
British Engineer 2017
Cloud Class Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Handysize British Cumulus  Isle of Man Douglas, Isle of Man 2016
British Nimbus 2016
British Stratus 2017
British Altus 2017
British Cirrus 2017
Project Delphi Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering LNG carrier 6 ships to be built from 2015 Under construction[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e "BP Shipping". BP Group. Archived from the original on 22 July 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  2. ^ "Fleet". Alaska Tanker Company. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  3. ^ "BP Shipping 100" (PDF). BP.com. Retrieved 29 June 2015.

External links[edit]