An Aframax ship is an tanker with a deadweight tonnage of between 80,000 and 120,000 dwt, and carries between 70,000 and 100,000 metric tonnes of crude oil. This makes them smaller than VLCC or ULCC tankers. They are used primarily in regions which, unlike most OPEC countries, do not operate harbors large enough or have offshore oil terminals to allow the larger crude carrier ships to operate. The name Aframax does not refer to Africa, but rather to the Average Freight Rate Assessment system, created by Shell Oil in 1954 to standardize contract terms. The Aframax is the largest size tanker assessed by the system.

Aframax ships are crude carriers; that is, they transport crude oil, and are sometimes called 'dirty' tankers. If a ship of this size is used to transport refined products such as gasoline, jet fuel or methane, it will have coated cargo compartments to reduce contamination, and is designated an 'LR2 tanker.'

From Imarex - a maritime derivatives market - the average dimensions of an Aframax ship are as follows:

  • Length: 243.2 m
  • Breadth: 41.6 m
  • Draft: 14.1 m
  • Barrel Intake: 690,000 bbl
  • Speed: 14.7 knots

Bear in mind that these are average figures.


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