All are double-hull "ice class" ships, equipped with a specially constructed and reinforced bow area to enable them to transit certain ice-laden waters. At 115,000 dead weight tonnes, they are at the top of the internationally recognized shipping group known as Aframax, which generally denotes a vessel of from 80,000 to 120,000 tonnes deadweight. Aframax, an acronym for "average freight rate assessment maximum," denotes a category of efficient crude oil tankers that can economically transport a significant amount of cargo. Cargo aboard a BP Bird-class tanker typically will include either crude oil or fuel oils.
This class of ship was built for BP in Korea by Samsung Heavy Industries Company Limited. They are British-flagged, with Douglas, Isle of Man as their port of registry. Their classification society is Lloyds Register. BP manages these ships, providing its own crews and provisions to operate them. They operate worldwide.