Ballast-Free LNG Bunkering Vessel Ordered
Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) is scheduled to deliver the world’s first ballast free LNG bunkering vessel later this year. The 7,600m³ vessel was ordered by Germany-based Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement in late 2016 and is currently under construction to Lloyd's Register class at HMD’s Ulsan shipyard.
The yard gave careful consideration to the special hull form with dead-rise. In general, dead-rise is known to help improve the ship’s stability, but it is also likely to deteriorate the vessel’s speed performance. To counteract this, HMD focused heavily on the hull form optimization and successfully developed a better performing dead-rise hull form, confirmed through wet model testing.
The design also has a forward engine room and deckhouse and a twin propulsion system with azimuth thrusters so that the vessel can retain its damage stability and easily control the trim and heel without ballasting. The smaller diameter of propellers fitted in the azimuth thrusters enables the vessel to achieve full immersion in all operational conditions.
LNG will be stored in two independent IMO type C tanks and can be transferred to an LNG-fuelled vessel at the rate of about 1,250m³/hour through the cryogenic flexible hoses without ballasting and/or de-ballasting operation. Additionally, the natural vaporizing gas from the bunkering vessel and the returned boil-off gas from the LNG-fueled vessel will be compressed, stored in two sets of 40-foot containers and used for propulsion fuel and electric.
The ballast-free concept means that the vessel will not need to install a ballast water treatment system and it also removes the need to comply with the Performance Standard for Protective Coatings for ballast tanks and related regulation, enabling maintenance costs savings.
News of the vessel comes after an announcement by Total Marine Fuels Global Solutions (TMFGS) and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) that they have signed a long-term charter contract for a large LNG bunker vessel of 18,600 cbm capacity, to be delivered in 2020. Other LNG bunkering vessels that have entered service include the 6,500 cbm Cardissa operated from Shell’s base in Rotterdam and the 5,800 cbm Coralius on long-term charter to Skangas. Also, the Engie Zeebrugge, jointly owned by Engie, Mitsubishi Corporation, NYK Line and Fluxys, with a capacity of 5,000 cbm, will service customers in Northern Europe under the brand Gas4Sea. Bomin Linde LNG has a 7,500 cbm vessel on order which is expected to supply customers along the Baltic Sea coast later this year.
Earlier this week, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) released a Guidance on LNG Bunkering to Port Authorities and Administrations. The guidance was prepared in cooperation with the European Commission (DG MOVE), member states and industry within the context of the European Sustainable Shipping Forum. It aims to support port authorities and administrations backing the use of LNG as a ship fuel, as part of a joint effort to increase safety and sustainability.