LNG fuel conversion and jumboization: Partners win BV AiP for new boxship retrofit concept

French engineering company GTT, compatriot naval consultancy and engineering firm Alwena Shipping and COSCO Shipping Heavy Industry (Zhoushan) shipyard have received approval in principle (AiP) from the classification society Bureau Veritas (BV) for a new concept, combining LNG retrofit and jumboization applied to large containerships.

Photo: GTT

As informed, GTT carried out the LNG Mark III membrane tank design while its integration into the ship was designed and validated by Alwena Shipping.

CHI Zhoushan shipyard validated the operational aspects of the project, including the work sequence, planning and workforce resources.

The increase in the length of the ship — or jumboization — combined with the conversion of the propulsion and electrical generation systems to LNG enable a reduction in the operating costs of the ship, which limits the financial impact of the immobilization period required for the retrofit operation, according to the partners.

LNG propulsion offers ship-owners a solution to comply with the environmental regulations being adopted by the IMO by 2045.

In comparison with a conventional fuel-powered containership, the converted vessel reduces CO2 emissions by around 23% over an 83-day Europe-Asia return trip (port calls included).

The work carried out within the joint development program (JDP) between GTT, Alwena Shipping and CHI Zhoushan supports the technical, operational and commercial design of the conversion and jumboization operation, while also proposing a competitive industrial plan.

The result of this joint work shows the way to contribute to decarbonize part of the containership fleet currently in operation.

BV confirmed the conception of the retrofit, as well as the layout of the LNG fuel containment system and gas fuel supply system supported by an auxiliary safety system in accordance with IGF Code and BV Rule NR 529. After reviewing the modifications to the vessel and the description of the associated operations, Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore gave its AiP on the concept on 11 January 2022.

“This retrofit and jumboization project applied to very large container vessels is part of the GTT strategy to contribute to the maritime industry decarbonisation by leveraging its technical know-how. After the successful LNG exoskeleton retrofit of the Brussel Express, GTT proposes here a model enabling to finance the conversion operation by a vessel cargo capacity increase,” Philippe Berterottière, Chairman and CEO of GTT, said.

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“This project is remarkable in many ways: while switching to a transition fuel offering reductions in CO2, particulate and NOx emissions, this concept approved by Bureau Veritas also extends the life of the vessels converted and increases container capacity thus contributing to reducing the tension on the container transport markets,” Ludovic Gérard, President of Alwena Shipping, commented.

“We are pleased that CHI Zhoushan is able to offer solutions to upgrade vessels and reduce their environmental impact. This project is a competitive achievement as well as an important step forward on the journey towards carbon neutrality. The retrofit & jumboization will enable a safer, greener, more efficient, and more sustainable shipping business,” Gong Weibing, Vice General Manager of CHI Zhoushan, pointed out.

“Retrofit is part of the options to be considered by ship-owners and operators. It can be a cost-effective option. I am proud BV could support this project, which is fully aligned with our ambition to enable the industry to tackle the energy transition in a safe and efficient manner,” Laurent Leblanc, Senior Vice President Technical & Operations at Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore, noted.

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