Samsung Heavy partners with Kongsberg for next-gen autonomous LNG carrier

South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and Norwegian maritime technology group Kongsberg Maritime (KM) have signed an agreement for the development of autonomous LNG carriers.

Courtesy of Samsung Heavy Industries

Under the joint development agreement, the companies aim to develop a 174,000 cbm next-generation LNG carrier that will use the latest remote autonomous navigation and low-carbon technology for safer and more energy-efficient operations.

Through this deal, SHI plans to strengthen its strategic partnership with Kongsberg and its position in the future autonomous ship market.

Prior to this project, Kongsberg Maritime, a provider of navigation systems and digital solutions for ships, has also been active in the development of the world’s first autonomous and fully electric containership, Yara Birkeland.

On the other hand, SHI also conducted a demonstration of autonomous navigation by performing a sea trial of a 9,000-ton vessel from Mokpo, South Jeolla Province, to Dokdo in the East Sea of South Korea, last year.

In the summer of 2022, the South Korean shipbuilder signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with classification society Korean Register (KR) and ship management company Korea Leading Company of Ship Management (KLCSM) for joint research and commercialisation of autonomous navigation systems for mid- to large-sized vessels.

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When it comes to its other shipbuilding activities, SHI kicked off 2023 with orders for the construction of two LNG carriers and a floating LNG facility. The combined value of the two orders is $2 billion, which is equivalent to one-fifth (21%) of its $9.5 billion target for this year.

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