South Korea sees first-ever simultaneous LNG bunkering operations on bulkers

For the first time in Korea, simultaneous operations (SIMOPs) of ship-to-ship LNG bunkering were conducted for a coal-carrying bulk carrier at the POSCO raw material dock, Gwanyang port.

Courtesy of KR

As informed, the ship-to-ship LNG bunkering was carried out on October 28, 2023.

South Korea is said to boast world-class shipbuilding capabilities for LNG carriers and bunkering vessels. However, due to safety concerns, ship-to-ship LNG bunkering has never been carried out at the loading docks of its trading ports.

To address these concerns, the country’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of Korea (MOF) initiated a plan this year to promote LNG bunkering operations. The government is supporting R&D projects and LNG bunkering operators by providing port facility fee discounts, with the aim of ensuring the successful implementation of simultaneous LNG bunkering operations.

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“We plan to expand the demonstration of bunkering with alternative marine fuels such as LNG and methanol at major Korean ports, including the Port of Busan,” an MOF official said.

“Our goal is to develop Korea as a primary bunkering hub for alternative marine fuels by significantly easing bunkering safety regulations and taking measures to establish a sustainable alternative marine fuel supply chain under the guidance of specialized organizations such as KR,” the official explained.

“While LNG has been widely chosen as an alternative fuel, this is a significant step forward in the operation of LNG bunkering,” an official from the Korean Register (KR) commented, adding that the classification society will continue supporting the safe and successful implementation of simultaneous LNG bunkering operations.

KR, together with the Korea Research Institute of Ships & Ocean Engineering (KRISO), has been actively conducting research and development (R&D) aimed at improving LNG bunkering safety technology, including the development of standard LNG bunkering operating procedures.