Photo: Courtesy of HESC

Investigation launched into fire incident on world’s 1st LH2 carrier Suiso Frontier

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ABTS) is investigating a fire incident onboard the world’s first LH2 carrier Suiso Frontier that took place on 25 January in Hastings.

World’s 1st LH2 carrier Suiso Frontier in a fire accident
Courtesy of HESC

The ATSB revealed it is investigating a gas pressure control equipment malfunction onboard Suiso Frontier. The incident occurred after the ship had loaded liquefied hydrogen at Western Port, Hastings, back in January.

According to its safety report, on 25 January 2022, there was a flame coming from the gas combustion unit’s exhaust on deck. The unit was immediately shut down and isolated, after which the crew implemented the fire prevention response plan.

“No further abnormalities were reported and there were no injuries, damage, or pollution. As part of the investigation, the ATSB will interview relevant persons and obtain other evidence, including recorded data,” the report says.

The ATSB will publish a final report at the conclusion of the investigation.

Nevertheless, on 25 February 2022, the Suiso Frontier returned to Kobe in Japan from Hastings, Australia. Thus, it delivered the world’s first cargo of liquefied hydrogen to the country.

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First of its kind, the 8,000 tonnes Suiso Frontier can transport large quantities of LH2 over long distances by sea. Here, the LH2 is at 1/800 of its original gas-state volume, cooled to –253°C.

Kawasaki Heavy finished construction of the hydrogen carrier back in 2020 under the CO2-free Hydrogen Energy Supply-chain Technology Research Association (HySTRA) membership. KHI, Iwatani, Shell, and Electric Power Development united under HySTRA to promote specifically hydrogen as a fuel source.

The ship is also a part of the A$500 million ($355 million) Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) pilot project. The project is the first in the world to extract, liquefy and transport LH2  by sea to an international market.