World’s First LNG Bunkering Vessel on the Horizon

Artist's Rendering of the Vessel
Artist’s Rendering of the Vessel

Having won the bid to build an LNG bunkering vessel, the world’s first, Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction (HHIC) announced that it has signed a contract for the construction of the LNG bunkering vessel (5,100㎥) with NYK in Japan.

So far, a small bunkering vessel or barge has been used to transfer LNG fuel to a certain ship. It is the first time to use an LNG bunkering vessel for ship-to-ship transfer of fuel on the sea.

LNG bunkering means the ship-to-ship transfer of fuel such as LNG on the sea. In general, fuel is supplied to a ship through LNG storage tank on the land or offshore LNG receiving terminal. If the LNG bunkering vessel is used, however, LNG fuel can be supplied on the sea.

“LNG-fueled vessel and bunkering market to change the paradigm of global shipbuilding industry?”

The LNG-fueled vessel can save fuel expenses by 20-50%, compared to conventional oil-fueled ships. In addition, it can dramatically reduced greenhouse gas emissions such as exhaust fumes and sulfur oxides.

Therefore, the environment-friendly and economically efficient LNG-fueled ships have become more popular. At the same time, bunkering-related industry has considerably grown.

According to industry reports, LNG price has been stable due to stricter restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and increase in the production of natural gases in the North America and Australia. Therefore, it appears that LNG-fueled vessel and bunkering market would change the paradigm of global shipbuilding industry.

Many ports around the world (especially those in Europe) have expanded related facilities to take the initiative in the upcoming LNG bunkering era. In Korea, unfortunately, there have been few discussions on LNG bunkering, and there hasn’t been a basic plan for this new field yet.

In particular, this bunkering vessel is capable of fueling 5,000㎥ LNG at a time without additional charging. With propellers and auxiliary propellers (two units each), it has great maneuverability and berthing capacity.

Therefore, it can transfer LNG to another ship on the sea without a separate berthing support ship. In terms of storage tank, it has two IMO’s independent pressurized LNG tanks. In addition, operating efficiency has been maximized using LNG/MGO bi-fuel.

An official from HHIC said, “LNG-fueled vessel and LNG bunkering market is a next-generation green ship and blue ocean in LNG industry.

Press Release, July 15th, 2014

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