Tokyo-based classification society ClassNK (Nippon Kaiji Kyokai) has issued Approval in Principle (AIP) for a 7,500 m3 LNG bunkering vessel designed by Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co., Ltd. The development of the bunker vessel will add flexibility to marine refueling infrastructure to meet the growing demand for liquefied natural gas.
ClassNK states LNG is expected to become one of the primary sources of ship fuel in the near future. In response, it has together with Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co., Ltd. carried out research to improve the efficiency of LNG bunkering vessels.
LNG fueled vessels are currently largely dependent on existing infrastructure comprised mainly of fixed bunker locations, potentially limiting their operations. Recognizing the greater flexibility that LNG bunker vessels could provide through ship-to-ship bunkering, the two companies worked together to improve the viability of this technology. The innovative design employs type-C bi-lobe tanks, improving on cargo capacity to allow for greater efficiency and productivity.
The AIP was granted after confirming the design complies with ClassNK’s Rules and Guidance for the Survey and Construction of Steel Ships. It allows the design to be considered for further individual projects, where tests on the hull structure scantling and direct stress analyses will be carried out to ensure the structural integrity of each specific design is in line with class rules and the International Code for the construction and equipment of ships carrying liquefied gases in bulk (IGC Code).
Speaking on the occasion, Takashi Nishibashi, ClassNK’s Country Manager of Korea said: “We hope this AIP will help pave the way for a new generation of highly efficient LNG bunkering vessels.”
Cha-Soo Lee, Technical Director of Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co., Ltd. added: “When we are commissioned to develop an LNG bunkering vessel concept by clients we face a much wider array of challenges, such as compact ship’s dimensions, robust hull structure, more cargo capacity, simple operation and lower ship’s price etc. We are happy to find the best compromise between economic and technical issues through this joint research with ClassNK.”