April 10, 2008
ABS and Russian Register to develop joint rules for Arctic LNG tankers
ABS and the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) are to jointly develop of classification Rules for Arctic Liquefied Natural Gas Carriers under a wide ranging cooperative agreement between the two IACS members.
The announcement was made during the Arctic Shipping 2008 International Conference & Seminar in St. Petersburg, Russia. This is the first pairing of societies to create Rules for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market sector.
"We made the strategic decision that it was in the best interest of industry to combine our shared experience and technical expertise to address the need for guidance with these carriers in the Arctic, especially at a time when gas transport from the Arctic regions of Russia will increase over the next few years," said Roger Basu, Director, ABS Corporate Research & Product Development.
The principal elements in ice strengthening LNG carrier design are: strengthening of the hull; the interaction of the hull structure with the containment system; minimum propulsion power requirements and strength of the propeller.
ABS' pioneering ice class research on nonlinear finite element analysis of side structures subject to ice loads, which led to the issuance of comprehensive Guidance Notes on Ice Class, provides a methodology for studying the impact of ice loads on LNG containment systems. At the recent Gastech 2008 conference, in Bangkok, ABS presented its approach to combining ice class Rules with direct calculations for the design of Arctic LNG vessel propulsion.
Wide experience in ensuring high safety standards in severe climate enables RS to proceed with investigations into the permissible service conditions for operation in heavy ice. Simulation of the potentially dangerous ice-through sailing pattern, as summarized from the integrated practical experience of operation in the Russian Arctic, is normally applied to ships of high ice class utilizing ice damage statistics analysis, ice load assessment and advanced ultimate capacity assessment.
Development of the joint rules for arctic LNG carriers allows ABS and RS to share experiences gained in Russian, Canadian and US Arctic waters. This collaboration will benefit the industry by bringing together the extensive experience of RS with transportation in the Russian Arctic and the experience of ABS with operations in the Beaufort Sea and the Canadian Arctic. Combined with advanced technology using risk analysis, testing and computational methods, this will provide the basis for the new criteria.
Vladimir Evenko, RS Vice-General Director, commented that "safe operation of large LNG carriers in the Russian Arctic is a very complicated and challenging issue, with a number of technical, functional, legal and environmental aspects to be duly addressed. The combination of two societies' experience, gained through the decades, is most advantageous and an effective way to create a regulatory framework that is both comprehensive and user friendly, with a view to meeting demand for Arctic LNG carrier designs in the nearest future. The ABS-RS bilateral cooperation, being of a strategic nature, will therefore be focused on research and developments in terms of the joint Rules."
Cooperation in rule development is part of an overall cooperation agreement between the two societies.