Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) and Germanischer Lloyd (GL) have proved the feasibility of running large container vessels on LNG, with GL recently finishing approval in principle of a 14,000 TEU LNG-fueled container vessel for DSME.
"New technology is needed as cleaner transport is increasingly demanded and maritime environmental regulations are becoming ever stricter," said Mr. Frederick Ebers, Vice President and Area Manager for North East Asia, GL, at a press conference in Busan, Korea. "DSME and GL have acknowledged this challenge and agreed in 2010 to jointly start exploring technology options and safety concepts for large LNG-fuelled container vessels."
Following Mr. Hyung kyu Seo from DSME, who demonstrated the design concept of this LNG-fuelled container vessel, Dr. Gerd-Michael Wuersig elaborated on the safety concepts involved. Dr. Wuersig is Deputy Head of Environmental Research Department of GL and also a member of IMO Correspondence Group for the development of the Code for Gas as Ship Fuel (IGF-Code).
He pointed out that most technical systems have been developed and examined and the major challenge lies in how to apply these technologies, especially the one ensuring safe bunkering procedures. "You have to guarantee there is no gas spill and protection measures against incidents and collisions are sufficient. Relevant solutions are under evaluation and will be available soon," he said.
He noted that LNG-fueled vessels built according to the interim guidelines MSC. 285(86) will be allowed to operate when IGF-Code is enforced.
Dr. Wuersig is convinced that a new era of LNG vessels is set to come. "LNG-fueled cargo ships will be emerging on a large scale in the latter half of this decade," he predicted. "And there is a great potential for containerships to become one of the first cargo vessels using LNG as ship fuel."
GL has been seeking to go a step ahead in developing relevant rules and pushing forward the use of LNG as ship fuel. With the assistance of GL, IMO's Committee on Maritime Safety developed and adopted "Interim Guidelines on Safety for Natural Gas-Fuelled Engine Installations in Ships". GL has also published guidelines for gas used as ship fuel. Currently, GL is involved in converting a 25,000 dwt product tanker "Bit Viking" into the first GL-classed gas-fueled ship.
November 1, 2011