The two parties signed a pioneering Joint Development Programme (JDP) where ABS will provide technical support as they embark on designing a fleet of specialist LNG bunker vessels for key ports around the world.
“With its low sulfur emissions, LNG is an attractive proposition for shipowners and operators responding to the 2020 Sulphur Cap. However, lack of bunkering infrastructure has been one of the key constraints on its adoption. ABS is proud to play a part in addressing that issue with probunkers,” said ABS vp for Global Business Development, Peter Fitzpatrick.
“As a global leader in LNG, ABS has a wealth of expertise to help probunkers meet the technical and operational challenges that a project of this scale and ambition will need to overcome,” he added.
The company, set up in 2017 in Cyprus has a clear aim to design, build, own and operate a fleet of LNG supply vessels. They will operate in seven ports initially: Houston; Rotterdam (or, alternatively, Antwerp); Gibraltar; Singapore; Hong Kong; Busan and Fujairah.
Alexander Prokopakis, probunkers chief executive said: “Our vision is to become the premier global bunker supplier of LNG. Our collaboration with ABS will play a key role in realizing our ambition to build a reliable global-scale bunkering network that will support the future of Sustainable Shipping and Green Energy.”
ABS will work with probunkers to provide regulatory compliance guidance for the fleet as well as define applicable rules and standards. ABS will also identify technical and operational challenges and advise on technological solutions in a range of areas including, but not limited to, capacity, dimensions of the vessels in relation to port restrictions, required power and speed, propulsion and maneuvering systems. Suitability analysis of available technologies for cargo containment, LNG Handling & Transfer Systems and Boil-Off Handling Systems is also a significant aspect of the JDP.
There has been increased impetus recently to make the cleaner burning fuel much more accessible as a fuel source for vessels in ports around the world. This has partially been driven by increased ordering of dual or LNG-fueled vessels as well as the impending global Sulphur cap in 2020.