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Live from SMM Hamburg

Class societies unveil slew of LNG-fuel initiatives

Class societies unveil slew of LNG-fuel initiatives
The continuing trend towards the use of greener fuels and in particular preparations for the adoption of LNG, was a common thread running through several announcements by class societies during the opening two days of SMM.

Lloyd’s Register (LR) announced it was introducing new notations for a ship’s different levels of readiness to adopt LNG as a fuel at a later date when supplies become readily available. These included: A to show that Approval in Principle has been achieved for the basic design, S to show that necessary structural reinforcement and materials have been installed, T for gas storage tank in place, P that gas fuel piping arrangements are installed, and E when engineering systems (ie main engine(s), auxiliary engines, boiler etc) are also gas fuelled.

“One point of the notation is to make it easier for owners or investors to estimate how much it would cost for a vessel to go over to gas,” LR marine director Tom Boardley told Seatrade Global.

DNV GL used the occasion of SMM to present to United Arab Shipping Co (UASC) the first Approval in Principle for LNG as a ship fuel in a mega boxship.

UASC’s 11 containerships of 14,000 teu and six of 18,000 teu will be delivered from April 2015 onwards and are LNG ready for quick conversion to run on gas. The yard Hyundai Heavy Industries, consultants Technolog Services and DNV GL all worked on developing ship design.

ABS confirmed that it too was working on LNG Ready concept development in order to “minimize retrofit scope and costs,” but Patrick Janssens, vp for global gas solutions, told Seatrade Global that regulations governing use of LNG had not yet been finalised by IMO, meaning hard and fast notations might prove premature.

Meanwhile, ABS announced that it had been selected as lead class society for two LNG-fuelled 1,400 teu containerships to be built in China at Yangzhou Guoya Shipbuilding for German owner GNS Shipping/Nordic Hamburg, for long-term charter to Containerships Ltd of Finland - the first feederships dedicated to operations in the European sulphur Emissions Control Area.

“We are delighted to have been awarded the classification contract for these innovative containerships, which draw on real-world experience classing vessels using LNG as fuel,’ said ABS Europe president and coo Kirsi Tikka.

Similarly Bureau Veritas revealed that it has been chosen to class the first LNG bunker barge being built at Hanjin Heavy Industries - under an agreement between Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and France’s GDF-SUEZ - to operate in Zeebrugge, initially supplying fuel from GDF-SUEZ to the fleet of United European Car Carriers.

BV’s experience with dual-fuel and multi-function gas carriers meant it could make “a real contribution to this initiative,” said BV’s evp and head of the marine and offshore division Philippe Donche-Gay, adding “It will help kick-start LNG bunkering, bringing forward the use of this clean fuel in North European waters.”