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HMD and LR join forces to build the world’s first ballast-free LNG bunkering vessel

It is really an innovative initiative of Hyndai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) to think of a vessel design that need not bother to comply with IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention which became effective September 2017.  When the industry is keenly preoccupied with finding ways and means of complying with the Convention in a cost effective way, this ballast-free LNG bunkering vessel design is fresh and demanding attention.

  Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) is scheduled to deliver the world’s first ballast free LNG bunkering vessel later this year. The 7,600m³ vessel was ordered by Germany-based Bernhard Schulte Ship management in late 2016 and is currently under construction to Lloyd’s Register (LR) class at HMD’s Ulsan shipyard.

To address the problem related to IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention which became effective September 2017, HMD thought of developing a vessel without the need for a ballast water treatment system.

 To translate the concept into a design for execution, HMD had to give careful thought to critical features: the special hull form with dead-rise and the speed management by dead-rise; and, twin propulsion system with two azimuth thrusters.

 HMD’s first obstacle was the speed management by dead-rise, as the media report goes.  In general, dead-rise is known to help improve the ship’s stability, which is critical to this ballast-free vessel, but it is also likely to deteriorate the vessel’s speed performance. To counteract this, HMD focused heavily on the hull form optimisation and successfully developed a better performing dead-rise hull form, confirmed through the wet model test.

Another key feature of this vessel that enables it to be ballast-free is the twin propulsion system with two azimuth thrusters. The smaller diameter of propellers fitted in the azimuth thrusters enables the vessel to achieve full immersion in all operational conditions.

LNG will be stored in two independent IMO type C tanks which are designed to contain the LNG with a minimum temperature of minus 165° C and maximum vapour pressure of 3.75 bar(g), and can be transferred to an LNG-fuelled vessel at the rate of about 1,250m³/hour through the cryogenic flexible hoses without ballasting and/or de-ballasting operation. Additionally, the natural vaporising gas from the bunkering vessel and the returned boil-off gas from the LNG-fuelled vessel will be compressed up to 220 bar(g), stored in two sets of 40 feet container and used for propulsion fuel and electric.

Seung-Ho Jeon, SVP of HMD Initial Planning Division, said: “The ballast-free concept will be made a reality by the technology expertise of HMD. We aim to stand out in the field of eco-friendly business practice.”

Jin-Tae Lee, Ph.D, LR’s Korea Chief Representative & Marine Manager, a great supporter of technical innovation, said: “We are delighted to work with the shipyard helping the marine industry bring innovative designs to the market. We believe that this design is another remarkable development for HMD to realise the industry’s need for safe, efficient and clean requirements in the shipping industry worldwide.”

The ballast-free concept means that the vessel will not need to install a ballast water treatment system and it also removes the need to comply with the Performance Standard for Protective Coatings for ballast tanks and related regulation, enabling maintenance costs savings.

 HYUNDAI MIPO DOCKYARD CO., LTD. is a Korea-based company mainly engaged in the production and sale of ships. Along with subsidiaries, the Company operates its business through two segments. Shipbuilding Segment is involved in the manufacturing and sale of ships such as product & chemical tankers, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) ships, pure car and truck carrier (PCTC), liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering vessels, floating, production, storage and offloading system (FPSO), container carriers, passenger carriers (PC) ships, bulk carriers (BC) ships. Financing Segment is engaged in the provision of financing services such as financial investment products and asset management services.


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