On 31 August, MV Sajir docked at Shanghai Huarun Dadong Dockyard Co’s #7 jetty to prepare for the installation of its LNG membrane tank. The conversion work for MV Sajir was originally planned to start in May this year, but was postponed due to the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
After merging with United Arab Shipping Co (UASC) in 2017, Hapag-Lloyd took over MV Sajir, which was originally designed and built as LNG-ready. At the beginning of 2019, Hapag-Lloyd has signed the conversion contract with Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co, the mother yard of HRDD. HRDD is responsible for the conversion, and German engineering company TECHNOLOG will provide the modification design.
MV Sajir is the first large-scale ship equipped with dual-LNG fuel tank in the world. The fuel tank adopts French GTT MARK III HD technology. The new LNG dual-fuel tank is 13 m long, 46 m wide and 21.6 high. It is composed of 17 blocks, of which the dome foundation block is 6 m long and 5 m wide. The challenge lies in the precision control of segmented production and assembly.
This project has complex and highly technical requirements. According to the plan, the entire conversion project period would be four months, of which the new fuel tank prefabricating and installation is one of the key aspects. After converting the original fuel system and heavy fuel oil engine into dual-fuel mode, the ship can not only run on LNG, but also use low-sulphur oil. After the conversion of the project is completed, the ship’s sulphur dioxide and particulate matter emissions can be reduced by more than 90%, significantly reducing the environmental impact of the ship, and fully complying with the requirements of the International Maritime Organization’s SOx regulations, which were officially implemented in 2020.
This is another world record for HRDD, after its first single-hull-to-double-hull oil tanker; the first container ship lengthened and widened in the world; and the first FSRU conversion from an LNG ship in China. These fully demonstrate HRDD’s continuous innovation, breakthroughs, and high technology and high-value ship repair and conversion work.
MV Sajir was built in 2014 and is one of the 17 container ships originally designed to LNG-ready specifications by Hapag-Lloyd. These container ships are designed to be easily retrofitted with LNG fuel tanks and related piping systems in order to use LNG as fuel. The other 16 sister ships are also able to be converted to use LNG as fuel.
Hapag-Lloyd hopes the dual-fuel conversion will reduce the environmental impact of its large ships. Using LNG power, MV Sajir can almost completely (over 90%) eliminate sulphur emissions and diesel particulate emissions in exhaust gas, and the nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by one-third.
The project started preconstruction in October last year, with HRDD overcoming many technical difficulties. Although the coronavirus epidemic has seriously affected the progress of the project, various departments adjusted the project plan to ensure the key points could be executed on schedule. HRDD has innovated technological, optimised technology, and adopted a one-time lifting solution of the world’s first LNG membrane system (Mark III HD) integrated by full exoskeleton tank, significantly reduced the conversion time and project cost.
At present, the LNG dual-fuel tank project has entered the final stage, and all construction key points are proceeding in a smooth manner. The shipowner has recognised the progress, safety and quality of the project. This conversion project has demonstrated HRDD’s conversion capacity is entering a new milestone.
Although there were many technical difficulties during this project, Huarun Dadong Dockyard Co personnel from different departments worked together with all parties to solve every difficulty one by one. We have accumulated valuable experience in all aspects from technology, material procurement, safety supervision, production management, multi-party collaboration and commissioning tests etc, and we have truly achieved know-how from this project.
More importantly, after MV Sajir’s modification, we fully understand that all parties, including the shipowner, tend to be cautious in the design of the world’s first conversion project. After all, ensuring the success of this first conversion is the primary consideration of all parties. However, based on our accumulated experience and the gradual maturity of the domestic LNG supporting industrial chain in China, there are many options for such projects in terms of technology, such as the form of fuel tanks, simplifying the fuel gas supply system configuration, and even optimising the design. This not only allows the shipowner to have a variety of options in the design of the plan, but also makes the conversion easier to implement, reducing the ship’s conversion time in the yard, making the LNG as fuel conversion as an energy-saving and emission-reducing solution truly become the shipowner’s first choice.
Huarun Dadong looks forward to co-operating with all shipping companies and manufacturers who are interested in energy saving and emissions reduction, and aim to realise green shipping.