Kairos, the 7,500-m3 Babcock Schulte Energy LNG bunker vessel newbuilding, has taken on a cargo of LNG at the Pengerang LNG regasification terminal in the Malaysian state of Johor on its delivery voyage from the Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in South Korea to the Baltic Sea.
It was the first small-scale loading of LNG carried out at the Petronas-operated Pengerang facility since it commenced commercial operations in November 2017. Propelled by Wärtsilä four-stroke dual-fuel engines, the LNG bunker vessel (LNGBV) will be able to run on cargo boil-off gas (BOG) for the westbound run to Europe.
The Kairos reload operation involved a close collaboration between all relevant Petronas units, including Petronas Gas Berhad and Pengerang LNG (Two), and other key maritime sector stakeholders such as the Marine Department of Malaysia, Johor Port Authority and Johor Port Berhad.
Ice-class 1A Kairos has been chartered by Blue LNG, a joint venture in which Hamburg’s Nauticor holds a 90% stake and Klaipedos Nafta, operator of Lithuania’s floating storage and regasification unit-based LNG import terminal, 10%.
The LNGBV will be based in Klaipeda, the same port where the FSRU, 170,000-m3 Independence, is berthed. Kairos will be supplied with LNG from Independence.
Fitted with a pair of IMO Type C cargo tanks, Kairos can function as both an LNGBV and a coastal distribution tanker. The ability to carry out ship-to-ship transhipment operations is central to the vessel bunkering role.
Another notable feature of the Kairos design is the freedom from both the need to ballast with seawater and, hence, fit a ballast water treatment system. A combination of the special hull form with dead-rise, the forward positioning of the engineroom and deckhouse and the twin propulsion system with two azimuth thrusters means Kairos can retain its damage stability and easily control the trim and heel without seawater ballasting.
Only a limited volume of permanent fresh water ballast is used for trim purposes. The smaller diameter of the propellers fitted in the azimuth thrusters enables the vessel to achieve full immersion in all operational conditions.
Kairos’s fuel system is integrated with the cargo systems, allowing BOG and flash gas, which would otherwise be lost during operations, to be collected as compressed natural gas (CNG), and used as fuel. However, when CNG is not available, LNG can be vaporised and provided as fuel to the engines.
The LNGBV’s wide-ranging transfer rate capability, from 60 up to 1,250 m³/hour, is achieved through a combination of different-sized pumps and variable-speed drive. The design feature enables the charterer to meet the needs of a wide spectrum of potential customers, including operators of ferries, cruise vessels and container ships faced with tight time constraints on fuelling due to strict port turnaround timetables.