Final assembly has begun on Mitsui OSK Lines’ 18,600 m3 LNG bunker vessel being built by Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co, Ltd, a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation
Once delivered by the end of 2021, the LNG bunker vessel will go on long-term charter to France’s Total, refuelling vessels in the Marseille-Fos area of France.
This is the second 18,600-m3 LNG bunkering vessel built by Hudong Zhonghua for Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), and the Chinese shipbuilder reports it has achieved “three major improvements” in overall performance compared with Gas Agility delivered in April 2020 through the upgrade of the design concept and the improvement of system functions.
One is a high throughput rate, reports Hudong Zhonghua. Both the loading and offloading rate have increased by 25%, reducing the refuelling operation time during ship-to-ship transfers.
The second is high compatibility. A new design allows the bunker vessel to service LNG-powered vessels with IMO type A, B, C or membrane-type LNG fuel tanks.
The third is fuelling flexibility. High and low double filling headers allow connection with LNG-powered ships of different sizes. The bunker vessel can provide full-process services for various types of LNG-powered ships, including small ferries, bulk carriers, very large tankers (VLCC), very large container ships and cruise ships, covering the refuelling demand from 600 to 18,000 m3.
Built with GTT Mark III Flex thin film tanks for low evaporation rate and full-process service capabilities, the 135-m bunker vessel has been designed with tank strength to withstand sloshing impact.
To address this, Hudong Zhonghua reports it has adopted a series of special technologies.
Regarding the cabin pressure design, Hudong Zhonghua has increased the containment system pressure from 0.25 bar to 0.7 bar. The vessel’s anti-sloshing tank design incorporates reinforced high-density polyurethane foam board embedded with high-woven glass fibre, special corrugated board with longitudinal and horizontal composite corrugations, and reinforced aluminium wedges.
Hudong Zhonghua said the tank design for the bunker vessel is as complex as a large LNG carrier. “Although the tank capacity is only 18,600 m3, the construction of tanks for this type of ship is no less difficult than a large LNG ship of 174,000 m3.
Flying the French-flag, the bunker vessel has been specifically designed to supply LNG in the Mediterranean area and will integrate a complete reliquefaction of the boil-off gas.
The bunker vessel will be operated by MOL, jointly with Gazocean.
Get the latest information and viewpoints on maritime issues during Riviera Maritime Media’s series of webinar weeks on key technical subjects in shipping