South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has received approval in principle from classification society Lloyd’s Register for a LNG-powered Very Large Ore Carrier.
The VLOC concept was developed through a joint project between Lloyd’s Register, Hyundai Heavy, Anangel, as the shipowner, and LNG supplier Woodside. The goal of the project is to develop a LNG-fuelled 250,000 dwt VLOC optimized for operating on the Australia to Asia iron ore trade route, where the use of such ships is common.
The LNG-fueled design comes amid the International Maritime Organization’s new low sulphur fuel regulations that will enter into force starting in 2020. Through their work, the partners are hoping to lower the costs associated using LNG as a marine fuel and help support its wider adoption particularly among the bulk carrier segment.
Currently, the largest (and only) LNG-powered bulk carrier is 50,000 deadweight tonnes. The vessel, delivered in February by Hyundia Mipo Dockyard, a unit of HHI, is also classed by Lloyd’s Register.
“Recently all Joint Development Project members reviewed an in-depth economic evaluation of the LNG-fuelled system against a wide range of ultra-low sulphur marine fuel oil prices to assess the competitiveness of LNG-fuelled bulk carriers and exchange ideas on what could be done to help advance the use of LNG as a fuel. The preliminary results show promise for LNG as a fuel opportunities,” the partners said in a statement.
The companies are now discussing the potential to move onto the next phase of the project, which could include bringing on more partners in order to “increase the feasibility and attractiveness of LNG as a fuel through new technologies, reduced capital cost and increased operating efficiency,” they said.
Lloyd’s Register and Hyundai Heavy Industries are also working on a class of LNG-fuelled 180,000 dwt bulk carriers.