Finnish Shipowner to Test Autonomous Cargo Handling Technology Aboard LNG-Powered Bulk Carriers

Deltamarine’s B.Delta26LNG design for ESL Shipping.

Finnish shipowner ESL Shipping is set to begin testing autonomous cargo discharging technology on board two new LNG-powered handysize bulkers that are due for delivery next year.

ESL has been jointly developed the technology with cargo handling specialist MacGregor, who will provide the vessels’ three electro-hydraulic cranes. The companies say the autonomous discharging will offer safety and efficiency compared to traditional methods.

“Autonomous crane operation improves efficiency and safety,” says Leif Byström, Senior Vice President, Cargo Handling at MacGregor. “Discharging operations can be monitored and controlled from the bridge and therefore eliminate the need for personnel in hazardous operational areas.”

ESL ordered the two handysize bulk carriers in November 2015 from Sinotrans & CSC Qingshan Shipyard in China. The 25,600mt vessels will be the world’s first large LNG-powered bulk carriers when they begin operations in the Baltic Sea region during the first half of 2018.

“Our new environmental friendly LNG fuelled ships will be operated in very demanding trade with a high number of voyages, port calls and crane operation hours annually. Autonomous operation will further increase our competitiveness and offer our clients unforeseen efficiency and safety,” says Mikki Koskinen, Managing Director at ESL Shipping.

Designed by Finland’s Deltamarin, the bulkers will be capable of operating in ice-class 1A conditions and will be equipped with a dual-fuel MAN B&W ME-GI main engine.

B.Delta26LNG Technical data:

DWT 25 600 mt
GT / NT 18 912 / 7631
Length 160 m
Beam 26 m
Draft 10 m
Main engine Dual Fuel MAN B&W 5G45ME-C9.5-GI
Shaft line power 7 250 kW
Cranes 3 x electro-hydraulic cranes SWL 37,5 mton