Japan-based Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and South Korean Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) have received an Approval In Principle (AIP) for the future design of a series of four LNG-powered 20,000 TEU containerships, which have been under construction.
Issued by the international classification society DNV GL has issued, the AIP covered the boxships which were ordered from SHI in 2015. The ships were designed in anticipation of using LNG as a fuel, ahead of more stringent environmental regulations that will take effect in the coming years.
At the construction stage, MOL and SHI developed a basic plan targeting vessels in service, performance evaluation, compliance with new regulations, and risk assessment (Hazard Identification Study (HAZID)) in a joint study, and completed the basic design in March.
Global regulations on exhaust emissions from merchant vessels, not only by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and other specialized international bodies, but also by countries all over the world are becoming tighter, therefore MOL continued its studies on the use of LNG fuel in light of growing demand for next-generation clean fuels to replace conventional heavy fuel oil.
The new design characteristics will feature an optimal retrofit plan targeting vessels in service, suitable LNG fuel tank layout and design for ultra-large-scale containerships, suitable LNG fuel supply system to ensure maximum engine power output for ultra-large-scale containerships and dual-fuel engine systems that allow the use of either LNG or heavy fuel oil.
LNG bunkering system for the vessels has not been established yet, but is expected in the near future as studies on the use of LNG as a clean, environmentally friendly fuel are underway around the world.
The first vessel of the series, the MOL Triumph, was delivered on March 27, which can be converted to run on LNG fuel when the LNG supply is commercially completed.