A next-generation, LNG-powered coal carrier has won approval in principle (AIP) from classification society Lloyd’s Register.
MOL, along with Tokhu Electric Power and Namura Shipbuilding, have completed the basic design and recently conducted a hazard identification study (HAZID).
This is Japan's first joint acquisition by three companies – a shipping company, cargo owner, and shipbuilder – of an approval for a vessel powered by LNG.
The vessel design puts the LNG fuel tank at the ship’s stern, ensuring sufficient cargo capacity without making the hull larger, according to MOL. The design also includes a tank cover aimed at preventing an onboard fire from spreading to the LNG fuel tank and streamlining inspection work.
The vessel is not the first LNG-powered bulk carrier. As LNG World Shipping detailed, ESL Shipping will soon take delivery of Viikki and Haaga, a pair of 26,000 DWT LNG-powered bulkers, and in Korea, Hyundai Mipo is poised to complete a 50,000 DWT LNG-fuelled bulk carrier for Ilshin Shipping.
In a statement, MOL cited forthcoming emissions regulations as a driver for its move towards LNG-fuelled vessels. In May, MOL ordered its first LNG-fuelled tug from Kanagawa Dockyard Co with high-performance and dual-fuel engines supplied by Yanmar Co.
MOL said the new tugboat will be deployed in Osaka Bay and the Seto inland sea to deploy large-scale freighters in April 2019.
The Japanese group expects the deployment of this tug will spur the development of an LNG fuel supply system for vessels in Osaka Bay.