South Korea: Construction of first bunkering ship for LNG-fuelled coastal vessels begins

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The construction of South Korea’s first 500 cubic meter capacity liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering vessel has begun on Thursday (7 May), said the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries in a recent statement.

With the implementation of the IMO 2020 0.5% sulfur cap in January this year, the number of ships using LNG as a bunker fuel is increasing worldwide, it notes.

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries has been responding accordingly by promoting the introduction of LNG propulsion vessels through its ‘LNG bunkering core technology development and system construction project’ since 2018.

As part of this endeavor, the ‘Coastal Vessel Custom LNG Bunkering System Development Project’ is a project to develop and establish offshore LNG bunkering facilities in line with the growing demand for LNG bunkering along the Korean coastline.

A steel cutting ceremony was held earlier this week to commemorate the start of the ship’s construction, adds the ministry.

The vessel to be constructed will be developed purely based on technology developed domestically, involving Korean stakeholders in the industry: the Vessel Offshore Plant Research Institute, POSCO, EK Heavy Industries, Transgas Solution, Mytek, Valmax Technology, and Seoul Line.

Construction is expected to be completed by 2021, and the vessel is planned for LNG bunkering purposes from 2023 after completing a year of sea trials.

The bunkering ship can supply more than five coastal vessels on a single charge, it notes.

“I hope that this project will successfully build the first LNG bunkering vessel in Korea to develop an infrastructure that can reliably supply LNG to domestic coastal vessels, and I hope that related industries will be revitalized,” said Lee An-ho, head of the Marine Policy Division at the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.