Monday, July 21, 2014

From Container Ships to Ferries LNG Is Growing as Power for Freight and Passenger Vessels

Lloyd's Register Called Upon to Classify All Manner of Shipping Using New Greener Fuel
Shipping News Feature

UK – CANADA – WORLDWIDE – Lloyd’s Register (LR) might be the oldest known operation of its type but one doesn’t continue to be successful in any field for as long as Lloyd’s, which can trace it’s history back over 250 years, unless one is prepared to move with the times and evolve as the face of business changes. Lately many ship builders are switching to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for propulsion and power, usually in a dual fuel configuration as merchant vessels, from container ships to bulk freight carriers dip their toes in the waters of the new and cleaner technology.

Lloyd’s is now working on a wide variety of LNG projects worldwide including a bulk carrier for Swedish principals; car carrier project for Norwegian operators; an ice breaker in Finland; and joint development and investment projects with major shipowners and Asian shipyards, as well as infrastructure related consultancy projects with ports in Asia and Europe. Last month Lloyd’s Register announced a joint development project with Piraeus, Greece based Capital Shipmanagement and Daewoo Shipbuilding (DSME) for an 18,000 TEU LNG-fuelled container ship design, and earlier this month it was announced that LR will class Texelstroom, the new innovative large hybrid propulsion ferry that will operate in the Netherlands.

Ferries it seem are one of the first classes of vessels to wholeheartedly embrace the new LNG systems with Lloyd’s Register collaborating in ferry projects in the Netherlands, Quebec and British Columbia in Canada whilst last week it was announced that LR is supporting Portsmouth as the UK port prepares to receive Brittany Ferries’ new large LNG-fuelled ferries.

The latest project for Lloyd’s will see three new dual fuel (LNG/diesel) new intermediate class vessels constructed to ‘LR Class’ meaning that the ferries will be required to be built to LR’s Rules, LR’s surveyors will be surveying the ship during construction to check for compliance and, once the ferries have been found to meet LR class requirements and placed in service, LR will survey the ships at regular intervals through their operational lives.

The ferries are for BC Ferries and the first such powered craft on the Canadian company’s fleet replacing the 49-year old Queen of Burnaby, which sails between Comox and Powell River and the 50-year old Queen of Nanaimo, which services the Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands route. The third vessel will augment peak and shoulder season service on the Southern Gulf Islands route, plus provide refit relief around the BC fleet. These new 105 metre vessels will accommodate 145 vehicles and 600 passengers.

Following a competitive bidding process the ships will be built by Remontowa Shipbuilding S.A. of Gdansk, Poland in contracts totalling $165 million. The first new intermediate class vessel is scheduled to arrive in British Columbia in August 2016, the second in October 2016 and the third in February 2017. Remontowa is responsible for delivering the vessels to Victoria. The first vessel is expected to be in service in the fall of 2016, following extensive crew training and familiarisation. Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Engineering, said:

"BC Ferries is very pleased to have LR as the classification society on these new ‘Intermediate Class’ ferries. LR has had a strong relationship with BC Ferries over the years and has the necessary experience and presence in Canada as we make this important transition to LNG-fuelled ferries. This is an exciting initiative for BC Ferries that can reduce upward pressure on fares due to lower fuel costs for LNG, and reduce the environmental emissions substantially as LNG is a cleaner and greener fuel compared to current alternatives.”

In addition to its other duties Lloyd’s Register’s LNG fuel expertise has been drawn on by BC Ferries to support overall risk management of the project to help ensure the safety of bunkering and all LNG operations and Bud Streeter, President, LR Canada, commented:

"This project is the culmination of a great deal of hard work. The outlook is good for LNG in Canada, there is availability of Canadian gas at highly competitive prices, so commercially this is looking like a smart decision for BC Ferries. Our job was, and will be, to help ensure safety and reliability in the design, build and the bunkering and operation of these ships. Passengers are the most valuable cargo so we will endeavour to contribute to the safe operation of these ships. LNG can provide significant environmental benefits and, as BC Ferries is well aware, safety comes first. We are pleased to provide BC Ferries with our assistance and expertise."

Photo: The Queen of Nanaimo will be replaced when the new ships arrive.