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New concept of container ship renovation: stretch and switch to LNG

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Nick Blenkey

Container ship retrofit concept includes jumboization and switch to LNG refueling

Converting existing container ships to LNG can be expensive. Could the addition of a new section of income-generating ships alleviate the financial difficulties? Bureau Veritas (BV) has given its Approval in Principle (AiP) to a new container ship retrofit concept that combines LNG conversion and vessel jumboization.

Awarded at a ceremony at Bureau Veritas (BV) headquarters in Paris, the AiP was granted to members of the GTT Joint Development Program (JDP), consulting firm Alwena Shipping and Chinese shipyard CHI Zhoushan.

GTT carried out the design of the LNG Mark III membrane tank while its integration into the ship was designed and validated by Alwena Shipping. CHI Zhoushan Shipyard validated the operational aspects of the project, including work sequence, planning and human resources.

The increase in the length of the vessel (or jumboization), combined with the conversion of the propulsion and electricity production systems to LNG, allow a reduction in the operating costs of the vessel, which offsets the financial impact of the shutdown of service required for retrofit.

Compared to a conventional fuel container ship, the converted vessel would reduce CO2 emissions by around 23% over an 83-day Europe-Asia round trip (including stopovers).

The work carried out under the Joint Development Program (JDP) between GTT, Alwena Shipping and CHI Zhoushan supports the technical, operational and commercial design of the container ship retrofit, while proposing a competitive industrial plan.

BV confirmed the modernization concept, as well as the arrangement of the LNG fuel containment system and the gas fuel supply system supported by an auxiliary safety system in accordance with the IGF code and BV rule NR 529. After having reviewed the modifications made to the vessel and the description of the associated operations, Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore gave its AiP on the concept on January 11, 2022.

“Retrofitting is one of the options for shipowners and operators to consider,” said Laurent Leblanc, Senior Vice President Technical and Operations at Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore. “It can be a profitable option. I am proud that BV can support this project, which is fully in line with our ambition to enable industry to approach the energy transition in a safe and efficient way.