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Gaztransport & Technigaz (GTT) has secured approval in principle (AiP) from Bureau Veritas (BV) for a new ballast-free liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker and feeder vessel (B&FV), called Shear-Water.

Last July, GTT and its partner, Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group (HZ), received a double AiP for the vessel from the Society China Classification Society (CCS) and DNV.

For the maintenance of seaworthy conditions, many merchant vessels across the globe use ballast water when they are empty or partially loaded.

Harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens can be transferred from one area to another when ballast water is treated.

The solution developed by GTT is anticipated to avoid this risk completely.

Removal of a ballast water treatment system will also help reduce energy consumption and CO₂ footprints.

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Bureau Veritas vice-president Mathieu De Tugny said: “BV has given AiP to this new design, which has clear performance and environmental benefits: delimination of the need for ballast water treatment systems and equipment; easier maintenance of the void spaces surrounding the cargo, and reduced propulsion power requirements.”

The design is based on a proven 18,700m³ capacity vessel with two membrane tanks. The Shear-Water also has a new ‘V’-shaped hull, which is different from the standard square-shaped mid-ship sections used in LNG carriers.

For the assessment of the vessel’s power-speed, manoeuvrability and sea keeping, an extensive testing campaign was conducted at the HSVA Hamburg tank test facility.

GTT chairman and CEO Philippe Berterottière said: “We are proud to have developed ‘Shear-Water’, an innovative ballast-free design for LNG B&FVs.

“This new technological solution allows a reduction in investment and operating costs, simpler operations, as well as a reduction in corrosion, supporting a longer service life.”

Last month, GTT and Deltamarin received AiP from the Norwegian classification society DNV for the design of an LNG-driven pure car and truck carrier (PCTC).