Korean shipbuilding company Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction has been contracted to build a new LNG bunkering vessel for NYK.
The construction of the 6,000t vessel is part of a framework agreement signed by NYK with GDF SUEZ and Mitsubishi Corporation in May, to develop a global market for the LNG bunkering business in the European maritime region.
Claimed to be the first such ship, the new carrier will form the core infrastructure for this business and will be used to provide gas to LNG-fuelled vessels, operating mainly in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.
Upon delivery in 2016, the 100m-long, dual-fuel engine LNG vessel will be based at the port of Zeebrugge, Belgium. It will have a cargo tank capacity of 5,100m³.
The three companies are also planning to form a joint venture entity to own the bunkering vessel and an LNG-fuel sales company for chartering the carrier, to build sales framework in Europe.
In line with NYK’s ‘More Than Shipping 2018’ medium-term management plan, the company announced in March that the LNG supply and sales business will initially be targeted at LNG-fuelled car carriers operated by United European Car Carriers.
Around 50 LNG-fuelled vessels, including ferries, cruise ships and offshore-related vessels, are currently operating in Northern Europe, whereas the current bunker market accounts for approximately 250 million tonnes of heavy fuel oil a year.
Image: An artistic rendering of the new LNG bunkering vessel for NYK. Photo: courtesy of NYK Line.