One of the key hurdles to the increased global use of ships fuelled by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is the lack of harmonisation of bunkering operations. “DNV GL is therefore today launching a Recommended Practice for authorities, LNG bunker suppliers and ship operators which provides guidance on how LNG bunkering can be undertaken in a safe and efficient manner,” says Lars Petter Blikom, DNV GL’s LNG director.
LNG-fuelled ships have logged over 130 ship-years of operation in Norwegian waters and LNG’s attractiveness and stability as a fuel have been thoroughly demonstrated. Globally too, operators, suppliers and regulators have gained significant experience in all aspects of LNG-fuelled ship operations in recent years. However, the process for developing the required infrastructure has not been standardised – leaving the industry with many open questions.
Currently, 83 LNG-fuelled ships are in operation or on order worldwide. These range from passenger ferries, Coast Guard ships and cargo vessels to tankers and platform supply vessels. Estimates put the global LNG-fuelled fleet at 3,200 by the year 2025. With the EU poised to invest in helping to equip 139 seaports and inland ports with LNG bunker stations by 2025, the time was ripe for standardising development processes, designs and operations.
“An ISO committee brought together the experience and know-how of more than 30 industry professionals in 2011 and its draft guideline was published in June 2013. The ISO guideline defines the overall philosophies of designs and operations relevant to LNG bunkering and suggests a list of 24 functional requirements. However, it is not intended to be concrete and descriptive about how to achieve the requirements’ objectives,” states Mr Blikom.