60 years of ensuring safety for LNG carriers

Feb. 28 2022 - 5 min

In 2022, Bureau Veritas is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its assessment of one of the maritime industry’s first LNG carriers. Since that time, it has classed numerous LNG carriers, and among them many pioneering projects. Today, LNG carriers have become a mainstay on the world’s seas and they are being designed to travel farther, accommodate more cargo and run more efficiently.

Owners and builders of LNG carriers are taking measures to ensure that tomorrow’s carriers continue to be built to the highest safety standards while optimizing performance. Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore is supporting its LNG carrier clients through this crucial decarbonization pathway. With its vast LNG carrier experience, Bureau Veritas M&O works with owners to optimize vessels’ design configuration and operations.

Building breakthrough propulsion technologies

All engines and propulsion systems must be approved following the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC) and classification rules. These rules ensure vessels’ proper design, manufacture and installation to prevent any safety issues during operation. Two-stroke dual-fuel engines are a must-have aboard today’s LNG carriers. These engines feature reliable and known technology that offers the highest level of fuel efficiency, while upholding the traditionally high safety standards found on LNG carriers.

Bureau Veritas M&O classed the very first LNG carrier with a dual-fuel diesel electric propulsion system. Ever since, it has continued to ensure that engines and propulsion systems are in compliance with International Maritime Organization (IMO) IGC Code and classification rules.

Recently, Bureau Veritas M&O approved the MAN ME-GA engine, a new low-pressure 2-stroke dual-fuel, electronically controlled engine from German manufacturer MAN B&W. The engine saw its first order placed in 2021 for four LNG carriers that are presently under construction in South Korea under BV class.

Classifying cutting-edge membrane systems

Alongside engine innovations, cargo containment systems (CCS) are also seeing major upgrades that help ensure the safe storage of LNG on carriers. Global engineering company GTT has developed membrane technologies for transporting and loading LNG in bulk on board LNG carriers. The membrane system consists of two barriers (also called membranes) and insulation material able to withstand a cryogenic temperature as low as -165°C. The technology maintains an impermeable layer between the LNG and the hull of the vessel, and limits cargo loss through evaporation.

For standard LNG carriers of 174,000 m3, GTT membrane systems are the only cargo containment systems (CCS) currently proposed. Always at the forefront in terms of new systems approvals, Bureau Veritas approved GTT’s NO96 Super+ system in July 2021.

The NO96 Super+ system features insulating polyurethane foam instead of perlite or glass-wool, which reduces heat ingress inside the tank. This innovation offers a boil-off rate of 0.085%V/d for current standard-size LNG carriers. It will be installed for the first time ever aboard a series of four BV-classed LNG carriers that were recently ordered in South Korea.

Focusing on the future   

Today’s LNG carriers are also incorporating an increasing amount of smart technology into their onboard systems. With automation on the uprise, cyber security is now a major concern for owners and operators. Bureau Veritas M&O conducts onboard assessments of smart technologies to help prevent operational issues that could lead to serious cyber attacks.

With its global network of experts, Bureau Veritas M&O is helping foster LNG carriers’ continued safe development, from design to construction to sailing the open seas.