GTT and partners win BV OK for new LNG containership retrofit concept

French LNG containment giant GTT and its partners have received basic design approval from classification society BV for a new concept, combining LNG retrofit and jumboization, applied to large container vessels.

The other partners include Alwena Shipping, a naval consultancy and engineering firm, and COSCO Shipping Heavy Industry (Zhoushan) shipyard.

According to a GTT statement, the partners received the approval in principle during a ceremony at BV’s headquarters in Paris La Défense on Tuesday.

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

Also, the length increase of the ship (or jumboization), combined with the LNG conversion of the propulsion and electrical generation systems enables a reduction in the operating costs of the ship, which limits the financial impact of the immobilization period required for the retrofit operation, the statement said.

Slashing emissions

LNG propulsion offers shipowners a solution to comply with the environmental regulations being adopted by the IMO by 2045.

In comparison with a conventional fuel-powered containership, the converted vessel reduces CO2 emissions by around 23 percent over an 83-day Europe-Asia return trip with port calls included, according to GTT.

The work carried out within the joint development program (JDP) between GTT, Alwena Shipping and CHI Zhoushan supports the technical, operational and commercial design of the conversion and jumboization operation, while also proposing a “competitive” industrial plan.

Moreover, the result of this joint work “shows the way to contribute to decarbonize part of the containership fleet currently in operation.”

BV confirmed the conception of the retrofit, as well as the layout of the LNG fuel containment system and gas fuel supply system supported by an auxiliary safety system in accordance with IGF Code and BV Rule NR 529.

After reviewing the modifications to the vessel and the description of the associated operations, BV Marine & Offshore gave its AiP on the concept on January 11, 2022, the statement said.

“This retrofit and jumboization project applied to very large container vessels is part of the GTT strategy to contribute to the maritime industry decarbonization by leveraging its technical know-how,” GTT’s chief Philippe Berterottière said.

“After the successful LNG exoskeleton retrofit of the Brussel Express, GTT proposes here a model enabling to finance the conversion operation by a vessel cargo capacity increase,” Berterottière said.

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