September 26, 2023

Revolutionary Three-Tank LNG Carrier Design Receives Approval, Ushering in New Era of LNG Transportation

GTT and Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) have marked a significant milestone in the future of liquefied natural gas (LNG) transportation, with their novel three-tank design for LNG Carriers (LNGCs) securing Approval in Principle (AiP) from Lloyd’s Register. The design, featuring GTT’s proprietary Mark III Flex membrane containment system, is the culmination of a Joint Development Project (JDP) initiated in 2022.

The JDP’s study outlined numerous benefits of the three-tank LNGC design for ship owners and operators. This innovative concept enhances LNG cargo capacity and bolsters maintenance efficiency by eliminating one cofferdam, one pump tower, and all corresponding cryogenic equipment (liquid and gas domes, valves, piping, radars, and so on).

In addition, the optimized ratio between the volume of transported LNG and the surface area of the cryogenic liner enables a lower boil-off rate, dropping to as low as 0.080% of tank volume per day with the Mark III Flex technology. This compares to 0.085% of the volume per day with the currently operational LNGCs of a similar capacity (174,000 m3).

Furthermore, the three-tank LNGC design maintains a loading time nearly equivalent to a standard four-tank LNGC configuration, thanks to an adapted pump tower. The benefits also extend to weight reduction of the ship due to the removal of a cofferdam, pump tower, and their associated equipment.

Philippe Berterottière, Chairman and CEO of GTT, celebrated the approval: “This new three-tank LNG carrier design, approved in collaboration with our long-standing partner Samsung Heavy Industries, signifies the dawn of a new generation of LNG carriers. We are confident that this development will enhance the performance of LNG carriers while reducing their carbon footprint, benefiting all players in the maritime sector.”

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Youngkyu Ahn, Vice President of the Shipbuilding Engineering Division of Samsung Heavy Industries, acknowledged the innovative aspect of this new design, remarking its potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase cargo capacity, minimize operating costs, and optimize maintenance efficiency, all indicative of a new era for LNG carriers.

Young-Doo Kim, North-East Asia TSO Manager at Lloyd’s Register, highlighted the importance of such collaborations for enhancing efficiency and safety, saying, “This AiP marks an important step forward for LNG owners, who will now have the opportunity to reduce the length of their vessels and maximize cargo-carrying potential with this optimized design.”