Thursday saw the delivery of two revolutionary new LNG carriers that could help improve profitability at South Korea’s major three shipyards.
Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) yesterday handed over two 174,000 cu m LNG ships to local owner SK Shipping. Rather than featuring the Moss or GTT membrane containment systems, which have dominated LNG ship designs for the past 30 years, the ships feature a new gas containment system developed by Korea Gas Corp, SHI, Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.
The KC-1 LNG tanks have been more than a decade in the making and Korea’s yards now hope other owners will opt to use the system. Korea Line has ordered a pair of much smaller LNG carriers featuring these new tanks for delivery next year. Every time an owner orders an LNG carrier featuring a membrane system from France’s GTT, the yard is forced to pay the French company more than $10m in royalties.
The system uses 1.5 mm corrugated stainless steel membrane as the primary and secondary barriers, and polyurethane foam with a density of 115 kg per cu m as the insulating material, an arrangement normally used in shore-based storage.