First ships delivered featuring new Korean LNG containment system

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.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Not sure how the KC1 is revolutionary exactly, it’s a viable alternative for sure but doesn’t change much on its own for anyone else than the Korean yards. The cost for GTT licensing will fall on the customer instead.

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