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Construction of LNG-fuelled sea cleaning vessel for Ulsan under way: source

Project forms part of government strategy to develop LNG bunkering in South Korea.

Updated on 04 Aug 2017 09:13 GMT

Construction of an LNG-powered sea cleaning vessel to be deployed in South Korea is currently under way, IHS Fairplay reports.

The 150-gross-tonne (grt) vessel is expected to be introduced at the port of Ulsan towards the end of next year. It forms part of a long-term strategy by the South Korean government to encourage the development of LNG bunkering in the East Asian country.

It is the second such LNG-fuelled vessel to be introduced by the government, after the 36-metre-long Econuri, which currently operates in the north-west port of Incheon.

There are said to also be plans to construct one or two additional LNG-propelled sea cleaning vessels over the next five years.

Eom Ki-doo, head of shipping and logistics at the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF), was quoted as saying: "Every country worldwide has been continuously investing in LNG bunkering infrastructure and LNG-propelled vessels. Going forward, the public sector will pre-emptively launch LNG-fuelled vessels and actively nurture related industries."

Last year, Bunker Index reported that Ulsan's port authority inked a three-year cooperation agreement with private firms and public institutions to explore the development of an LNG bunkering infrastructure, the supply of LNG to ships and the procurement of LNG bunkering equipment.

Commenting on the agreement at the time, Ulsan port authority said it expected the deal to "enable LNG bunkering to become a new growth engine for Ulsan port, and contribute to the port's success in becoming the oil hub of Northeast Asia".

The development came a year after South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) said it intended to build LNG bunkering terminals at some of its key ports, and to win 70 percent of worldwide orders for dual-fuel tankers over the next decade.

South Korea is the world's leading shipbuilding nation; the top three vessel constructors - Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) - are all South Korean firms.

The Asian country is also the world's second-largest LNG importer after Japan. In 2015, Japan imported 85.6 million metric tonnes, with a 34 percent global market share, and South Korea received 33.4 million metric tonnes, or 13.2 percent of worldwide volumes, according to International Gas Union data.

Related Links:

Ulsan inks LNG bunkering agreement
S. Korea plans to build LNG bunkering terminals... and most of the world's dual-fuel tankers
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LNG bunker agreement signed in South Korea
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