First Domestically Made LNG Bunker Vessel Christened in South Korea
The first domestically-built liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier in South Korea, named the “BLUE WHALE” was christened recently. Constructed at the Ulsan Shipyard, the vessel cost approximately $41.7 million.
Hyundai LNG Shipping, the winner of the bidding process, will operate the ship. However, before being utilized for bunkering operations, the vessel must undergo rigorous tests and demonstrations.
The Korean Government has provided a subsidy of $11.7 million to support the development and construction of this bunker vessel. With a capacity to supply approximately 7,500 cubic meters of LNG, equivalent to around 250 trucks, the ship aims to alleviate time and space constraints associated with LNG bunkering, thereby enhancing efficiency.
According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MOTIE), this vessel is the first to incorporate the advanced KC-2 cargo design. This design underwent several years of development and was upgraded to meet the vessel’s requirements.
The completion of this ship represents the culmination of South Korea’s 20-year endeavor to develop a domestic LNG containment system. The initial iteration, known as the KC-1, took ten years to develop and was implemented on four ships. However, due to structural defects causing gas leakages, the installation of additional gas tankers was halted. In 2017, the Korean Government launched a second project to upgrade the system, resulting in the advanced KC-2 design.