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Schulte role in building new gas supply ship

New technology: the gas supply vessel developed by Bernard Schulte Shipmanagement and Babcock International, which is expected to be delivered in September 2018. The vessel will be able to deliver liquefied natural gas to onshore customers and refuel ships using LNG

A ship management company with offices in Bermuda is involved in the building of a potentially ground-breaking gas supply vessel.

The ship will be used to deliver liquefied natural gas for refuelling of ships, such as ferries, containers and cruise ships, and also shore-based gas consumers.

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, which has a representative office on Par-la-Ville Road, Hamilton, is collaborating with British engineering support company Babcock International Group to build the vessel.

It is expected the 7,500m³ ship, to be built in South Korea, will be delivered in September 2018.

The gas supply vessel will service customers in the Baltic Sea.

Increasing international regulations to curb the environmental impact of shipping are part of the rationale behind the move to build a gas supply vessel.

A multiyear average, based on data from 2007 to 2012, indicates that shipping produced 1,015 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, equating to 2.6 per cent of global emissions.

Emission control areas are now in place in the Baltic and North Sea, and the east and west coasts of Canada and the US, while the European Commission now requires ship owners and operators to monitor, report and verify CO2 emissions on vessels beyond a certain size. That regulation is in force and becomes fully effective in January 2018.

It is against this backdrop that Bernard Schulte Shipmanagement, which manages a fleet of 600 vessels, has identified an opportunity to make an early move into LNG bunkering operations, and do so with new technology developed by Babcock.

“It is important to understand that the liquid natural gas fuel supply ships we are building are not only suitable to supply the new generation of LNG-propelled cargo and cruise vessels, but also utilities, especially in more remote locations such as islands (Bermuda comes to mind) and other smaller or marginal LNG markets,” said Jens Alers, group director of Bernard Schulte Shipmanagement (Bermuda).

“These LNG supply vessels are built to a design which is entirely scalable — down to ships as small as 4,000m³ and up to 20-25,000m³.”

Bernard Schulte Shipmanagement and Babcock have developed the patent-pending FGSV0 technology to deliver LNG from the gas supply vessel into a receiving vessel with zero emissions to the environment during normal operations, greatly minimising environmental impact, according to a joint company statement.

The new vessel is also designed to meet the International Maritime Organisation’s global cap of 0.5 per cent on shipping-related sulphur emissions, which will be enforced from January 2020.

In a statement, both companies noted that LNG refuelling hubs are in the process of being planned globally “with gas supply vessels expected to be more widely used as new LNG fuelling infrastructure is developed, enabling greater market growth potential and opportunities”.

Ian Lindsay, Babcock managing director for energy and marine technology, said: “Working with well-established partners such as the Schulte Group is an exciting prospect for our team.

“As innovators in liquefied natural gas technology, working on this ‘first of its kind’ programme is a great opportunity to further expand our reach into the international LNG arena.”

Angus Campbell, director for energy projects at Bernard Schulte Shipmanagement said: “This new sector will enable Babcock and the Schulte Group to innovate and deliver safe, efficient and environmentally responsible fuel delivery to meet demand in this growing sector of our industry.”