Lloyd’s Register (LR), Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) have signed a joint development project (JDP) to produce a ship-to-ship LNG bunkering compatibility study. This will comprehensively review the design requirements between 6.6K LNG bunkering ships and 14K TEU LNG-fuelled container ships with the goal of verifying safe ship-to-ship LNG bunkering.

stakeholders with interest in LNG congregate around a table.


The study aims to help all stakeholders with interest in LNG as fuel to envisage a clear picture of possible options for LNG supply infrastructure. It follows LR’s previous work with LNG-fuelled ship projects with HHI and LNG bunkering ships with HMD. 

There is no existing standards or guidelines that cover the design and procedure for safe ship-to-ship LNG bunkering. However, this method of bunkering is preferable for many port authorities for safe and effective port operation and also preferable for ship operators due to cost-effective convenience. 

The main objective of the JDP is to investigate the practicability of the LNG supply model by ship-to-ship between the typical size of 6.6K LNG bunkering ships and ultra-large container ships (ULCS). These designs have been reviewed and developed based on the LNG-fuelled system, and accordingly, the study will evaluate the right direction for LNG supply infrastructure.

LR has already developed a checklist for the design of LNG bunkering vessels and LNG receiving vessels for this JDP that summarises the risks related to ship-to-ship LNG bunkering, and also suggests design aspects which are not covered by legislation but are useful in understanding the characteristics of LNG-fuelled/LNG bunkering ships at the design stage. 

This checklist provides both HHI and HMD with a chance to comprehensively review their design by, not only mandatory rules requirements, but also the prospective guidelines in order to identify the scope for further improvements in their design in line with their ships’ operating profiles. 

Jin-Tae Lee, Ph.D, LR’s Korea Chief Representative & Marine Manager, who is a pro-active leader and supporter of technical innovation for joint success of the shipping and shipbuilding industries said: “Following recent developments in major ports towards a cleaner shipping industry, stakeholders will show interest in the advantages of LNG as fuel. However, the uncertainty associated with LNG supply infrastructure is still an influential factor in determining the profitability of a LNG-fuelled vessel. Stakeholders need to have a clear understanding of the benefits and challenges. Our Busan Technical Support Office, led by Vincent Rees, is fully prepared to assist our clients in LNG related projects from the concept design phase to the verification phase, which will be tailored to meet the individual clients’ needs.”

Chang-hyun Yoon, EVP of HMD Initial Planning Division added: “After having developed LNG bunkering ships with LR, we are expecting to comprehensively review our design in order to identify the key points for further improvements suited for the clients’ interests and demands through this JDP, thus trying to mitigate or minimise any potential issues which the operators can encounter during real operational situations.”

Byeong-Rok Lee, Senior Vice President, Head of Initial Design Office, HHI, commented: “As we take a profound interest in developing the design for LNG-fuelled ships with workability and functionality which is best suited for actual operational situation, we expect that these studies will help mature the design for LNG-fuelled ULCS.” 

LR, HHI and HMD plan to expand the study for other ship types, including VLCC and Suezmax, following the completion of ULCS study.