America's First LNG Dual-fuel PSV on the Horizon
“It is a matter of when, not if, LNG will be a commonly-selected fuel source and we need a sound basis for ship designs." So said Christopher J. Wiernicki, President of ABS a few months ago as he announced his classification society’s issue of a technical guide to the installation of LNG propulsion and auxiliaries in ships. Cut to the chase, and just last week Harvey Gulf Corp. said that the next phase of their ‘Green’ constructions will include two dual-fuel Platform Supply Vessels (PSV’s) which will have the distinction of becoming the first ever U.S. Flagged PSVs to be powered by LNG. Gulf International Marine’s Chairman & CEO Shane J. Guidry said that a contract will be awarded to a U.S. shipyard on or before August 28, 2011.
PSV SV310DF Design: Courtesy of STXM
U.S. Ship Registry Slow to Embrace LNG Marine Diesel Engine Technology
Duel-fuel diesel engines (able to burn natural gas ignited by liquid ‘pilot’ fuel while also capable of running entirely on diesel oil) are becoming commonplace in European waters, where, amongst other engine builders, Wärtsilä claim installation in about sixty ferries and OSV’s; but the take-up in North American waters lags way behind.
Indeed the final go-ahead for construction of the Harvey Gulf LNG-fuelled vessels requires they conform to standards expected to be set out soon by the U.S. Coastguard. To this end U.S./Canadian STX Marine Inc., consultant naval architects, have been tasked with the design of the ships and no doubt to liase with the Coastguard.
Harvey Gulf’s ‘Green’ SV310DF Design
Type designation ‘SV310DF’ translates as – Support Vessel 310 ft in length with Dual Fuel propulsion engines; the 5,520 dwt vessels are intended in principle to have LNG capacity for seven days operation by three main engines at full RPM, providing a transit speed of 13 kts. Further information about the type SV310DF design propulsion system is anticipated.
Other ‘Green’ design Harvey Gulf vessels presently on the builder’s stocks and classed by ABS will carry the ‘ENVIRO PLUS’ notation (which invokes compliance with more stringent criteria for environmental protection related to design characteristics, management and support systems, sea and air discharges) as well as the more familiar ABS notation ‘GP’ – Green Passport. All these impressive safety and environmentally protective measures are said to be similarly incorporated into the design of the two SV310DF LNG dual-fuel PSV's.