South Korea confirms push to revitalize LNG bunkering

South Korea confirms push to revitalize LNG bunkeringLNG carrier at the Tongyeong LNG terminal (Image courtesy of Kogas)

In its plans to revitalize LNG-fueled shipbuilding industry the South Korean government decided to support the first order for vessels powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and the development of LNG bunkering infrastructure. 

According to a statement by the South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, the government will back the order of two 200,000-ton bulk carriers scheduled to operate on South Korean and Australian routes.

The government is looking to not only improve the air quality in its port cities but to also keep in line with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) decision to limit the sulphur content of marine fuels to 0.5 percent.

According to its statement, the ministry intends to commence a pilot project, replacing vessels using Bunker C fuel or diesel with LNG-fueled vessels. It plans to subsidize about 10 percent of the costs of replacing aging vessels with LNG-fueled vessels.

It is also looking to build the LNG bunkering infrastructure in ports such as Busan and Ulsan that is currently lacking, and will also provide port fee reductions for LNG fueled freighters.

The ministry has also set out to revise relevant laws and regulations in order to support the creation of an LNG bunkering market, establish a mid- and long-term roadmap to build LNG bunkering infrastructure depending on the demand and harbor conditions.

It also intends to push start the revitalization of the initial LNG bunkering market through the investment in the construction shipping facilities at the Tongyeong LNG terminal.

In terms of technology, the ministry plans to develop a base for LNG bunkering technology suitable for coastal vessels and domestic small-sized coastal freighters, as well as to support the localized development of LNG bunkering equipment.

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