Dalian Shipbuilding Industry China (DSIC), Dalian Ocean Shipping Co. and Lloyd's Register, having completed a joint industry project to develop a minimum ballast VLCC, are now working on detailed designs for reduced ballast Suezmax and Aframax tankers.
The 'Clear Advantage' reduced ballast designs are said to be provide 'substantial performance improvements' over conventional tanker designs. Ballast water capacity is reduced by up to 40%, lessening the time and energy spent on water treatment. Furthermore it reduces the harmful effects of mud or silt.
Mud and silt are significant operational realities in China where oil import terminals are located on major rivers. Intake of river water ballast during cargo discharge can result in substantial volumes of mud or silt accumulating after operations leading to as much as 1,000 tonnes becoming 'stuck' in a VLCC's ballast water tanks.
The combined impact of the loss of cargo capacity, the economic drain of transporting the mud during laden passages and the eventual cost of removing the muddy slurry as well as the strain on ballast water treatment systems have all been reduced in the new 'Clear Advantage' designs.
LR states that with Chinese oil imports growing, such improvements will have a welcome impact on environmental, operational and financial performance for tanker operators in Chinese ports and worldwide.
"This is another example of an initiative that moves the industry beyond concepts towards the reality of a design that can be built," commented Nick Brown, Lloyd's Register's Marine Chief Operating Officer. He added: "DSIC is a major builder of large tankers and Dalian Ocean Shipping Co. is one of the top tanker owners and operators in China, so it seems likely that, subject to market conditions, orders will soon be placed for these practical new designs."
DSIC president Yu Fengping commented: "By working with shipowners and with Lloyd's Register over the years, DSIC has taken the lead in completing the development of series of oil tankers with less ballast water. Ballast water was reduced by 40% and ship performance is improved through optimised hull lines. CFD analysis and model tests have played a key role combined with adoption of effective energy saving devices, innovative tank division and structural design as well as better piping layout. These new designs are not only suitable for some of China's silt-laden water ports but can significantly reduce energy consumption while in ballast condition, realising energy yet further savings and emission reductions to bring competitive advantages to owners."