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Safety Measures Supporting the YAMAL LNG Project


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MOL supports groundbreaking development to meet the world's continually expanding demand for energy, contributing to the world with our advanced transport services. In May 2016, construction of our first vessel for the Yamal LNG project (and the fifth overall to serve the project)
started at the Okpo shipyard of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd.in Korea. The first vessel built for the project will be delivered in early 2017, and then undergo an ice-breaking performance test in the Kara Sea in Russia, in the presence of all the shipping companies participating in the project. After it is confirmed that the vessel can safely navigate the Arctic Ocean, it will start transport service.

Potential of Arctic Ocean Routes

The new Arctic Ocean route that starts along the Russian coast through the Bering Straits has gained a lot of attention internationally. This project is aimed at transporting LNG to East Asia via the route during the summer seasons.
By taking this northern route, based on the calculation at 15 knots ship speed, cargo can reach East Asia in 15 days, which is significantly less than the 35 days that is usually needed via the Suez Canal. The northern voyage can be accomplished with approximately 30% less fuel as well. In addition, on the Arctic Ocean route, there is no need to worry about pirates because we can transport LNG without going near the coast of Somalia or through the Malacca Straits. By moving ahead with the development of the Arctic Ocean route, we can contribute to a more stable supply of resources.

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Project Details

The Yamal LNG terminal faces the Kara Sea, which completely freezes during the winter. The average temperature is about minus 30oC in winter, and in some situations dips below minus 40oC. Our crewmembers are the most critical link in ensuring safe operation, so it is important to develop an environment where they can fully demonstrate their skills and abilities under a harsh natural environment. Our ship management company in London will play the main role, while cooperating with ship management companies working with other shipping lines involved. We are currently evaluating the operational risks.

Please watch the video introducing the Yamal LNG project.

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Highest Safe and Robust Ship Designs against Heavy Ice and Severely Cold Environments

Yamal Arc-7 project has been thoroughly studied a variety of risk analysis and deep reviews of ice-strengthen design, ice navigation and winterization specification for a long time, with involving many ice specialist parties in Russia and Northern Europe, majorities of Classification societies, Russian authorities, Ice model test basin companies, Building Shipyard, etc. Besides that, Sovcom-flot a well-known most experienced ship-owner in ice operations has deeply reviewed the specifications. Ship is designed at the highest safety and robust redundancy philosophy based on rich experiences.

Double-Acting LNG Carrier Double-Acting LNG Carrier Ice-strengthened Hull Structure Engine Room Design Navigation Bridge Navigation Bridge Winterization in Living Quarters Winterization on Deck Life Saving Equipment
CG provided by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd.

① Double-Acting LNG Carrier

Yamal Arc-7 ship is a Double-Acting LNG Carrier with three sets of diesel-electrically driven Azipod propulsion units. The ship is designed to run ahead in open water and under thin ice, but turn around and proceed astern in heavy ice condition. Hull bow form is designed so called as "Moderate Ice bow", which the optimized smoothly-shaped hull form without bulbous bow is capable to break ice efficiently up to 150cm thickness first year ice. Moderate Ice bow region is specially strengthened in accordance with Arc7 ice-class requirement. While under thicker ice condition, the ship turns around to astern operation. The developed stern hull form brakes thicker ice directly and three sets of stainless-made Azipod propellers sweep away broken ice pieces to the side directions, capable to icebreaking up to 210cm thickness first year ice.

② Ice-strengthened Hull Structure

Arc-7 ice-class merchant ship is indeed the highest ice-class, with only a few ships existing in the world. Speaking with limited to LNG Carrier, Arc-7 ice-class LNG Carrier is a brand-new first application in the world. The underwater hull structure is fully strengthened in overall hull regions and protected by special low friction ice-breaking paint. It is estimated that hull steel total weight is approximately 25% increased than equal-sized non-ice class LNG Carrier. Hull structure at the height of sea surface level is one of the most strengthened special region, so called as "Ice belt", where in this region E-grade high tensile special steel is selected in order to withstand under estimated ice pressure and minus 50degC cold air temperature.

(*)Russian classification society ranks ice-class vessels into 9 ranks from Ice1-3 to Arc 4-9. Because Arc 8 and 9 classified vessels do not exist in the world until today, so Arc 7 is the highest ice-class at present. It is the first application to adopt Arc-7 ice class for LNG carriers.

③ Engine Room Design

1) Double-hull engine room
Standard LNG Carrier designs double-hull structure only applicable to cargo holds space. Yamal Arc-7 LNG Carrier expands double-hull structure in engine room space in addition to cargo hold spaces. The increased safety design is adopted considering of astern ice-breaking operation in heavy ice condition, which to mitigate the worst scenario risk caused by damage of hull structure.
2) Center bulkhead dividing two engine rooms
Engine room space is segregated into two spaces, as port and starboard sections being divided by fire proof center bulkhead. Vital machineries are fitted at both port and starboard sections, in order to aim the ship capable to keep alive ship's machineries without total blackout, even under the worst scenarios of fire or seawater flooding into either of engine room section.
3) Ice Sea chest
Any ships, constantly during navigation, intake cold seawater via pumping from outside, cooling down ship's main engines and other machineries, and then hot seawater discharged overboard. Sea chests with relatively small box are normally fitted at the bottom of engine room, where the inlet of seawater into ship. During ice operation, it is widely known that sea chests inboard piping, especially a suction strainer, often clogs because of small ice chips being accumulated into a strainer, and this is a headache for ice ship operators. Accumulated ice chips must be removed off by crew hands in order to recover seawater intake. During this maintenance work, ship's propulsion engines have to reduce ship speed or stop if cooling seawater is not sufficient or totally lost. In order to prevent such scenario, Yamal Arc-7 ship adopts a special designed huge sea chest boxes, so called as "Ice Sea chest". Ice sea chest is designed to have a large mesh of grids on the inlet hull shell and also a couple of internal buffer plates in the box in order to prevent small ice chips unable to easily flow into ship inboard. Ice sea chest is designed a huge size and indeed top of the box reaches at upper than ship's laden draft height, which design is aimed that some of ice chips finally floating up to top section of ice sea chest however stay trapped in this position. Recirculated hot seawater is splashed in the top region, which have an effect to melt floating ice chips. The exit of ice sea chest tunnel is located at downwards at the ship's bottom, which design enables pumping only seawater without ice chips.

④ Navigation Bridge

Yamal Arc-7 ship has dual wheelhouse stations, one facing forward and the other aft. The two wheelhouse stations each have enough kinds of navigational and radio equipment with a highest redundancy designs. Two wheelhouse stations are connected via a corridor space with easily access to each other, and the whole wheelhouse spaces including bridge wings and corridor in between are totally enclosed, and protected from cold outside air. A variety of special navigational and radio equipment are fitted in wheelhouse sections, as aimed for ice operation at polar high latitude zone. For example, Ice radar (additional X-band radar on foremast), Night vision cameras, Xenon search lights, etc. aimed to early detection of ices in the forward ship's route, hull stress monitoring system which to measure ice pressures, GMDSS radio equipment covering A4 polar latitude zone, etc..

⑤ Winterization in Living Quarters

For the purpose of crew safety during ice navigation under extreme cold environment, living quarter is carefully designed to the highest protection from cold air outside. Heating systems are robust with different heat sources, consisting of a traditional central-controlled air heating system, thermal oil heating system and electric heating system in each cabins and public spaces. Living quarter structure is made of thermal protection by thicker glass-wool insulations than standard design. Windows in living quarters are made of toughened safety triple glass. In addition, sauna and hot water swimming pool are also fitted for crew's good health.

⑥ Winterization on Deck

Winterization specification on exposed deck area is one of the most outstanding designs. Electric driven equipment are majority selected on exposed deck, because of most reliability system against cold environment. Hydraulic oil driven system is limitedly adopted only where electric system is not applicable technically, and in such case a shorter length of oil recirculation line with a suitable space heating system is well designed. Air driven system is very exceptional case with only applicable to a very minor equipment, because air system is relatively easier to clog the system by frozen air moisture. All the deck equipment are severely being selected upon the system is verified to work good under -50degC ambient condition.
Piping network are mostly placed inside enclosed space (side passageway, etc.), and piping on exposed area is minimum length in general. Piping network for water medium is paid special attention. In order to avoid freezing water in the piping, an electric or steam heat trace is surrounded on the surface of piping and properly insulated, in addition to provide an enough numbers of drain valves and air purging connections in the piping network. Ballast tanks are protected by duplicated steam heating coils and being placed in the top sections of tanks, in order to maintain the hull structure above sea water surface to keep a suitable temperature. De-icing devices are also well designed to provide an enough number of steam injection nozzles at each places. Additionally, fire and wash seawater line is able to supply hot sea water through a sea water heating system via steam medium.
For crew safety who are working in exposed area, watchman shelters with thermal oil heaters are provided on deck majority watch spaces. Forward mooring deck is semi-closed area protected by dome-shaped roof, in order to reduce snow accumulation on deck and to reduce icing deck equipment by a splashed seawater from the ship ahead. Shipside handrails on upper deck are designed with more heights than standard design.

⑦ Life Saving Equipment

Considering of an emergency case, as just one example, Survival kits for maximum onboard personnel are stocked onboard in a safety locker. Survival kits consist of special winter cloths, tent, air mattress and sleeping bags, stoves, etc. Indeed a variety of special life-saving designs are implemented in ship design.

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