Energy Transport (LNG Carriers)

Tankers that transport liquefied natural gas are called LNG carriers.
These vessels boast a range of advanced, versatile technologies – tanks made of special material to keep the cargo at an ultra-low temperature,
emergency shut down devices to prevent incidents during cargo handling operations, and turbine engines that can run on vaporized gas.

Energy Transport (LNG Carriers)

Aiming for Stable Transport to Meet Expanding Demand for Clean Energy

Demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) is rapidly increasing around the world, because it is a clean, environmentally friendly energy source that does not produce sulfur oxides (SOx) and emits 30% to 40% less nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) than oil or coal.

Japan’s first LNG carrier, the Senshu Maru—jointly owned by three Japanese shipping companies and operated by MOL—entered service in 1984. Since then, we have accumulated a great deal of know-how and experience in LNG transport, and have achieved safe operations backed by our advanced transport technology and skilled personnel. We operate 97 LNG carriers, the world’s largest fleet (as of 2023), and started operation of an icebreaking LNG carrier in 2018. A pioneer in LNG transport, MOL remains on the cutting edge in the development and operation of LNG carriers.

LNG Carriers Transport Clean Energy

LNG’s boiling point is extremely low—minus 161.5℃—so transporting it by sea requires advanced technologies such as tanks made of materials especially engineered to withstand ultra-low temperatures—ferronickel, stainless steel, and aluminum alloys—and the outer layers are covered by thick heat insulation. Cargo tanks are like giant thermos bottles; however, part of the cargo is affected by the outside temperature and naturally vaporizes during transport. Known as “boil-off gas,” this can be used as fuel for the vessel. LNG carriers are also equipped with sophisticated technologies such as emergency shutdown devices to ensure safe operation.


Like LNG and/or LPG, Ethane is being liquefied for transportation and can be used as propulsion fuel.
Cargo containment system varies by vessel but in general is similar to the ones for LNG and/or LPG carriers.

Thermos-like LNG Carriers,
3 Cargo Tank Types
The major characteristic of LNG carriers is the cargo tank, which stores the cargo at an ultra-low temperature. There are mainly three types of tanks—Moss type, Membrane type, and Self-supporting Prismatic shape IMO type B (SPB).
Senshu Maru ~ Retired after 36 Years of Service
The first Japanese LNG carrier, the Senshu Maru, safely completed 733 voyages between Bontang, Indonesia, and Japan, which marked 733 voyages. The voyages reached a distance of 2 million nautical miles, or about 93 times around the Earth. The total volume of LNG transported was 90 million m3, equivalent to about 497 days of electricity for every Japanese household. After discharging its last cargo in Japan, the vessel headed to India, and was retired in December 2020.