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World's largest LNG-powered containership launched in Shanghai

The Naval Architect: November 2019China

In September 2017, CMA CGM broke the 22-month silence of the global super-large containership market and announced that it has ordered nine 23,000TEU dual-fuel containerships from the CSSC Group. Ten months later, construction on the ships officially began in Changxing Island, Shanghai. Hudong Zhonghua is set to build five of the nine vessels, while the other four are to be built by Jiangnan Shipbuilding (Group) Co., Ltd.

 

The first containership of the series, CMA CGM Jacques Saade, was launched on 25 September. Designed by China Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Design and Research Institute (MARIC) and fellow CSSSC subsidiary Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co., the LNG-powered ship is equipped with a 18,600m3 MARK III membrane fuel tank, which can support the vessel on a journey to and from China to Europe. It will join CMA CGM’s fleet in 2020 and will be operating on the French Asia Line (Asia-Northern Europe).

 

Described by the industry as the ‘Hulk’, the containership measures a total length of 400m, by 61.3m wide, with a service speed of 21.55knots and a load capacity of nearly 220,000tonnes. The CMA CGM Jacques Saade, named after Jacques Saadé, the founder of CMA CGM, can carry 2,200 40-foot refrigerated containers.

 

The containership is equipped with WinGD’s patented W12X92DF engine – the world’s largest installed low-speed dual-fuel engine. Its Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) score is in line with Phase 3 and meets the world’s most stringent emission requirements. When compared with existing fuel oil-powered ships, the vessel can achieve a reduction in CO2 emissions by up to 20% while its oxide emissions are reduced by nearly 85%, and particulate matter and sulphur oxide emissions are by 99%. Additionally, the integrated line type and structure are optimised, and the layout and system of large-capacity reefer containers are further improved, which greatly reduces the operating cost of a single-box while meeting the diverse operational needs of shipowners.

 

“The maximum scale of the breakthrough limit, the comprehensive performance of the ship, the structural safety, and the system configuration are all beyond the design complexity of the previous ship type,” said a MARIC spokesperson, adding that LNG storage needed to occupy a compact space on the containership. Through the design process, the project team considered various factors such as fuel tank liquid level change, structural deformation control, and maximum packing capacity. After numerous calculations, the current large fuel tank programme was finalised.

 

LNG has never before been used to power large containerships, making the vessel a huge technical feat for the entire industry. So far, the construction technology of MARK III membrane-type storage systems has been monopolised by Japanese and Korean companies. This is the first time Hudong Zhonghua, which has more than 20 NO96 film-type LNG carriers, has manufactured MARK III membrane tanks. In the face of technical barriers, the company adhered to independent innovation, and has overcome more than 10 technical challenges including: 3D coordinate laser positioning, secondary shielding adhesion, and corrugated board welding. For the first time zero leakage was realised during the secondary shielding tightness test. At present, Hudong Zhonghua is the only company in China with the ability to manufacture MARK III membrane fuel tanks.

 

The CMA CGM Jacques Saade is scheduled for delivery in April 2020 and is to be certified by French classification society Bureau Veritas (BV), as are the other vessels in the series.

 

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