7th Gas Fuelled Ship Conference

The 7th Gas Fuelled Ships Conference takes place between the 16th and the 18th of November in Hamburg. Mike Simpson, Director of Marine Design at Houlder delivered a presentation at the event entitled ‘Innovation and design challenges for UK’s first Dual-Fuel Ferries.’

In 2012 Caledonian MacBrayne Assets (CMAL) started to define the parameters and arrangements for a new ferry that would be capable of operating in a large number of ports. Even in early discussion the vessel was to be fuelled by LNG. CMAL has demonstrated its commitment to green fuel with its previous 3 Ro-Ro hybrid vessels.

In 2015 the pre-qualification went out to tender and Ferguson Marine Engineering Limited (FMEL) qualified and participated in the tender supported by Houlder Ltd who would be doing the development of design and technical documentation.

Mike Simpson was asked about how he approached this project. ‘When designing any ship that is to carry LNG you have to be aware of the risks and ensure you do everything possible to reduce these. For this reason, we used the Lloyds Register Assessment of Risk Based Design (ARDB) processes. The principles are very good and it allows flexibility of arrangements without a lot of prescriptive rules.’ It is this approach that caught the attention of the Gas Fuelled Ships Conference organisers.

The ferry (pictured) will be 102.4m long with designed draught of 3.6m and a deadweight of 1180 tonnes. With a carrying capacity of 132 cars and 1000 passengers. Due to the number of different routes the vessel needs to operate in it shall have a 140 cubic meter LNG capacity to ensure it has the required range.

gas fulled ships conference

This caused some design complications that needed to be overcome as Mike commented ‘Due to the ports the ferry would operate the main deck height was required to be at a certain height and this left insufficient room for the LNG tank with the required Lloyds Register clearance requirements. To get around this we needed to design the deck traverse with a curve to allow ventilation and inspection of the tank insulation without reducing structural support. While unconventional it was relatively straight forward but this was just one of a few challenges we faced with the UK’s first LNG ferry.’

Mike Simpson and Liam Campbell Managing Director of Fergusons Marine discussed the challenges faced in the design and construction of the UK’s first LNG Ferry at the 7th Gas Fuelled Ships Conference at 14:15 on Wednesday, 16th of November.

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