South Korean media reported that liquefied natural gas powered bulk carrier HL Green has arrived at Gwangyang in South Jeolla, with 180,000 tonnes iron ore to be supplied to Posco's steel factories. Measuring 292 meters in length, 45 meters in width and 24.8 meters in depth, Posco claims its HL Green bunk carrier is the largest existing LNG ship in the world. Posco said “This is the first case in the world that an LNG powered bunk carrier has operated on a route between countries. HL Green launched from Mokpo in South Jeolla on its first journey last December to pick up iron ore from Australia. With the load, it returned to Gwangyang.”
While the direct owner of the ships is H-Line Shipping, Posco signed a long term contract to ensure the two carriers will be used to transport the steelmaker’s materials. On January 26, the other LNG carrier HL Eco will arrive in Korea with coal from Australia.
The adoption of an eco friendly carrier is in line with strengthening regulations. From last year, the International Maritime Organization has obliged ships to use marine fuel with a sulfur content of no more than 0.5%, from the previous 3.5%. That meant shippers have to either replace their carriers with LNG-powered ships or install additional equipment to reduce sulfur emissions. Using LNG in place of bunker oil can reduce emissions of sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide by 99% and 85% each.