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Automation and performance monitoring for VLEC newbuilds

Automation and performance monitoring for VLEC newbuilds
Pacific Gas has passed a new milestone in construction of new large gas carriers in China by ordering integrated automation and control systems (IACS)

Chinese shipbuilder Jiangnan Shipyards Group is building two Very Large Ethane Carriers (VLEC) for Pacific Gas, and integration specialist Høglund Marine Solutions has signed contracts with Jiangnan Shipyards and Babcock LGE to supply gas handling and an IACS for the two newbuildings.

Vessel operator Pacific Gas has also requested ship performance monitors to be incorporated into the IACS to support long-term vessel optimisation.

These will be the first VLECs in the Pacific Gas fleet and will be used to transport up to 99,000 m3 of ethane between the US and Europe. The newbuildings are scheduled to be delivered in Q4 2021 and Q1 2022.

“Høglund has been chosen to deliver a fully integrated solution encompassing cargo handling and wider vessel management systems for Pacific Gas,” said Høglund Marine Solutions vice president for sales David Gunaseelan.

Høglund will be responsible for providing the IACS, ship performance monitor, control system for cargo handling and fuel gas supply system, based on a Babcock LGE design.

“These contracts demonstrate how the industry is recognising the need for joined-up thinking and systems in the growing gas fleet, and the performance and reliability benefits this delivers,” Mr Gunaseelan said.

Without proper consideration for automation and integration, the vessels are at risk of becoming overly complex and a significant challenge to operate and maintain, and Mr Gunaseelan said he expects a significant engineering challenge as part of effectively integrating the automation and gas handling systems on the pair of gas carrier newbuildings.

It will require effective collaboration amongst shipyards, suppliers and marine solutions specialists on the design and installation of the integrated systems, he said.

Pacific Gas vice president Captain Tao Yong said he expects delivery of effective and seamless automation systems.

“We are confident that together, we will be able to provide the technology that is expected on a modern VLEC and demonstrate the value that advanced system integration can bring to the evolving gas sector,” said Capt Yong.

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