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Safer Arctic passage for LNG tankers

LNG Industry,

In response to the demand for safer liquefied natural gas (LNG) transportation in the Arctic regions, Bureau Veritas (BV) has developed new high-tech tools to monitor cargo sloshing in ice conditions. The company has also developed a probalistic method for assessing ice loads on structure, which will shorten the time and data necessary to assess the structure of ships and tankers designed for heavy operation.

A combination of safety and innovation

Director of Innovation at Bureau Veritas, Pierre Besse, said: “All eyes are on the Arctic sea routes and on the opening up of the Arctic mineral and energy resources. We have to ensure the vessels and offshore units that operate in those extreme conditions are safe. That is why we have invested heavily in research into ice loads on structure and the effects of cargo sloshing caused by collisions with ice for LNG carriers and oil tankers. That investment gives us powerful tools which we are using to shorten the time needed to assess designs for key Arctic projects and routes.”

IceSTAR tool

The IceSTAR ice load calculation tool is designed to analyse the kinetic energy imparted to the cargo by a collision with ice. The kinematics calculated by IceSTAR are then used together with CFD analysis to determine how the cargo will slosh and the extra loads this will impose on the ship’s structure and the LNG containment system.

Besse stressed the importance of having the IceSTAR module in place as the probability of collision between cargoes and ice is high in the Arctic region. “When gas and oil cargoes begin moving regularly through the Arctic”, he said, “it is certain that ships and ice will interact. The energy from those collisions will cause the cargo to move violently, and we have to make sure the ships and especially LNG containment systems are built to withstand that. It is a complex calculation requiring high level modelling but we can do that, and do it in a commercially acceptable time frame. BV is working on a number of high Arctic projects such as Shtokman and Yamal and these tools will make them safe and ready more quickly.”


A research collaboration with the State Maritime Technical University of St Petersburg has led to BV upgrading IceSTAR to include the use of probabilistic methods to calculate ice loads. As “ice properties vary widely,” Besse described, “there are always issues with input data. This research has proven that using stochastic methods we can overcome limitations in the input data to produce safe and robust outputs for the loads which ships and offshore structures may expect from Arctic ice.”

Adapted from press release by Ted Monroe

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