Almi VLCC newbuilds showcase green technology

Off the South Korean production line:  the latest VLCC to join the Almi Tankers fleet Off the South Korean production line: the latest VLCC to join the Almi Tankers fleet

Greek operator and ship manager Almi Tankers recently commissioned the 315,000dwt VLCC Almi Atlas into its fleet, the first of two newbuilds specified to a particularly high environmental standard. By David Tinsley

The South Korean-built crude carrier provides an early reference in her size category for IMO Tier III-compatible diesel propulsion machinery, and features an exhaust gas scrubber installation. Investment in the two key technologies demonstrates a proactive approach to meeting customers’ requirements against the backcloth of intensifying regulatory controls.

Almi Atlas was constructed by Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries (HSHI), with handover and DNV GL class assignment taking place in March this year. The vessel is registered under the ownership of Bianca Marine Services, with management by Almi Tankers, founded in 2009 by the Fostiropoulos family and which comprises aframax, suezmax and VLCC tonnage.

Almi Tankers had established itself as a market front runner in 2011 when it ordered the first G-type, ultra-long-stroke engines for two 319,000dwt VLCCs contracted from Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering. Powered by 7G80ME-C9.2 models, the vessels were delivered as the Hydra Voyager and Hercules Voyager in 2013 and 2014, respectively, both going directly into long-term charter with Chevron.

The subsequent nomination in 2016 of EGR-equipped 7G80ME-C9.5 machinery for the latest Almi newbuilds took MAN Diesel & Turbo’s order list for the G-series to the 1,500 mark. At the time, MAN described the G-type as “easily the fastest selling engine we have ever had”, given its market introduction just a few years earlier. As with the Hydra Voyager and Hercules Voyager, production of the engines for Almi Atlas and the second of class was entrusted to MAN licensee Hyundai Heavy Industries at Ulsan.

The main engine of the Almi Atlas has the EGRTC LS suffix to its 7G80ME-C9.5 designation, signifying exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) with turbocharger cut-out matching. The integration of the EGR technology ensures conformity with IMO’s Tier III limits on NOx emissions running on heavy fuel oil, and the combination of ultra-long-stroke, two-cycle power, very slow-turning, larger diameter propeller and specially crafted aft-end vessel design confers a high level of fuel and hydrodynamic efficiency. The installation has been specified at a maximum continuous output of about 26,000kW, close to the L3 rating.

The size of the casing abaft the ship’s superstructure attests to the use of an exhaust cleaning system based on Alfa Laval’s PureSOx solution. The scrubber uses an open-loop arrangement and is configured with a U-design. Seawater is used to scrub the exhaust gas and reduce the sulphur oxides to less than 0.5%, providing the wherewithal to satisfy the IMO’s 2020 mandatory global sulphur cap while operating on heavy fuel oil. The scrubber plant is 11m high and 8.3m wide, and its U-shape forms a natural water trap, preventing water backflow to the engine without any additional equipment.

The auxiliary outfit is based on home-grown HHI machinery in the shape of three aggregates driven by nine-cylinder HiMSEN H21/32 diesels, exemplifying the predominant use of the Korean group’s own brand of four-stroke engines for gensets in tonnage built at both the Ulsan and Samho yards. Other proprietary technology from the shipbuilding and engineering group represented aboard Almi Atlas includes the Hyundai HiBallast HiB 6000ex ballast water treatment system.

On the basis of 98% tank filling, the VLCC has capacity for 350,622m3 or 2.2m barrels of oil, and her three cargo pumps offer a maximum outturn of 15,000m3 per hour.

While the focus on the environmental specification of the Almi Atlas newbuild duo is expected to confer a certain competitive advantage for the operator, the shipbuilder also anticipates that the project will increase its international standing in the ‘green ship’ stakes.

HSHI’s strategy in this regard is also evident elsewhere in its current workload, since this embraces a series of 114,000dwt crude carriers for Sovcomflot incorporating dual-fuel main engines and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) plant.


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Class notations

1A1 Tanker for oil, BIS, BWM(T, E<S>), CLEAN, COAT-PSPC(B, C), CSA(FLS1), CSR, E0, ESP, NAUT(OC), Recyclable, SPM, TMON(oil lubricated), VCS(2, B)




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