(EnergyAsia, July 26 2013, Friday) — Lloyd’s Register (LR) said it has secured a contract to provide classification services for six liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers to be built in China by Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co Ltd.

The project is a key milestone in Chinese shipbuilding and a key indicator in the development of China’s LNG ambitions. The ships, each with a 174,000-cubic metre capacity, will load LNG in Australia’s Gladstone  port for export to terminals in the Chinese port cities of Qingdao, Beihai, Tianjin, Lianyungang and Wenzhou.

Hudong, a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation’s (CSSC), will begin cutting steel on the first ship at the Jiangnan Changxing Production Line No.1 near Shanghai next January and wim to deliver the last vessel due in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The ships will be fitted with medium speed MAN B&W dual fuel diesel engine (DFDE) systems to enable them to burn both gas and fuel oil to generate power for twin electric motors and twin shafts. The focus is on burning gas.

Nick Brown, LR’s area general manager and marine manager for Greater China, said:

“This is a big project and a big win for LR. We are very pleased to be supporting this important project. Importation of LNG is of strategic and long term importance for China and we welcome this opportunity to provide our expertise.”

Jin Yanzi, Hudong’s vice general manager, said:

“We have been co-operating with LR since 1979 on a wide variety of projects including naval corvettes, 87,000 dwt bulk carriers and 17,300 dwt multi-purpose vessels (MPVs). Hudong is experienced in LNG carrier construction and, as we all know, LR is the leading class society for LNG carriers and has the largest market share of the world fleet of LNG carriers.”

The six carriers will be dual classed by both LR and China Classification Society (CCS) and will sail under the Hong Kong flag.