Mitsui and Co. Ltd. has ordered two liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI). The ships are reported to have a design that improves LNG carrying capacity and fuel performance with a more efficient hull structure and hybrid propulsion system.

The vessels are scheduled to be completed and delivered in 2018 and 2019 and will be put into service for the Cameron LNG Project under way in the U.S. These carriers will be the first order placed to MHI for LNG carriers transporting shale gas.

The vessels will be built at MHI’s Nagasaki Shipyard and Machinery Works, and will be 297.5 meters in overall length, 48.94 meters wide 27.0 meters deep and have a draft of 11.5 meters. The carriers will have four apple-shaped tanks with a total holding capacity of 177,000 cubic meters—small enough to fit through the newly expanded Panama Canal.

The LNG carriers will have a hybrid propulsion system called “STaGE,” (Stage Turbine and Gas Engine) which features a reheating steam-type marine turbine developed by MHI. It is a dual-fuel diesel engine capable of operating on both gas and oil and an electric propulsion motor.

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