Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. delivered the LNG carrier Akebono Maru to Shinwa Chemical Tanker Co., Ltd.. The 99.37m vessel, identified as Kawasaki Hull No. 1682, is the first in Kawasaki's new line of 3,500 m3-class domestic LNG carriers.
- Demonstrating Kawasaki's long-accumulated expertise in liquefied gas carriers, the vessel features cryogenic pressure tanks and is intended mainly for domestic use. Kawasaki has built four domestic LNG carriers to date with a tank capacity of 2,500 m3, and with this vessel, it increased the capacity to 3,500 m3.
- The vessel is equipped with two cryogenic pressure tanks, capable of absorbing low-temperature contraction, for loading natural gas liquefied at -163°C. The cylindrical tanks are arranged horizontally in cargo holds independent of the hull.
- The tanks are insulated from external heat with the Kawasaki Panel System, which features a proprietary insulation structure. The tanks are also designed to withstand pressure so that boil-off gas (BOG) from the LNG can be contained.
- The cargo tanks are protected against collisions and grounding accidents by a double hull structure. As with larger LNG carriers, the cargo tanks also feature covers that protect them against external shocks and provide thermal insulation from ambient temperatures.
- Unlike conventional large-scale LNG carriers, Akebono Maru employs an oil-powered diesel engine as its main engine, since it does not need to consume BOG as fuel during voyages. These engines are usually used for domestic vessels.
- In addition to the usual loading and offloading operations at LNG terminals, the vessel is also planned to be used for ship-to-ship transfers of LNG, making it the first LNG carrier in Japan to be used for this application.