The government has come up with a set of measures to build ships that are powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), an eco-friendly fuel, instead of bunker C oil that causes air pollution.
The government held a ministerial meeting on economic affairs on July 17 to finalize the package, which is aimed at revitalizing both the shipping and shipbuilding industries through the construction of LNG-powered vessels.
The government took the initiative as global demand for LNG-powered vessels is expected to surge amid a push by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to strengthen the environmental regulations on ship fuels. Worsening air pollution in port cities will also make LNG-powered vessels more popular as a means of eco-friendly transportation.
The government will work with the private sector to ensure that a contract for building the first LNG-powered offshore vessels is awarded to a domestic shipbuilding company by August this year. Currently under review are two 200,000-ton bulk carriers that would ply between Korea and Australia.
Subsidies will be also provided to shippers when they replace old-aged vessels with environment-friendly vessels like LNG-fueled carriers.
The government will also provide support for development of core technology, international standardization and establishment of related equipment industries to strengthen the domestic shipbuilding industry's capacity to build LNG-fueled carriers.
Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Kim Young-chun said, "We hope the government’s initiative provides a breakthrough for Korea’s sagging maritime and shipbuilding industries.”