July 25, 2019
KOTA KINABALU:The world’s first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bunkering simulator will be launched in Sabah, a private sector investment deemed viable in view of market projections that LNG remains the fuel to take shipping into the coming decades.
To be operated by Sabah grown maritime consultancy and port engineering service provider, Kasi Group, the simulator is expected for global release some time next month.
LNG bunkering is the practice of providing liquefied natural gas fuel to a ship for its own consumption. The use of LNG as a fuel helps to greatly reduce pollutants caused by the more traditional method of fueling ships such as heavy fuel oil, marine diesel fuel (MDO) and marine gas oil (MGO).
According to reports, the LNG bunkering market is promising by 2023 as the key factors driving its growth are the increase in LNG demand to reduce carbon footprint in the shipping industry that is subject to stringent international emission policy, among others.
Asia Pacific is reportedly to be a fast developing LNG bunkering market as rising environment concern and the obligation to comply with IMO emission policy has given Asian countries the reason to develop bunkering infrastructure in the region.
Operating the LNG Bunkering simulator will further shine the proud reputation of the 40-year-old Sabah firm which is already the owner of the region’s most advanced and state-of-the-art ship handling and tugboats simulation facility.
“The (simulator) developer will be flying in to Sabah and we will do the global release of the LNG bunkering simulator here – believe it or not – here in Kota Kinabalu,” said Kasi Group Executive Director Benjamin Nair when presenting his paper on entitled ‘Experiences in Developing a Technology-Based Company in Sabah’ at the 7th Sabah Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition, Wednesday.
Nair said that making the simulator available in the state is in line with Kasi Group’s direction to constantly explore the frontiers of technology to help businesses, including in the oil and gas industry, get best in their projects in terms of efficiency, design and cost saving, among others.
He shared that the firm itself has come a long way in the use of technologies available in each era in order to remain an industry leader.
“In our business, we can’t stand still or rest on our laurels. We have to keep pushing no matter how crazy it is. It’s always about riding the next wave because technology is always changing,” he said.
Kasi Group started as a one-man company in 1979 but it was only 22 years later in 2001 that it went into ship handling simulation.
From what was only on desktop, the firm moved on to its first bridge simulator, which was a technological wonder at the time among most players in the shipping industry.
“Having the bridge simulator meant we could project the image on screen. At the time, when everyone looked at it, they would say “wow”,” said Nair.
Fast forward in 2009, the firm got its full ship handling simulators after doing extensive market research in countries like Denmark, Russia and Sweden.
“In 2009, it was something quite revolutionary. People couldn’t believe we had this facility in KK. They’d say “In KK? No one comes to KK,” he said.
On hindsight, Nair said it was a calculated risk but one which paid off handsomely over time.
“People actually like to come to KK to do simulation (training) because they see our city as a place for relaxation as well,” he said.
The firm continued to invest on technology by acquiring tug boats simulators, which is also the region’s most advanced, and integrated bridge system. At the moment, it is already looking at using augmented reality for ship maneuvering simulators.
Nair said the firm’s entire system – all the mechatronic interface, visualization, 3D graphics among others – are built in Sabah by its local staff.
“This is what makes us different from the rest. We do everything locally,” he declared.
Pioneering the world’s first LNG bunkering simulator speaks in volume of the Sabah firm’s capability and proud reputation which has been built and tested over many years.