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Several different LNG vessel types can be identified. In the following, the relevant ship types are illustrated and defined.

LNG carriers

The market for LNG carriers is a mature one, as these vessels have been in operation since the development of LNG in the 1960s. Although the LNG carrier market can be seen as a separate market from the market for LNG-fuelled vessels, LNG carriers are an essential part of the overall LNG supply chain.

LNG-fuelled vessels (non LNG Carriers)

The much younger fleet of LNG fuelled vessels (<13 years) is expanding: The existing fleet and the current order books show not only an increasing number of vessels, but also a diversification of ship types running on LNG and an expansion from the area of operation from mainly Norway to other regions.

LNG-ready vessels

Because the stricter IMO requirements have not yet come into force, many ship owners have still not decided which mitigating technology they will apply from 2015 onward or prefer to wait before retrofitting their vessels. In preparation for actual retrofit, some ship owners are assessing the technical feasibility and financial appeal of LNG. By documenting these steps, ship owners can promote a vessel as being LNG-ready, with the option to retrofit the vessel in the short term.

LNG bunker vessels

Ship-to-ship bunkering is a bunkering mode that can supply LNG-fuelled vessels with LNG without being dependent on a fixed bunker location or the limited capacity of LNG trucks. Although several authorities are exploring the options for ship-to-ship bunkering, the required bunker vessels are not yet available on a large scale.

Examples of LNG-fuelled vessels

The following classes of LNG-fuelled vessels are currently in operation, under construction or in the order books:


The number of LNG-fuelled ships has greatly increased over the past few years. While the first LNG-fuelled ships operated mainly in Norwegian waters, LNG-fuelled ships for operation in European, North American and even Australian waters are now on order or have already been delivered.