Methanol-fueled vessels mark one year of safe, reliable and efficient operations

By BCShippingNews
April 27 2017
Methanol-fueled vessels mark one year of safe, reliable and efficient operations
Waterfront Shipping and partners celebrate an exciting year...

April 2017 marks one-year since Waterfront Shipping (WFS) welcomed seven of the world’s first ocean-going vessels capable of running on methanol into its fleet. The first three vessels were delivered in April and the remaining four later in 2016.

These innovative vessels have achieved accolades from the marine industry for their use of clean-burning methanol as an alternative marine fuel. Over the past year, the seven 50,000 dead weight tonne methanol tankers – powered by two-stroke dual-fuel engines capable of running on methanol, fuel oil, marine diesel oil or gas oil – have been operating safely and reliably across the globe.

“It has been exciting working with our shipping partners over the last few years to advance this new, clean technology,” says Jone Hognestad, former President of Waterfront Shipping, who retired in March 2017. “Investing in methanol-based marine fuel is an important step in the right direction and reinforces our commitment to sustainable proven technology that provides environmental benefits and meets emission regulations.”

“In 2012, we were looking to renew part of our fleet as time charter vessel contracts naturally expired and to add new vessels to the fleet to meet increased product transportation needs. As an innovative and leading global marine transportation company and a wholly owned subsidiary of Methanex Corporation, the world’s largest producer and supplier of methanol, it was only natural that we investigated methanol as a future fuel for our vessels”, states Jone.

WFS invited three shipping companies, Marinvest/ Skagerack Invest (Marinvest), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL), and Westfal-Larsen Management (WL) to collaborate on the project and in December 2013 announced plans to commission these dual-fuel vessels. Shipping partners, engine manufacturer, MAN Diesel and Turbo SE, and the two shipyards building the vessels, Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in Korea and Minaminippon in Japan worked closely to bring this innovative commitment to life. Since then, it has demonstrated and verified the potential to move the shipping industry forward.  

In April 2017, Marinvest celebrated two of its vessels together attaining over 3,000 hours running on clean-burning methanol, and estimated that the use of methanol rather than conventional marine fuel had prevented more than 80,000 kilograms of sulphur oxide emissions. Results like this speak to the environmental benefits of using methanol as an alternative marine fuel by significantly reducing the emissions of sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

"Tests in blending water with methanol also show promising results in terms of meeting the International Maritime Organization's NOx Tier III requirements. Such a new Tier III solution could become a game changer. Further tests are scheduled in the near future to conclude if this could be a new way forward," states René Sejer Laursen, Sales & Promotion Manager, MAN Diesel & Turbo.

With the growing demand for cleaner marine fuel, methanol is a promising alternative marine fuel and helps the shipping industry meet increasingly strict emissions regulations with relatively minor and cost-effective modifications to existing vessels.

April 2016:

• Waterfront Shipping, Marinvest, MOL and WL announce the industry welcoming the world’s first ocean-going vessels capable of running on methanol

• Delivery of the first three Korean and Japanese built methanol-fueled ocean tankers, Lindanger, Mari Jone and Taranaki Sun.

June 2016: WFS and WL welcome shipping vessel, Leikanger

August 2016: WFS and Marinvest welcome shipping vessel, Mari Boyle

September 2016: Lloyd’s List Global Awards 2016 honours WFS a designation for Highly Commended in the Company of the Year category for its leadership and investment in innovation within the shipping industry

September 2016: WFS and MOL welcome shipping vessel, Manchac Sun

October 2016: International Maritime Organization’s announcement of a 0.5 per cent global sulphur cap on marine fuel as of January 1, 2020

November 2016: WFS and MOL welcome shipping vessel, Cajun Sun

December 2016: WL’s Lindanger, one of the world’s first methanol-fueled tanker in operation, was recognized by Maritime Reporter & Engineering News as one of 2016’s 10 Great Ships

February 2017: The Naval Architect magazine recognizes MOL’s Manchac Sun and WL’s Lindanger as the remarkable vessels delivered in 2016

April 2017: Marinvest celebrates two of its vessels together attaining over 3,000 hours running on clean-burning methanol