Germany Bankrolls Boxship LNG Conversion

German shipping company Wessels Reederei has received a government grant to convert one of its container ships to liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The company has chosen the 2011-built, 1,000 TEU Wes Amelie to undergo retrofitting, which will be performed in collaboration with the engine manufacturer MAN Diesel & Turbo and gas specialist TGW Marine Gas Engineering.

The retroffiting of the Wes Amelie is expected to start in the third quarter of 2016, and the vessel is expected to return to service in early December 2016.

A ”seven figure” funding was provided through the country’s federal program Mobility and Fuel Strategy, which promotes the maritime use of LNG as an environmentally
friendly fuel.

“For many years our shipping company has been committed to ‘Green Shipping’ – through the development and implementation of more efficient alternative propulsion systems. With the conversion to LNG we and our partners showcase our technical expertise and demonstrate practical environmental solutions for the merchant marine industry,” said Gerd Wessels, Managing Owner of Wessels Reederei GmbH.

The Wes Amelie operates in the North and Baltic Seas. The vessel has 23 sister ships, 16 of them structurally identical, which allows follow-up projects to be easily implemented, the company says.

The use of LNG as fuel requires the availability of liquefied natural gas on shipping and trade routes, and the existing LNG infrastructure in even high-traffic ports in Europe is not nearly sufficient enough for full coverage of ships under LNG operation, according to Wessels.

This project contributes to the resolution of this “chicken or the egg problem” by promoting the demand for LNG as fuel for the maritime industry.

“By converting one of our ships, we demonstrate together with the Federal Government and our partners: ‘German shipping can LNG’. With each rebuild we finish together, we are creating an increasing demand for LNG as a clean fuel. Only in this way – and not only through appeals – can the development of an LNG infrastructure continue to gain momentum,” said Christian P. Hoepfner, General Manager of Wessels Reederei.