Hapag-Lloyd vessel

Hapag-Lloyd First to Convert Large Containership to LNG

German shipping major Hapag-Lloyd has revealed its plans to retrofit its 15,000 TEU ship Sajir to operate using liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Illustration; Image Courtesy: Hapag-Lloyd

The contract for the retrofitting was signed last week with Hudong HONDHOA Shipbuilding, the company said, adding that the conversion would be carried out in the Shanghai-based shipyard Huarun Dadong Dockyard.

During its time in the shipyard, the ship’s fuel system and its existing heavy fuel oil-burning engine would be converted into a dual fuel engine. The company’s plan would be to operate the vessel using LNG, but to also be able to use low-sulphur fuel oil as a backup.

MAN Energy Solutions has signed a contract for the conversion of the vessel’s HFO-burning MAN B&W 9S90ME-C engine to a dual-fuel MAN B&W ME-GI (-Gas Injection) prime mover capable of running on HFO and LNG.

The emission savings for MAN B&W two-stroke engines are significant when converting an existing HFO engine to LNG, MAN Energy Solutions explained.

The Hapag-Lloyd pilot project is scheduled to take place in 2020 when the five-year old vessel will spend 90 days in dock. The DNV-GL approved gas-storage system will occupy an area equivalent to 350 containers, including the pipework between storage and engine.

“By converting the Sajir, we will be the first shipping company in the world to retrofit a container ship of this size to LNG propulsion,” Richard von Berlepsch, Managing Director Fleet Management at Hapag-Lloyd, said.

“By carrying out this unprecedented pilot, we hope to learn for the future and to pave the way for large ships to be retrofitted to use this alternative fuel.”

The Sajir is one of the 17 vessels in Hapag-Lloyd’s fleet that were originally designed to be LNG-ready. Its 16 sister ships are also technically prepared for retrofitting. With this conversion, Hapag-Lloyd would be implementing a technological option to reduce the environmental impact of large vessels.