Japan’s 1st LNG-powered ferry receives first LNG fuel supply

Japanese heavyweight Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), its group company Ferry Sunflower Limited, and Kyushu Electric Power Co. (Kyuden) have revealed that Sunflower Kurenai, Japan’s first LNG-fuelled ferry, received its first LNG fuel supply.

Credit: MOL

As informed, the vessel was bunkered by Kyuden at the Port of Beppu. LNG fuel was supplied via truck-to-ship with a skid that connected four tank trucks to the ferry, the first time this happened in Japan.

Unlike a conventional method of receiving LNG fuel supply by connecting a single tank truck to LNG-fueled vessels, the use of the skid enables the ferry to receive LNG fuel from four tank trucks simultaneously, speeding up the process, according to MOL.

The LNG fuel was supplied to the tank trucks by Oita Liquefied Natural Gas Company, Inc., a Kyuden’s group company and Niyac Corporation transported the LNG fuel and supplied it to the ferry.

Japan’s first LNG-fueled ferry was launched and named at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works Enoura Plant in March this year. MOL initially placed an order for two LNG-powered ferries at the shipyard in 2019.

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The ferry will be deployed on the Osaka-Beppu route operated by Ferry Sunflower and start commercial service from Osaka to Beppu on January 13, 2023. Thereafter, LNG fuel will be supplied when the ferry calls at the Port of Beppu.

The LNG fuel supplied this time will be used for the trial operation ahead of the launch of the commercial service.

The ship will be Japan’s first ferry, adopting environmentally friendly specifications as it is equipped with a dual-fuel engine, which can run on both LNG and heavy fuel oil. In addition, LNG is expected to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by about 25%, and sulfur oxide (SOx) by virtually 100%.

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MOL is promoting the wider adoption of LNG fuel through the development and advancement of an LNG fuel supply system in Japan and overseas. It also plans to launch about 90 LNG-fueled vessels by 2030 as an initiative to introduce clean alternative fuels.