Liberian-Flag Ships Get Retrofit Deal

The Liberian Registry has entered into a partnership with U.S.-based consultancy EfficientShip Finance (ESF) to offer turnkey retrofit solutions for Liberian-flag ships.

ESF will provide the financial capital needed for each project, and assume responsibility for technology performance and fuel volatility risk, along with the technical supervision and monitoring to perform retrofits. Owners and operators remit to ESF a proportion of the amount they save on fuel costs, or which they receive in the form of additional negotiated hire. The retrofit projects require no upfront capital by owners and, since the payments are always a share of the savings, there is an ongoing net benefit to customers.

The ESF global programme includes a mix of fuel efficiency retrofit solutions for each target vessel, based on its trading pattern, age, size, speed, and consumption. The technologies used include, among others, wake-improving ducts, rudder bulbs and fins, protracted tip propellers, engine improvements, smooth coatings, and performance and trim optimising software.

For ships trading within ECA zones, the programme may include the installation of exhaust scrubber systems or the conversion of engines to LNG dual-fuel, to comply with emissions requirements which came into effect on January 1, 2015.

The Liberian Registry is also offering special tonnage tax discounts for ships participating in this green initiative. Each ship in the programme will be entitled to a 50 per cent annual tonnage tax discount in the first year, and up to a 25 per cent discount in both the second and third years.

Christian Mollitor, LISCR vice-president and project manager of the green initiative, said: ”This represents a great opportunity for owners with ships delivered prior to the eco-boom to have their ships retrofitted with proven fuel-saving technologies. It should help owners and operators reduce fuel costs while creating the potential to increase hire or charter rates or achieve better pool points, and increase asset values in the secondhand market. It should also produce improved utilisation rates and marketability, and reduce port costs, freeing up funds for core business investments, including new ship acquisitions, or just facilitating the preservation of cash reserves to make it through a tough market.”