MOL and Mitsui get green light for large ammonia-powered bulker

Japanese shipping giant Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) and compatriot trading and investment company Mitsui & Co. have received approval in principle (AiP) from ClassNK for the design of a large ammonia-powered bulk carrier.

CG rendering of the 210,000 dwt ammonia-powered bulk carrier. Courtesy of MOL

The approval was granted for the 210,000 dwt Capesize bulker with a main engine fueled by ammonia which does not emit CO2 when burned.

The vessel will also feature two ammonia fuel tanks on deck to maximise the cruising range for various routes and to make the most effective use of cargo space.

As explained, MOL and Mitsui jointly determined the size and specifications of the vessel, and both companies entrusted Mitsubishi Shipbuilding with the design of the vessel.

CG rendering of the 210,000 dwt ammonia-powered bulk carrier. Courtesy of MOL

Furthermore, ClassNK is scheduled to conduct a risk assessment to confirm that no unacceptable risks exist at the basic design stage and to identify items to be considered in the detailed design, which will incorporate safety measures fully taking into account the toxicity of ammonia, and other factors.

At the end of 2022, ClassNK issued AiP for a similar ammonia-fueled bulk carrier to Japanese shipping company K Line, paving the way for the company to take delivery of the vessel in 2026.

Global interest in ammonia as a next-generation clean energy source is growing, and the maritime industry is accelerating its efforts to strategically utilise it as a fuel.

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As expectations for ammonia as a marine fuel increase, MOL and Mitsui vowed to promote the expansion of net-zero emission ocean-going vessels and play a role in society’s overall efforts to achieve decarbonisation.

MOL, together with compatriot shipbuilders Tsuneishi Shipbuilding and Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding, is also a part of a joint project launched last year to develop and build an ocean-going liquefied gas carrier that will use ammonia as its main fuel.

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