MOL: Japan’s 1st LNG-fueled ferry launched

Japan’s first LNG-fueled ferry has been launched and named at a local shipyard, shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) said.

Photo: MOL

The naming and launching ceremony for Sunflower Kurenai took place at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works Enoura Plant on 3 March 2022.

The newbuild is the first of two LNG-powered ferries ordered by MOL subsidiary Ferry Sunflower Limited.

The vessel is slated to enter service on the Osaka-Beppu route in January 2023, operated by Ferry Sunflower as an alternative to the vessel currently in service.

Compared to the vessels in service, the new ferry will offer greater transport capacity and convenience for both cargo and passenger transport. In freight transportation, it will significantly increase the number of trucks to be loaded and expand the driver’s room to provide a driver-friendly space, according to MOL.

It will be Japan’s first ferry, adopting environmental friendly specifications as it is equipped with 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%.

The MOL Group established the “MOL Group Environmental Vision 2.1” in June 2021, and set the target to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050.

It is promoting the wider adoption of LNG fuel through 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.

In the ferry business, following the Sunflower Kurenai and the second Sunflower Murasaki, two LNG-powered ferries are planned to be built to replace the ferries in service on the Oarai-Tomakomai route operated by MOL Ferry in 2025.

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