Sunflower Murasaki

MOL launches Japan’s 2nd LNG-powered ferry into service

Japanese shipping heavyweight Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) has put into service its second LNG-powered ferry, the Sunflower Murasaki.

Image credit: MOL

The vessel is the second of Japan’s first two LNG-fueled ferries, owned by MOL and operated by its group company Ferry Sunflower Co.

The ferry entered service on April 14, MOL said.

Sunflower Murasaki is a sister ship to the Sunflower Kurenai, which began operation in January and will ply the Osaka-Beppu route between Sunflower Ferry Terminal (Osaka Prefecture) and Beppu International Tourist Port (Oita Prefecture) as a replacement for the existing vessel Sunflower Cobalt.

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The vessel is powered by  high-performance dual-fuel engine, which can run on both LNG and heavy fuel oil. MOL expects that the use of LNG fuel will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by about 25%, and sulfur oxide (SOx) by virtually 100%.

Like its sister vessel, Sunflower Murasaki was built by Mitsubishi Shipbuilding. The two 17,3000-ton ships have a capacity for 763 passengers and a loading capacity for 136 trucks. Their length overall is 199.9 meters and they can achieve a speed of 22.5 knots.

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The MOL Group is targeting net zero GHG emissions by 2050, and is promoting the wider adoption of LNG fuel through development and advancement of an LNG fuel supply system in Japan and overseas as part of the strategy.

The group plans to cut its total GHG emissions by expanding its LNG-fueled fleet with additional vessels bringing the total to about 90 LNG-fueled vessels by 2030. 

In addition, MOL decided to integrate the businesses of its wholly owned consolidated subsidiaries, MOL Ferry Co., and Ferry Sunflower, with the new company launching operations on October 1, 2023.

The new ferry company plans to operate a total of four LNG-fueled ferries-adding two in 2025 to replace current vessels in service on the Oarai-Tomakomai route, in addition to the two vessels already operated by Ferry Sunflower.