South Korea’s first methanol-powered tanker named

South Korean shipowner KSS Line has held a naming ceremony for its methanol-powered MR tanker built at compatriot Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD).

KSS Line

The 50,000 DWT vessel, dubbed South Korea’s first ship to run on methanol, was named Savonetta Sun at a ceremony held on 14 October.

The vessel will be chartered to Waterfront Shipping, the shipping unit of Canadian methanol producer Methanex. KSS Line signed a charter contract with the company for a period of 15 years.

The vessel features eco-friendly characteristics, including a dual-fuel engine that can use both methanol and heavy/light oil as fuel. In addition, the ship features a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system, which is used to reduce nitrogen oxides. With these characteristics in mind, KSS Line hopes to target the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) new emission regulations and halve its greenhouse gas emissions.

Being a carbon-neutral solution, which is readily available today, methanol is gaining in popularity in the maritime sector, especially having in mind that other alternatives such as ammonia have a long way to go before becoming more mainstream.

The key benefits of methanol include its density, which doesn’t affect the load capacity of ships, the fact that it is relatively safe to bunker, and that it has an attractive price. It is believed that methanol can reduce sulfur oxides by 99%, nitrogen oxides by 80%, and carbon emissions by 25% compared to the conventional fuel.

Ordering of around 40 methanol-powred ships over the past 12 months compared to just a handful in the year before shows quite a dramatic change in this space,

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Meanwhile, KSS Line is not settling with the introduction of new eco-friendly ships into its fleet. The company expects two new ships capable of running on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to arrive in the first quarter of 2023. The units are being built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).