Trafigura to learn the ropes on using methanol with dual-fuel tanker chartered from Waterfront Shipping & Clean Sea

Canada’s Waterfront Shipping, a subsidiary of Methanex, the world’s largest producer, and supplier of methanol, has entered into a time-charter agreement with Trafigura for a methanol dual-fuel tanker.

Illustration/M/T Mari Couva Methanol Dual Fuel Vessel; Image by Waterfront Shipping

Under the agreement, Trafigura will operate the co-owned Waterfront Shipping and Clean Sea medium-range product tanker, Mari Innovator, as part of its global network of vessels used in clean products trading routes. 

According to Modi Mano, CEO of Clean Sea Transport, Mari Innovator is the company’s third-generation dual-fuel vessel and it is capable of running on methanol. The vessel is equipped with the latest technological innovations enabling particularly low fuel consumption for a medium-range tanker, he explained.

The vessel was delivered to Waterfront in October 2021 as the fifth of eight methanol dual-fuel tankers ordered from the South Korean shipyard Hyundai Mipo Dockyard back in 2020.

The 49,999 dwt tanker measures 186 meters in length and its width is 32 meters. It is equipped with a propeller boss cap fin to enhance propeller efficiency, speed/fuel pilot and frequency-controlled pumps and fans. The tanker is fitted with MAN second-generation B&W ME-LGIM two-stroke dual-fuel engines.

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“We’re pleased to partner with Trafigura to share our global experience and knowledge with operating and bunkering vessels using methanol fuel technology,” said Paul Hexter, President of Waterfront Shipping.

“Trafigura plays a vital leadership role in the energy transition and for it to recognize that methanol marine fuel offers a clear pathway towards a low carbon shipping industry will help build the platform to drive change.”

Waterfront Shipping has 18 methanol dual-fuel vessels, with one additional vessel arriving by the spring of 2023, representing approximately 60 percent of its 30-vessel fleet. Being an early adopter of the fuel the company has accumulated over 123,000 operating hours, demonstrating the use of methanol as a marine fuel.

“We’re advocating for industry-wide action on shipping emissions and investing in new technologies and vessels to help achieve a more sustainable shipping industry,” said Andrea Olivi, Head of Wet Freight for Trafigura.

“We’re excited about the cooperation with Waterfront Shipping and Clean Sea as we explore and learn also how methanol technology can integrate with our fleet to achieve our carbon intensity reduction goal of 25 per cent by 2030 across our entire chartering operation.”

As a cleaner-burning marine fuel, conventional methanol already meets the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) pollutant emissions regulations, significantly reducing sulphur oxides by 99 per cent, nitrogen oxides by up to 80 per cent, and particulate matter by 95 per cent compared to heavy fuel oil. Methanol is also liquid at ambient temperature, safe, easy to handle, widely available, fully compliant with IMO Tier III regulations and can be produced from renewable sources—offering a clear transition pathway to decarbonization,” added Hexter.