WATCH: MOL Sunflower launches first LNG-powered ferry at Naikai’s shipyard

MOL Sunflower, a group company of Japanese shipping major Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), has held a naming and launching ceremony for the first of two new liquified natural gas (LNG)-powered ferries, which are under construction at Naikai Zosen Corporation.


As informed, the ceremony took place at Innoshima Shipyard on April 11, 2024. The vessel was given the name Sunflower Kamuy.

View on Youtube.

The vessel will be delivered at Naikai Shipbuilding in December 2024 and is slated to enter service on the late-night Oarai-Tomakomai route operated by MOL Sunflower in early 2025.

The second of the two new vessels is scheduled to enter service on the same route within 2025.

With the addition of these vessels, the MOL Group will operate a fleet of four LNG-fueled ferries on east-west routes in Japan by 2025, joining the Sunflower Kurenai and Sunflower Murasaki, which went into service on the Osaka-Beppu route in 2023.

MOL is pursuing wider use of LNG on its ships as part of its decarbonization efforts, the objective being to become net zero by 2050. The strategy lays out steps that will see MOL gradually introduce alternative fuels on its ships, starting with LNG.

According to MOL, the ferry will be able to reduce CO2 emissions by about 35% compared to currently in-service vessels on the Hokkaido route by adopting various state-of-the-art technologies in addition to LNG fuel, thereby contributing to the reduction of overall CO2 emissions.

To remind, MOL revealed that its two ferry and coastal RoRo vessel operating companies, MOL Ferry Co. and Ferry Sunflower Limited, will operate under one company, MOL Sunflower, in June last year.

Related Article

The company plans to launch about 90 LNG-fueled vessels by 2030.