Photo: Hapag-Lloyd

World’s 1st ULCV converted to LNG arrives home

During the weekend, the 15,000 TEU Brussels Express — the first large containership in the world to have been converted to gas propulsion — reached its homeport of Hamburg, German container shipping major Hapag-Lloyd said.

In September 2020, when it was still named the Sajir, the ship arrived at Chinese Huarun Dadong Dockyard in Shanghai. There, a floating crane hoisted the 1,300-tonne LNG tank into the belly of the ship.

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“The fact that a retrofitting of this scale had never been done before meant that we faced numerous challenges – from the planning to the implementation. We have broken new ground with the conversion, and we will now be testing it very precisely in real-world operation,” Richard von Berlepsch, Managing Director Fleet Management at Hapag-Lloyd, commented.

“Fossil LNG is currently the most promising fuel on the path towards zero emissions. The medium-term goal is to have CO2-neutral shipping operations using synthetic natural gas (SNG).”

In a nod to the European Green Deal, Hapag-Lloyd has renamed the ship the Brussels Express. In addition, the phrase “Shipping for a cleaner future!” adorns the breakwater on the forecastle.

LNG
Image Courtesy: Hapag-Lloyd

Brussels Express is one of seventeen vessels in Hapag-Lloyd’s fleet that were originally designed to be LNG-ready.

The ship is not yet operating exclusively with LNG, as the final guarantee works will be performed at the end of this round voyage. The first complete LNG bunkering will then take place in Singapore on the next round voyage.

In the future, the ship, which is currently operating in the Far East 4 service between Asia and North Europe, will bunker twice per round voyage: in Singapore and in Rotterdam.