Ferry Firm Mulls Switch to LNG Bunkering Barge

Tuesday June 11, 2019

Canadian West Coast ferry operator B.C. Ferries is looking to switch to using an LNG bunkering barge to fuel its gas-powered ferries, instead of the tank trucks it currently uses.

"The new major vessels we are planning to build may have larger fuel tanks than the Spirit class, and the delivery trucks can only carry so much fuel," local media outlet Times Colonist quoted Deborah Marshall, Executive Director, Public Affairs, as saying Friday.

"We are just testing the market to see the potential options for fuel delivery."

The firm has already retrofit two vessels to use gas-bunkers, the Spirit of British Columbia and the Spirit of Vancouver Island, with more LNG-powered vessels in the works.

While there are emissions reduction benefits to moving to the alternative fuel, Marshall has previously said the fuel costs to operate on LNG is approximately half of what it costs to operate on the ultra-low sulfur marine diesel they otherwise use.

Indeed, with MGO currently priced around $700/mt, pricing data from Ship & Bunker shows the calorific equivalent volume of LNG costs $253.50/mt.

A request for expressions of interest is open until July 9.